Getting the balance is important while designing a training or learning intervention. And, the balance comes at many layers. Perhaps the most important layer is balancing learning content with the learning process. If the content is boring, you obviously need to use an interesting learning process to ensure that the learner stays engaged with the content, and does not switch off. It will be vice versa, when the content is interesting. If you had interesting content delivered in an interesting way, you risk the learners enjoying this interaction too much and not really internalising the learning; they may have taken in the content similar to watching a movie or playing a game.
Let me take an example each from instructor led training and self-paced learning to clarify. Imagine that the learning content is on Company History as part of Induction for new joiners. If the learner has to go through an online module covering decades of organizational history, the learner would be dozing off pretty soon or would be skipping through the content. Imagine, that the learner was allowed to drive a car and stop at various milestones, pit stops or take dining breaks as part of a journey. And, each stop allowed the learner to explore some part of the corporate history in an interactive way, the learning is likely to be far better.
Next, imagine a classroom session on “earning incentives” for sales persons. This topic obviously is of high interest to all the participants. One doesn’t need to make this too interesting. It could be just a plain presentation with perhaps some scenarios of what is possible to achieve and what some high performers have actually achieved. With, the last piece as videos of real people speaking. So, we need to match the content with the process, for best value. This will also bring down the costs of overall design & development of learning or training programs.
It is my strong belief that we need to balance out between learning content and learning process to drive learning outcomes. There are other aspects of achieving this balance as part of instructional design that I will address in other posts.