Hello 2017! Welcome to a new year, a time when many of us resolve to kick things up a notch and get healthier: run our first 5K, get more sleep, eat more kale, make a few tweaks to our talent development program. Yes, you read that right! I’m sure many of you have looked at the current health status of your learning programs and want them to be in better shape. I’m one of those people, which is why I recently took the Blended Learning Certification course with ATD and discovered a few essential tips to whip my learning programs into the best shape yet. Here are my top three: 

Break Through Plateaus by Switching Up Your Routine 

Discover—and use—many different learning tools. 

There are many more ways to learn than just through instructor-led training and e-learning courses! Social media, webinars, collaborative spaces, and job aids are all tools you can integrate into your learning programs. Blending different methodologies keeps things interesting, and your learners on their toes and engaged. A discussion on a chat board? Blended learning. An online poll? Blended learning. Group projects? Yep, throw that in the blender. Do an online search of learning methodologies and you will be inspired to change the shape of your programs. Just make sure you aren’t needlessly throwing in fillers that will do more harm than good—you have to make sure the tools serve a true purpose, which brings us to the next tip. 

Don’t Bring Pizza to a Salad Bar 

Establish what your learning objectives really are. 

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Look at your learning objectives and ask yourself this important question: “By the end of this program, what do we want the learner to do?” If you want your learners to manage and de-escalate high-level customer service problems, a three-page research paper might not be the most effective way to achieve that objective. So, once you learn about all the different ways to reach and engage your learner, take a good look at your learning objectives and how they will be assessed, and pick the most suitable methodology. 

Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep  

You can’t have one without the other. 

And you should look at your learning curriculum the same way. How do all the components of your blended learning program work together? For example, if you were designing customer service training, you could include a self-study guide on customer service phrases, a video training on common customer service scenarios, and a role-play activity on de-escalating customer services issues. You should be able to identify how the three objectives are linked together and support the main goal.