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A lesson in clarity

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

I have been analyzing, re-designing, and converting my previous face-to-face programs to an online format since the start of the pandemic.

It's been a lesson in clarity.

Online learning still achieves the objectives but the route and journey are different.

Not better or worse, only different.

And some of us (managers, leaders, teachers and learners) have a hard time with change. Yet here we are. It's time to embrace this new way.

Below are two key principles I have used throughout my 20-year career as an Instructional Designer when designing learning, with an emphasis on online learning.

Special note: for leadership, these principles are helpful as you begin converting your employee training to the online environment.

1. Focus on the needs of the learner

Build it for them and ask yourself and the learners:

  • What experience would they prefer, engage in, appreciate?

  • What content is the most important for them to achieve the objectives?

  • What do they absolutely need to learn and what would be nice to learn?

  • What would help them be confident in applying the learning to their lives?

  • How would they apply this to their lives?

  • What is critical to show them about applying this in their lives?

  • When applied, what impact would this have to them, their work, the workplace and the world?

When you have the answers to these questions, you are ready to start the conversion.

2. Focus on the learner experience

Online learning is best when it's blended.

Consider a mix of videos, text, live interaction with exercises, self-paced learning and exercises, and an opportunity to engage and learn from peers.

Don't do it! It's not advisable to convert a 1-day face-to-face program to a 1-day online program.

This will cause fatigue, overwhelm and a lost opportunity to ensure new skills, knowledge and attitudes live beyond the event.

Here's an analogy: if I need to take a trip to Toronto from Montreal (where I live) I can fly there or take the train; each provides a completely different experience. Both will get me to my end destination.

Online learning needs to happen in spurts and over time. So a 1-day face-to-face experience should be moved to smaller chunks of learning over a few days or weeks.

And the learner should be properly prepared to engage fully in this new experience. Some things may be delightful while others will be different and uncomfortable.

The Role of the Leader

The role of the leader will be to ease the learner into the new environment. The ability to connect and be confident to ensure the learner wants to learn through this instructional approach.

And while an instructor can make things work in the classroom because of their skillful classroom expertise, the conversion calls for similar yet different skills.


Clear goals. Clear instructions. Clear instructional structure.

Let's do it right!

It's your turn...

  • How have you brought clarity to your online learning experiences?

  • How are students, employees, and teachers in your environment transitioning?


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Sonia, Chief Reinvention Officer, Harvest Performance, works with emerging leaders to bring their purpose-driven ground-breaking ideas to life, to reinvent for results, so that every day is designed to leave a positive impact.

An award-winning author of the Ken Blanchard endorsed book, The Apple in the Orchard: a story about finding the courage to emerge, Sonia birthed the Take the Leap! Make an Impact program for those looking for growth and meaning in their every day.

Why we work determines how well we work.

Let’s talk about how I can assist you and your team in reinventing for results.

Book time for a complimentary 30-minute chat about where we go from here.

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