From the good old training catalogue to today’s learning journey

Author: Louise Hållberg
Published: August 28th, 2020

When changing and transferring competence and behaviour, you need a good portion of commitment and training to get the results you want to achieve. Today, organizations talk a lot about creating a “learning” culture. All to often, this means that the focus lies on creating the content and thereafter create a program connected to the content which is offered to parts of or everyone in the organization. Do you recognize the approach?

A great example from my own experience and I am sure a lot of others are with me on this, was when GDPR was entering the world. My organization set up a training program considering how GDPR would affect our organization. Like other organizations, this training contained the same content with the same structure, a 45 minutes long e-Learning created to reach every employee within the organization. The training program was well written and the content was supposed to cover everyone’s needs on the subject, regardless of your role in the organization. Time and money were put into this training aiming to give all of us the best content. But it was only one training program…

How did it go?

First of all: it took me more than the estimated 45 minutes to get through the training and pass it. I lost my focus within seconds into this modern e-Learning and my mind went somewhere else. I had to start all over at least 5 times before I passed. It turned out I was not the only one going through the training this way. How come it turned out like this? This was an expensive, rich in content and well-produced e-Learning, designed with multiple presentation methods, all from reading and videos to digital quizzes.

What really happened?

First of all, the most obvious reason was that at least 75% of the content was not specifically connected to my role, which made it really hard for me to stay focused multiple times, and which got my mind to go somewhere else. Secondly, even if there were a few alternatives on how to get the facts presented to me, the only thing I could do was to sit and just watch my computer during the training, with a few exceptions to do tests and ticking of checkbox alternatives. Was this inspiring?  Motivating? Connected to my challenges? No, definitely not! I was not more dedicated – rather sleepy! The intention of the organization was good and we should not stop designing training programs for our employees. HOWEVER, what was overlooked was to design the training according to the results the organization wanted to achieve – and to implement it!

How do you design a successful Learning Journey?

It is essential when designing a successful learning journey, that will lead to a behavioural change for the participant, that it is designed with the result in mind. It should start with what you want to achieve as the starting point.


  1. First of all, the participant needs to understand the purpose of the training and the results the training should contribute to. This will inspire the participant to commit to his or her learning journey, understand why the training is taking place and what the expectations are. The results are rarely achieved without commitment or understanding. Moreover, it is also important to create and maintain the commitment for the participants since the seed of commitment could easily die if you do not nurture it properly.


  1. The foundation in the training is to give the participants the tools they need to take in the content and facts in the subject so they can practice and develop their skills. Make it clear and make sure the participant has the opportunity to really understand the content and its purpose.


  1. Create an opportunity for the participant to practice and make progress. The goal is not necessarily to get a new skill set for the participant, it could also lead to strengthen and increase the awareness and self-esteem within the area of expertise. Make sure that the participant has an opportunity to practise on the job what he or she learnt as a part of the training!


  1. Give the participant time to reflect, to him or herself as well as in the group, and make sure you are in the assignment as active support – do not leave this part to e.g. a digital quiz. When a participant is having a wow-experience through reflection, the chance to make a change is significantly higher. A winning method to achieve the wanted results is when a leader is involved and supportive throughout the process. For a participant to implement his or her new knowledge with the support from his or her manager makes the learning journey stick when the participant returns back to work.


What is essential to get results?

When a training program’s sole purpose is changed behaviour, which basically always is the goal, we cannot only distribute our training through one digital course catalogue. To actually accomplish the wanted results and changed behaviour you need a properly designed learning journey – and above all – a platform that supports all the 4 points mentioned above – otherwise you are making it harder than it has to be. The time for monotonous training packaged as e-learnings on your computer or in a classroom is over.

To encourage commitment and results it is a Learning Journey we are going to design, not a separate training event. The learning journey is designed to make the participant improve and for the organization to follow the progress, behavioural change and results of the employee.

So, back to the trending “learning” organization. Let us learn – with a clear purpose, goal and expectation on what this investment in time and money means to both the employee and organization.  Furthermore, let us start with a good learning journey design and a platform that makes it tangible!


Learn more!

Would you like to know more about designing a learning journey? Read more about our Brinkerhoff Certification – for High Performance Learning Journeys®!