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Want Results? Move Beyond Topic-Based Learning Design

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Corporate training design needs an overhaul – there I said it. Have you found yourself with more training hours assigned to your teams than they can possibly get through in a day, month, year, or lifetime? Are you struggling to get your team members to want to take training in your organization? Are you not sure how to change the approach that you have always used? The solution isn’t more training or editing your training into smaller micro-sections, the solution is to re-engineer your approach.

I am working with a client right now who has a very robust training curriculum for their team members. They have created learning paths, training events, current topic presentations, and hours and hours of required training for each role. But something is still missing. They can’t figure out why there are still gaps in the team’s performance and why some people are thriving and some aren’t. Training feels overwhelming to the team members and in reality, has become a check-the-box activity versus an opportunity to improve results in the workplace.

And it isn’t your fault that this happened…

The difference is in the curriculum approach – there are two main approaches to designing a curriculum. Topic-based, or Learner-based design.. are you designing topics that help people acquire knowledge or creating application-based training that moves people to action.

Here are the key differences:

Topic-based curriculum design:

  • Focuses on specific subject matter or topics that are taught in a particular sequence or order.
  • Emphasizes the teacher as the primary source of knowledge and the one responsible for delivering the content to students.
  • Learning is primarily focused on acquiring knowledge about a particular subject or topic.
  • Maybe more teacher-centered, with the teacher being the primary decision-maker in terms of what is taught and how it is taught.
  • Evaluation of student learning is often based on memorization and recall of specific information or facts.

Learner-based curriculum design:

  • Focuses on the needs, interests, and abilities of individual learners.
  • Emphasizes the learner as an active participant in the learning process, with the teacher acting as a facilitator or guide.
  • Learning is often experiential and focused on developing skills, attitudes, and behaviors.
  • Maybe more student-centered, with the student being actively involved in decision-making regarding what is learned and how it is learned.
  • Evaluation of student learning is often based on the application of knowledge in real-world contexts and the demonstration of skills and abilities.

In summary, topic-based curriculum design is focused on specific subject matter or topics, with the teacher acting as the primary source of knowledge and the learning primarily focused on acquiring knowledge. Learner-based curriculum design, on the other hand, is focused on the needs and interests of individual learners, with the teacher acting as a facilitator or guide and learning focused on developing skills and abilities.

I would argue that the purpose of education in the workplace is to get results- achieve the primary objectives or goals of the business — so all roads lead to enhancing the goals of the business – so whichever approach makes you feel more comfortable in your organization, the filter should always be through the lens of results. What is the business, group, or team trying to accomplish?

Ready to change the conversation? Start with the end goal of the business…

  1. What are the key measurable goals for the business?
  2. What do people need to DO to accomplish these goals?
  3. What gaps (skills, attitudes, behaviors) need to be filled in order for people to do the thing?

 

 

Tara L Bryan

Our mission is to inspire, educate and give business owners the strategies and skills to build an infinitely scalable online business that will allow them to make a bigger impact and income without sacrificing the customer’s experience or adding more time to their already full lives. 

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