Think about a training session that you’ve attended in the last year. When was it? How was it? These questions may not bring back positive memories, because these sessions are not always designed.
At FutureGov we believe that learning happens best through experience. People have to feel the difference of working in various ways to become part of sustainable change. The types of capabilities needed to create 21st-century organisations have to be experienced before they become established and trusted approaches for designing and delivering better services.
In my role as Learning Director, I’m helping ensure our teams and clients are learning in everything we do.
Learning Experience Design
When we support people to work and think in new ways, we call this Learning Experience Design (LxD). This is the practice of creating, developing, facilitating and then evaluating how people and organisations learn.
- creating: working closely with organisations and staff, getting to know people and the style of sessions they will engage with most to understand their learning needs and how a learning experience can contribute
- developing: designing the different touchpoints that organisations will interact with during the experience, from the role FutureGovers play to the tangible materials used to create a suitable learning environment
- facilitating: fostering meaningful learning environments with engaging and experienced facilitators to promote reflection-based action
- evaluating: evidencing learning outcomes, agreeing on the approach and methods that will be used to collect and analyse the data to prove change is happening or will happen
It’s not just about training
Organisations often try to strengthen or build new capabilities through training, but learning happens most effectively when people experience something. We all have lived experiences which shape what we know.
A recurring problem with training sessions is that they aren’t user-centric. It’s easy to find content heavy ‘workshops’ which offer little practical experience. We know that people learn in different ways. While some people could have a mindset for lecturing and theory, we can’t assume that everyone does. For a more hands-on learner, these types of sessions are less likely to lead to real learning. Workshops should be engaging, surprising and lead us to experience ‘aha-moments’. We need the act of learning to be meaningful.
Meaningful learning happens when we introduce new experiences, appropriate for different mindsets to make sense of new concepts. We need to approach learning environments and experiences by working closely with learners — as users. In other words, learning experiences need to be designed.
Building capability with organisations
When we deliver work with partner organisations at FutureGov, we talk about ‘capability building’ or ‘transferring skills and knowledge’.