December 18, 2022

Learning needs to be intentional

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After nearly two years of researching, experimenting, and interviewing L&D experts, we’ve managed to filter out the noise and establish the core principles of effective online learning. To make it to the list, a core principle had to pass the following test:

  1. Is it supported by scientific research?
  2. Is the technology to build the core principle into an online application available?
  3. Can the L&D Manager and their team implement the principle with ease?

This series explores the six principles.

Principle 6: Learning needs to be intentional

The last core principle of online learning is all about data: how do we know if people have learned? How do we know if they need some more training? How do we know what they know and what they don’t?

We believe a better understanding of the impact learning has on people will make learning more intentional. By having better data we can design better content, add the right people to the right session and build learning journeys that close the skill gaps.

But classic e-learning is focused on a completely useless data point: the answers provided to a quiz.

A quiz measures (at best) short-term theoretical retention, not long-term skill development.

What we need to measure and understand is three-fold:

1. The ability to solve problems & challenges together with others

2. Employee blind spots

3. Engagement levels

Let’s take it one by one.


In their day-to-day jobs, people need to work together with their colleagues to overcome challenges and solve pressing business problems. Their ability to team up, think on their feet, research, and use the available information in a meaningful way is crucial.

It’s not what you know, is how you can use what you know in context.

By the very nature of the learning mechanics in, we measure people’s ability to do just that: know-how, not knowledge.


The second thing we measure is Employee Blindspots because the enemy of progress is ignorance.

If we don’t know what we don’t know, then it’s impossible to act and make learning intentional.

This is why, by design and without any effort from the training or learning designer, probes people for confidence in their ability. By comparing employee skill with employee confidence, we determine blind spots.

As an L&D manager, you can collect these blind spots and start developing learning strategies and involving managers in tackling them.


The final thing we measure is Engagement Level.

During the learning process, if you know how engaged people are with the topic you can better understand what makes them tick and what makes them click. Then building a better learning scenario becomes more intentional.

Also, spotting patterns of lack of engagement in a particular employee can help managers have more meaningful conversations and conduct course corrections if necessary.



This is the final article in the series, closing the circle around what makes e-learning work.

However, the journey to fix the e-learning problem is far from over and next time we'll cover why is important and how can the L&D function get back control over the e-learning process.

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