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What are the key ingredients of successful learning programs? Kieran King provides the answers

Monday, April 30, 2012   (0 Comments)
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With stunning views from the 23rd floor of Met Life overlooking Bryant Park on an unusually warm early April evening, Kieran King from Skillsoft delivered a powerful, comprehensive, highly relevant presentation on "Blended Learning: Critical Design Decisions." A self-professed "learning nerd" Kieran, Director of Client Loyalty, has authored learning methodologies and published several white papers, several of which are available to ATD NY members in the Knowledge Center at Kieran may be an Atlanta resident now but she's a true native New Yorker. As a recently hired Training Director in an organization where we do a fair amount of unblended single event classroom training, this event was perfectly timed for me.

 To give some context to where the industry is going, Kieran highlighted the shift in modality from 2001 when 80% of learning was delivered via ILT with to 2010 when that number decreased to 60% with 35% delivered virtually. This wasn't as rapid a shift away from ILT as expected but it shows where we're headed. She also highlighted three major trends in blended learning:

  • Increased recognition of its benefits
  • More purposeful application of blended designs
  • Greater recognition that Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is still just as important as it's always been

Kieran also pointed out that content can be delivered digitally 50% faster than in the classroom.

She shared 5 blended learning tips from Sally Hovis, VP of Learning Design at Skillsoft:

  • Prepare your learners well
  • Best blended program is what works best for your org
  • Know your delivery options BEFORE you begin design and the best time to use it and the pros/cons for learners
  • Core ISD still applies
  • Acknowledge constraints

So how do you know what modalities to use? It's all driven by the needs of the learner at the various stages of the learning process. The focus of Kieran's presentation was a review of the 8 Phases of Workplace Learning all described from the learner's perspective:

Before Instruction:

-    Show Me

During Instruction:

-    Tell Me

-    Show Me

-    Let Me

-    Check Me

After Instruction:

-    Support Me

-    Coach Me

-    Connect Me

As ATD NY member Gail Gross pointed out, this framework is valuable to share with the learners so they see how the design of any program was created with their needs in mind every step of the way.

As an organization's learning strategy matures, the degree and complexity of blending evolves as well. Here is Kieran's Learning Strategy Maturity Model:

Stage 1: Supplement: Initiate learning

Stage 2: Target: Manager Learning

Stage 3: Strategic: Align Learning

Stage 4: Systematic: Integrate Learning

Stage 5: Optimize: Enterprise-Wide Learning

Other resources Kieran shared:

Jennifer Hofman's ATD Infoline on instructional design

Skillsoft's ROI calculator

For further elaboration on these invaluable points, members can reference 5 documents Kieran shared with us which are posted in the "Knowledge Center" under the "Resources" tab at You must log in to access this section. Thanks again to Kieran for an outstanding presentation and to MetLife for hosting in their incredible meeting space.


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