At the risk of sounding buzz-wordy, Twitter, for all intents and purposes, has been a game-changer. Think about it – 10 short years ago, what did you think a “tweet” was?
Ah, 2004. It was a simpler time…
Over the past few years, Twitter has become not only a household name, but it is a major communication and broadcasting tool. Let’s have some fun. If you would, please take a moment to answer this short poll:
A couple of years ago, in my quest to facilitate a progressive learning experience, I developed a content review exercise; an exercise I was certain would be a hit with the audience. I asked a few people for feedback, and they all agreed that it sounded good (in hindsight, my sample group wasn’t exactly diverse). I brazenly forged ahead to facilitate this in a workshop for the first time.
The exercise? I called it “Key Messages in 140 Characters or Less”. The purpose of the exercise was to have small groups (2-3 people) discuss the key messages of the day’s event, and then summarize it onto flip charts…as if they were tweeting it. 140 characters or less. Then we would share the responses and discuss the key messages.
Well, it could have been brilliant, had I taken a moment to poll my audience to know if they understood how Twitter worked, or what I meant by “140 characters or less”. But they didn’t, and the exercise bombed. Blank stares all around.
Don’t assume, people. Even with something that is popular. As you develop your learning content, one of the most important things you can do is to assess your audience during the needs analysis and development process. Here are 6 simple questions to ask yourself or your stakeholders as you develop your content, to ensure that it is relevant for your participants:
1. What is the average age and experience level of the participants?
2. What is their educational or training background?
3. Will the participants be a diverse group?
4. What makes this group unique?
5. What is the culture of the team or organization?
6. What types of technology, tools and job aids would the participants be most comfortable using?
The workplace is changing – we all know that. Our learners are a diverse mix of generations, cultures and learning styles. They have different needs and different interests. By integrating these simple questions into your development routine, you will discover important details about your participants that will lead to relevant content, engaging facilitation and meaningful interactions with learners.
Learning should be relevant, engaging and meaningful.
— Michelle Baker (@MichelleLBaker) January 25, 2014
Your turn: How do you learn about your participants and keep them in mind as you develop training content? How can we get better at this as learning professionals?