Demonstrate Authority | Provide Value | Multiply Your Influence
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At first it was just a sprinkle of flurries, nothing to worry about. After all it’s April and highly unlikely that a flight will be cancelled because of a blizzard this time of year. But this reasoning neglected to factor that the flurries were falling at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport and that the layover flight to Texas wouldn’t take off for another two hours. Plenty of time for more snow to present itself. And present itself it did. The flight was cancelled and postponed until the next morning.
Thankfully I had built extra time into the travel arrangements, so even though I wouldn’t get to the Fort Worth Convention center until the following afternoon, it was still plenty of time to be ready for the 7pm start time to my presentation in front of 3,000 high school students for the Texas Technology Students Association’s annual conference.
But it was still too close for comfort. “What if the morning flight is delayed and I can’t get there in time?” I don’t like to disappoint clients, so I went to work figuring out the contingency plan.
After looking at the weather map I considered renting a car. It would take at least fourteen hours to drive there, and only the first few hours would be a challenge getting through the blizzard. Once I was far enough south it would be smooth sailing. If all went well I’d likely arrive about the same time the flight would get me in.
But what if it doesn’t go as planned? After all, the flight didn’t go as planned! What if the blizzard left me stranded on the side of the road and I couldn’t get there in time? There had to be another solution.
That’s when I started making some phone calls. I called everyone I knew who was local to the Greater Fort Worth area who was of similar expertise and presentation style as myself to ask if they could be on stand-by should the weather prevent me from making it in time. No one was available. But one colleague had someone in mind and they came highly recommended. After a phone call and an email, I got through to Lyndy Phillips and sure enough he was available and willing to be on call.
Finally, I had my contingency plan in place. If I didn’t make it in time, my client would be taken care of in my absence. Sure, if I didn’t make it then it would mean a loss of several thousands of dollars and months of planning wasted, but I could sleep soundly that night knowing that the people who put their trust in me would be taken care of one way or another.
Lessons Learned on the Road
The story you just read is a small glimpse of a day in the life of a speaker, trainer, and facilitator serving national clients, and while I did make it in time without having to fall back on the contingency plan, that month I learned a lot of lessons.
It was April of 2018, the busiest month of my career at that point, with four contracts with clients across four states nationwide, each requiring weeks and months of preparation:
Aside from learning to be over-prepared for every client (including having a backup presenter lined up just in case) I also learned that there has to be a more efficient way of serving clients.
Ever since 2010 when I designed and facilitated my first training workshop, I’ve been honing a myriad of learning design skills. Over the past decade, aside from delivering in-person workshops, I’ve also developed and produced hundreds of educational videos, mostly as supplements to my in-person work. Yet the experience traveling for work during the freak April blizzard of 2018 in Minnesota, gave me pause to reconsider the business model I had assumed.
“Why does in-person training have to be the default? What if I could provide training and coaching virtually without ever having to leave home? What if it could all be automated?”These questions collectively inspired a deep dive into my own professional development by studying learning design and technology through a graduate program at Purdue University. The result? Not only can I now serve national and global clients from the comfort of my home, but I also now have a transferable skill that can serve me well in any industry moving forward.
Learning design is a relevant skill that I’ve applied directly to my own work with Hashtag Positivity and after several requests from peers in the industry asking for advice in this arena, I've responded to the demand by officially launching eCourse Kit—an all-inclusive program for learning the essential elements of e-learning design for entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and thought leaders to demonstrate their authority, provide value to the people they serve, and multiply their influence. Best of all, you can do this work from the comfort of your home! No more worrying about whether the weather will interfere with your work so you can focus on what truly matters most: taking care of the people you serve.
The Learning Experience Formula
Learning Experience Design can be a rather complex process, but it need-not-be a roadblock to progress. What follows is a brief outline of the four-step formula I use when creating instructional materials, based on a backwards approach to the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation—with a focus first on results, then behavior, learning, and finally satisfaction. Best of all, this formula works equally well for both in-person and virtual learning experiences:
RESULTS = BEHAVIOR x (SATISFACTION + LEARNING)
Step 1: Results
The first step when creating a learning experience is to identify the desired results you want to achieve. This will serve as your guiding light to inform every decision you make in the design and development of the learning experience you are creating.
For example, the result you’re looking for might be an increase in profits, higher enrollment rates, or enhanced employee engagement. Or perhaps the results you’re looking for are less on-the-job injuries, decreased spending, or less gossip around the office. Or perhaps it’s something else entirely.
Whatever your motivation is for creating the learning experience, getting clear on the overall desired results you’re looking for will help you to make critical decisions moving forward.
Step 2: Behavior
The next step is to identify the critical behaviors that people need to engage in that will help achieve the desired results.
For example, if your goal is to decrease on-the-job injuries, the behaviors may include the use of safety equipment, checklists, and attention to detail. Or, if your goal is to increase profits, the critical behaviors may include a sales team that can describe features and benefits to potential clients and upsell to current clients, or it may include enhanced efficiency in the delivery of goods and services.
The idea is to use your desired results as a starting point to then reverse engineer what will help you achieve those results.
Step 3: Learning
Once the critical behaviors have been identified, the next step is to identify what people need to know in order to engage in those behaviors.
For example, if the critical behaviors include the use of specialized equipment, proprietary information, or a specialized process or protocol, then the necessary learning will include the use of instructional materials to teach these knowledge and skills.
This step highlights the gap between desire and ability, and the learning experience you create will help to fill in this gap. The output of this step is the creation of clear, concise, and actionable learning objectives that will guide the design and development of your course.
Step 4: Satisfaction
The final step in the learning experience formula is to identify what is needed to ensure learners have a satisfying learning experience. This step will include the identification of the resources and opportunities learners will need to help them apply their new knowledge and skills, however it will also require the identification of motivational instructional strategies that assist learners in sustaining attention, interest, and desire for the instructional materials.
Approaching learning experience design in this way ensures every choice made along the journey is directed toward the desired results. If you’re interested in turning your expertise into an engaging online learning experience that will demonstrate your authority, provide value to the people you serve, and multiply your influence, then using this four-step formula is a great starting point.
To take your course to the next level, then your next step is to connect with me for a complimentary strategy session to discuss your challenges, goals, and obstacles. Victory favors the bold! Reach out now: email@example.com.
Jonas Cain is a Positivity Coach, Learning Experience Designer, and Facilitator of Fascination for Hashtag Positivity, helping emerging leaders and their influencers initiate and manage positive change for personal, team, and organizational growth.
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.