Creating a successful learning experience is not as easy as you might hope. It’s easy to create something that ticks all the boxes in terms of covering key learning, but which is as dull as ditchwater. Similarly, you can create something that looks amazing, but which is ultimately ineffective in terms of covering the learning. Style over substance. It should, in theory, be easy to hit the middle ground, but all too often, we miss.
I was reviewing a project this week and found that it looked great and covered all the key areas, and I found that I was surprised by this. It seemed odd that I was surprised we has managed to achieve what we were aiming for. Surely this should be normal?
I knew that we’d hit all the project milestones, that all the tasks were complete, so I suppose my realisation was that ‘quality’ isn’t necessarily delivered by milestones and plans. It’s something on top of this.
The problem with processes are that they can deliver results, quantifiable results, but they can iron excellence out as they do this. In time (and often budget) pressured worlds, process tends to focus on sign off, testing and completion. It rarely allows for the luxury of reflection.
The things that deliver quality in any project, be it a piece of e-learning or building a boat, are skill, pride and focus. It’s challenging to reduce a project in these terms, indeed, it’s hard to know how you even measure them. Still, just because something is hard to do, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.
Creating a piece of learning is largely a storytelling process, so to capture the elusive quality that we strive for, it’s important to both tell and listen to that story. You can’t write a book in one pass: it takes multiple iterations, editing and proofing, but you will only know if it’s any good when you read the final draft.
Reading through scripts and storyboards out loud, recording it and listening back to it, all these things are great for discovering if something is actually well written. When we write, we can tend to be overly detailed or florid (or maybe I mean ‘i’ can be…), and listening to the writing being read out loud is a great way to pick up on this. It’s a simple thing, quick to do, but often missed.
Acts of creation need to allow time or reflection, and however we plan this into our projects, it’s essential, not a luxury.