30 Day Brainstorm Challenge – Day 21: Is it me?

It’s day 21 of our 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge – Is It Me?

Today was the last day of the Designing Learning Certification.

My aha moment today came from one of the participants. I’ve written about this before, about how sometimes L&D people have a tendency to blame the student when courses go into left field. They blame the student when additional help is needed. “How could they not know what to do, we just ran a training class last week. Why am I getting calls?” Even with ourselves, sometimes we participate in workshops and classes and wonder what we are getting out of the experience.

Today, as we were driving home the importance of beginning to design your courses with the end in mind, one of the participants had an epiphany. She had participated in many workshops and courses, and always wondered why she wasn’t connecting with the material, getting “little, if anything” out her time investment. She had always blamed it on herself. “Is it me?” Maybe I’m not focused enough, maybe I’m not taking the right notes, maybe I’m not paying attention…and so on. I don’t believe she’s alone in that thought, I think a lot of people leave a training session wondering how they could have improved their experience.

The epiphany came when she realized it wasn’t her, most likely it was the content, coupled with a facilitator who might have been more concerned with ego, than guiding information. Connecting people to learning requires two content must have’s:

  1. Context
  2. Relevancy

Without context, without a story, there is no reason to buy into any concept – people need to know the answer to the “So What”. So? What? What am I supposed to do with this information? Our jobs as curriculum designers, is to help people connect the dots. Help scaffold the learning to build stronger shelves in that walk in closet we call, long-term memory. Without context, there is no purpose.

Then, without context, there is little chance of showing relevancy. If context is the, “what” – then relevancy is the, “why”. Answering the “why” question, and then connecting the answer to job, encourages deeper thinking. Encourages experimentation, and then brain processes information as need to know.

It makes me sad to know she has gone through most of her adult career wondering what she was doing wrong. Wonder “Is it me?” Asking why information didn’t seem to stick. However, she now knows what to do to set up her participants for success.

  • Knowing it all starts with defining the business goal & appropriate metrics.
  • Then connect those success metrics with an understanding that people need to be able to DO something at the end of the day.
  • To connect that “something” with the needs of the organization.
  • This connection needs to align with the learning objectives.
  • The learning objectives are then developed, first, before the content becomes a spark in your brain.

If all of these things do not align, there is no point in moving forward. Why put people through training that, at the end of the day, will have little or no impact. What’s worse is the participants know it, therefore do not invest time and brain power.

So, my aha – keep the end-user, the context and relevancy connected. Help the people understand the “what” and the “why”.  Get rid of the bloat and help set up people for success in their learning efforts. Rid the world of bad training and really focus on helping people be success at the jobs they do.


NO! It’s not too late to join! See the original 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge post here

See previous post: Day 20:Plan B

Check out the variety of participants and their challenge entries on the Learning Rebels Facebook page here

Click on the gloves to learn more about how Learning Rebels can provide learning solutions to help you achieve your business goals.

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Shannon Tipton

Shannon Tipton

As Owner of Learning Rebels, Shannon Tipton is a skilled learning strategist, content developer and International speaker. Shannon has over 20 years of leadership experience developing successful learning strategies and infrastructures for training departments within organizations in North America, Europe and Korea.

Shannon works with people and organizations to develop learning solutions that brings actual business results. Recognized as bringing real-world expertise into the learning field, Shannon integrates technologies and social learning tools to strengthen workplace alignment, enhance collaboration and increase learning connectivity.

As author of “Disruptive Learning” Shannon frequently speaking at conferences across North America and Europe and ranks as one of the top 100 L&D influencers on Twitter (@stipton).

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