“Back to Basics” as a Guide to the Right Immersive Experiences

By on December 19th, 2017 in Managed Learning Services

Do you think 2018 will helps us create more effective and immersive learning experiences without all of the confusion that goes with designing those experiences today? Think again! The learning technology landscape continues to grow!  For those focused on addressing the day-to-day needs of their people, sorting through fact and fantasy of what could work, what’s actually real, what scales, and what employees can access, can be very daunting. Daunting or not, if we are not future-focused, we fall further behind with every technology cycle; it’s a race we won’t win unless we change how we think about it. Our younger learner generations place a heavy value on forward-looking learning, using technology as an enabler.

While we can’t anticipate the winners of the technology race, I like to take a “back to basics” approach when sorting through what’s out there and what could work for my clients. First, we need to look at the content before any technology solution. When we look at content, we can rethink how it plays out. Here’s a simple method to get there:

  1. Create the learner journey. Lay out the content over time, within the workflow wherever possible, to maximize time in learning mode, in class and during employees’ time on the job. This story will point you in new directions.
  2. Plan for small innovations where they make sense. Inspect the journey and its nuggets, and tease out opportunities to try something really exciting and more effectively serve up our content than traditional media.
  3. Start small and meet your employees where they are at, with a little stretch. What immersive experience makes sense? You have a lot to choose from. Once you master the first one and get comfortable, the “daunting factor” quickly diminishes, and your learners’ willingness to learn in different ways will increase along with your confidence.

Here are a few ideas that could play a part in the plan outlined above:

  • Use a MOOC that blurs traditional lines where online learning ends and live learning begins in an exciting way.
  • Use augmented reality to supplement the delivery of live training that drives engagement, competition and self-service.
  • Use HTML5 paired with mobile devices and Google Cardboards to create a high impact, lower-than-expected point of entry to deploy a Virtual Reality learning experience.

All of these solutions, and others out there, are easier to create than you think when you start small and your content is thoughtfully mapped out over time.

Ann Rollins

Ann Rollins

Looking for the Connections

I LOVE MY JOB! The process of untying difficult knots for my clients, and getting better with each repetition thrills me. I take the skills and knowledge learned with each rep on to the next challenge, becoming a quicker study, agile problem navigator, and solver. However, I wasn’t always this way.

How exactly did I get here?

My evolution from instructional design order-taker to bigger system thinker (about many things, not just instructional design) began on October 3, 2000. My charmed life was shattered in a moment while my family was on what should have been the vacation of a lifetime. On day 3, my father died of sudden cardiac death a mile offshore, while scuba diving with my mother in Barbados. He was only 55. He. Was. Healthy. Any sudden death is traumatic, but an emergency at sea in a third world country adds a dimension of horror that thankfully most will never experience. There is plenty more to the story, bad and good, but that is for another time.

I slept-walked through the months that followed, trying to make any sense of how and why it happened. When the fog finally lifted, I spent so much time rethinking the last months, looking for the connections, and I struggled because I couldn’t make sense of it all. I felt like I was in my own darker Groundhog Day film: wake, grieve, rinse, repeat. In that experience, my problem solving acumen evolved. I learned that looking across a situation and revisiting an experience over time, while it may not change what is, allows me to search for, plan and change what is next. You see, humans typically try to problem solve by focusing primarily on changing what is. Sometimes, you simply can’t change what is. Death taught me that lesson about non-negotiables. And her lesson helps me solve problems much more effectively today.

When we experience a singular event, our brains are hard-wired to make sense of it, to fix it. As new information comes in, and we are presented with new problems or challenges; our brains quickly make the associations, and then connections to create the jump needed to assess and respond in better, more effective ways with each pass. This is closely related to how I approach the business problems that our clients bring to us. Their challenges are real; they have problems that they cannot solve. These problems are costing them money and mindshare; they hurt. When they bring these problems to us, our job is to look at the problem, and revisit similar challenges that we have seen in the past. When we revisit situations that have some commonality (because they all do, frankly), we evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and what tools should be at the forefront of our options for solutions for them.

I’d like to think of my own experience with all of my clients as a network that gets bigger and bigger with time. Client industries, size, and tenure with GP Strategies all vary, but we shouldn’t use those imaginary “partitions” that separate one from the next to keep us from thinking across the wide span of solutions that we’ve provided to our clients. However, in order for my network to grow as fast as I want it to, I need to keep my head up, and constantly survey what is happening with my peers and counterparts on other projects. Like my network of clients and projects, I also have a network of peers that I have forged and nurtured during my five years at GP Strategies, and a network of folks outside who have traveled my career journey with me. I regularly reach out to get new thoughts on my ideas, brainstorm with people in different capacities, collaborate in different ways, and allow those experiences to pull me out of my comfortable ID space and into others. I want to know what they see, because with each additional “rep” we can make our work better, and solve client problems faster and in more innovative, creative ways.

I hope you enjoy the resources below, and look forward to connecting with you! Become part of my network on Twitter: @AnnibabyCan
Ann Rollins

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