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03: Content design for L&D

June 24, 2023

Part 3 : How to design an award-worthy leadership programme

Ahhhh, learning design 😍

This is one of the most exciting parts of designing of your award-worthy leadership programme. It can also be one of the toughest. Get it right and you'll be well on your way to creating transformational growth across your leadership team(s).

Let's look at how you can win at design.

It's not about you

We're calling out the obvious here (we know all you want is a programme people love and delivers meaningful value!). But we do want to add a gentle reminder that it can be easy to have tunnel vision when it comes to learning design by focusing your content design and delivery around your own learning preferences.

Understand exactly who your audience are - their personal motivations, frustrations, strengths, working patterns and preferences. Consider investing time completing a Learner Persona. We've included a (very basic) example on the next page.

A Coachable Learner Persona

Choose your delivery formats

When designing your programme, it is important to consider the format and delivery method that best suits your objectives, audience, and resources. We recommend designing a blended learning experience.

Possible options include:

  • 360 and / or psychometrics
  • Self-paced and bite sized learning
  • Simulations and gamification
  • Live workshops
  • Coaching and / or mentoring

The Coachable Further Programme Experience

Four simple steps for designing your learning content

01: Define the session learning outcomes

Depending on the length of your session define between two and four learning outcomes. A general rule of thumb is one outcome for every hour of training.

02: Map out the session design and flow

This can be as simple as bullet pointing each of the key content areas with a very rough estimate of timing. Allow more time for each section than you think!

03: Add structure to your session

Your session should flow like a story with a beginning, middle and end. An example might include introducing a framework, exploring it's practical application and then facilitating an exercise that puts that learning into practice.

04: Invest in good design

No one (repeat... no one!) enjoys death by PowerPoint and bullet points. Your decks should be content-light and visually rich and used as a prompt for wider group discussion with great facilitation. And if you're still using Clipart, then you need to up your design game.

A strong brand identity really helps. If we're working on bespoke projects for our clients we recommend creating a new brand identity for your learning programme to really engage your team. You have to think of it as it's own product and experience. That includes a brand name, colour palette, imagery and diagram design. Yes it must feel part of your company brand, but it needs to feel different enough that it visually engages a different part of the learner's brain. You really don't want your learners mistaking this for another boring work presentation. Design really matters when it comes to learning. We can't stress that enough.

Some final thoughts

Learning design is a real skill to master but can add such a huge amount of value to someone's learning experience and how they embed that learning into their every day.

Because learning design is all about design, this is worth repeating: Use a learning designer AND get a visual designer to help make it all look on brand. Scrimping here and you can risk your learners being distracted by poor text alignment rather than taking on board the content you've so carefully prepared.

However you approach the design process seek plenty of feedback from learners and stakeholders and keep iterating.


In the next part of this series we'll be exploring Engagement

Go to the next Part >

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