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Instructional Design 101: Building Your Training Content Strategy

With a training content strategy in place, enablement professionals can spend more time confidently rolling out new training modules, implementing learner engagement strategies and nailing benchmark metrics–instead of guessing what to do next. Besides, who’s got the time? 

Your content strategy needs a blueprint 

Just as a strong foundation is important when building a house, starting with a strong context is key when building a training program. Your learners should, at a glance, be able to understand the goals and learning objectives at the beginning of a new training rollout. 

Think back to your own onboarding experience–the intimidating length of the checklist, and the endless jargon you were required to memorize and regurgitate. 

You definitely checked out. 

In a successful training program, the learners know not only what they are learning, but why they need to internalize this information. Your learners become more invested in their learning when they can tie the training benefits directly back to their personal success metrics–whether that’s closing more deals to fast-track their promotion or to make it to Founder’s Club.

Build the essentials–what can you get away with?

Now that you have a sturdy foundation, your “essential” rooms (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) are the next step. These will supplement your foundation; your learners know the basics of the job, and now you need to provide them with the things they need. To start, ask yourself what the learner’s immediate next steps would be to work effectively, and what needs to happen on a regular basis. 

These are the “learner essentials,” or the things that will make them successful in their role. In context of the house blueprint, mapping the “essential” rooms is equivalent to taking your learners through the basic workflow of their day-to-day. For sales teams, this is the time to hand your reps the Sales Playbook–and teach them about the Ideal Customer Profile or how to run a complete demo. These are the tools and training that your reps will need to succeed in their roles.

Bring in your bells and whistles

With the foundation and essential rooms set up, you can turn your focus on the “decor” and the furnishings. This is the space for career development and personal growth opportunities. After your new employees have acclimated to the routines and functions of their roles, you want them to feel successful and confident in their roles. 

Learners must understand the basic skills and techniques before moving onto something that requires advanced knowledge or context. This “scaffolding” process layers training in a digestible way, and ensures that the learner is able to both understand and retain knowledge without the information overload. This is the time to teach them skills that will allow them to thrive in their roles–and for revenue teams, that means making the Founder’s Club.

First strategy, then everything else

With your content blueprint complete, it’ll be much easier to pick out your next training topic. 

Identify your learning objectives, then work backwards to set benchmarks for success. You will then be able to give your learners a “just right” topic, and show the in-the-moment impact when adopted correctly. The key is to start small–by rolling out one topic at a time, analyzing the results, listening to learner feedback and modifying your training as frequently and quickly as needed. 

Build a content strategy that makes your learners responsible for their own learning journey 

Jen Scopo (Instructional Designer at WorkRamp) shares how you should be constructing your training content strategy in this on-demand webinar. Checkout her ideas on strategy adoption and the learner journey. 

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