How to Design Learning That Works [RECAP]

Designing learning that works, that’s designed for clear business and performance goals, is vital for the effectiveness of an L&D department. Good learning design can have a dramatic impact on your people and your organization because it leads to learning experiences that equip your people for what they need to do to succeed. That’s been the topic of this blog series and we hope you’ve found it helpful to equip you to become better at helping others become better. Here’s a recap—with links—to what we’ve covered.

Our introduction to the Designing Effective Training series set out the purpose of the series as well as learning outcomes linked to a performance outcome (as an example of good practice). I hope having worked through this series you feel better equipped for the performance outcome we identified:

Design a learning program, experience, or resource with a clear plan for impact on business performance.

We then asked the question Why is learning evaluation so hard? and explored three scenarios in which evaluating the effectiveness of the program proved difficult for various reasons. Specifically, in each of the scenarios:

  • There was no clear goal for the program, so it was impossible to say if the program met its goals.
  • No performance goals were identified, so it was difficult to show that progress toward the business goal was due to training.
  • The business goal was about preventing a serious but unlikely risk. It’s difficult to know the likelihood of the risk occurring, and how that likelihood was affected by training without measurable performance and process goals.

Instructional Design Models & Methods

Next, we explored four instructional design models and methods:

  1. ADDIE. The process of analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation.
  2. Action Mapping. Starting with a business goal and then mapping the job behaviors, practice activities and information required to meet that goal.
  3. Training Needs Analysis. Identifying learners’ skills gaps that prevent learners from effectively performing and excelling in their roles.
  4. Chain of Evidence. Designing a logical chain defining how the learning program will lead to the business goal being met.

BALDDIE Model of Instructional Design

We then unveiled BALDDIE, our own model of instructional design that builds on these models. The BALDDIE model—which is a modified version of ADDIE that places more focus on the analysis stage and draws in concepts from Cathy Moore's Action Mapping model and LEO Learning's Chain of Evidence method—follows this process:

  • Business Goal
  • Action Required
  • Learning Needed
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

From there, we discussed how to:

  1. Identify good business goals for learning programs.
  2. Set the right performance goals for learning programs.
  3. Create learning outcomes.

And finally, we looked at how to respond to naysayers who might be uncomfortable using a different approach to instructional design.

What’s Next?

In implementing BALDDIE, you set yourself up to deliver training that's not only more likely to be effective, but whose effectiveness is also easier to measure. That’s because you’ve built learning, performance, and business goals into the design—and, as a result, you’ve already identified the metrics of success you can measure.

And by evaluating at each link in your chain of evidence, you can more easily identify:

  • where the program needs to improve, and
  • approaches that work well in your organization, which can be replicated in the next program you develop.

So what’s next after implementing BALDDIE? Learning Evaluation and Learning Analytics, which happen to be topics we’ve already covered in our Insights blog! Here are some of our previous blog series that you might like to explore next:

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And the learning measurement survey says...

There's a disconnect between L&D and the wider business. Find out more and read our fourth annual survey report with LEO Learning that provides an evolving picture of L&D’s relationship with measurement and business impact—including real-world examples and extended commentary.

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