How to be an elearning visionary
by Tess Robinson, Director, LAS
Our MD recently won an Outstanding Contribution award and was named as one of the Top 10 eLearning Movers and Shakers in the UK for 2016. The award was given partly because of all the voluntary work he has done to support the elearning industry but also because he’s seen as somewhat of a thought-leader in digital learning. Here’s what I have learnt from him:
- Listen (and hear the things that people don’t say)
Getting to the crux of a customer’s business problem often means not taking things at face value. If you’re really going to create digital learning that really makes an impact and measurably improves the performance of the business, you need to be able to accurately define what it is that the customer wants to change. Identifying the business goal is a key tenet of action mapping – a method that is ingrained in most of the learning we produce.
- Ask the right questions and ask lots of them
You can never ask enough questions, particularly at the outset of a project. Really understanding the customer is vital to being able to come up with the right solution. We have a standard list of questions that we always ask and then many, many more that will come up in the course of the research phase.
- Don’t be afraid to be outlandish
Fighting zombies or taking off in rockets to dance with aliens might not be the right learning solutions for everyone, but don’t be afraid to put wild ideas out there. They may not be what you end up with in terms of the solution, but thinking as widely as possible will inevitably lead you to be more creative and help you to find the most memorable solution for your audience.
- The creative process is collaborative and social – not just an individual thing
You can certainly be a creative, ‘ideas’ person as an individual – someone who inspires – but the true power of the creative process comes from the team, including users, customer and other stakeholders as well as the vendor team, and from ensuring that all the elements of a solution fit together and work. Kaspar Tang Vangkilde wrote an interesting theses on the social process of creativity at Hugo Boss, which backs up the idea that creativity is a team effort.
- Put yourself out there
Share stuff, learn from others, bounce ideas off people. Take an active part in the elearning community and aim to really raise the bar – rewarding in so many ways.
- Make time for mindfulness
OK, so it’s a bit of a trendy thing at the moment, but it’s not just a load of ‘hippy crap’. Various studies, including those done by Harvard and University of California, have found that meditation enhances creativity and improves focus. Being in a relaxed state of mind encourages divergent thinking and makes space for those ‘eureka’ moments. Working life can be very hectic. Taking time out to do nothing – just 20 minutes every other day will do – from being bombarded by texts, emails, phone calls, Skype messages and so on has been proved to have real results.