How Abandoning Learning and Training Improved Learning Outcomes



A few years ago we made the decision to stop emphasizing the learning and training part of XPLANE’s offering. We looked around and found our competitors in this slice of our business had become e-learning production houses churning out rinse-and-repeat instructional designs on a dime. Even worse, we felt like the learning projects we were part of weren’t making enough of a difference for our clients. Our client sponsors may have been delighted, but we felt the actual learning was superficial and wasn’t driving deep results. So we just stopped telling clients we did learning design. 

Would you believe what happened? The quality and effectiveness of our learning work skyrocketed. Over the past few years we have enjoyed a wave of projects with fantastic learning outcomes: high information retention, immediate on-the-job impact, increased empathy, behavior change. 

Why? 

Two reasons: 

We reframed learning design as experience design 
  
When framed as learning projects, we found our clients had specific outcomes in mind: usually one-way push learning or nominally interactive e-learning experiences. Traditional learning formats and traditional instructional design processes were an anchor on creativity and a true focus on outcomes. 

When framed as experience design, projects suddenly had room to breathe. Our clients joined us in a single-minded creative focus on outcomes, wherever that path may take us. This led to diverse solutions from company-wide board games, to dynamic workshops, to museum-like immersive spaces. We’ve honed our experience design methodology to a precise craft, capable of producing highly effective experiences that surprise and delight learners while paying off big for our client sponsors. 

We joined our client’s 70:20:10 world 
  
The majority of our clients have adopted the 70:20:10 ratio as their dominant learning model. Though our clients interpret the ratio differently, most define optimal learning as:
  • 70% from on-the-job experience and stretch tasks
  • 20% from other people, like peers or bosses
  • 10% from formal learning, like courses and reading

When clients came to us for learning design, they wanted us to help them with the 10%. With broader focus on experience design, we are helping clients across the entire 70:20:10 spectrum, integrating strategies across and applying design methodology at a learning-system level. 
  
So if you don’t hear XPLANE talking much about learning design anymore, it’s because we believe experience design is better at addressing learning needs than traditional learning design ever was able to. Our experience design methodology is robust and outcome-driven to meet the needs of the 70:20:10 organization holistically. We are still here to help you reach organizational learning goals, but be prepared to work with a design partner, not a production studio. Get ready to meet your learners where they are at and design an experience that rekindles their love for learning at work.