Monthly Archives: October 2011

Defining Learning Outcomes to Guide Activity Choice

4MAT Train the TrainerIn our online 4MAT instructional design course, Leading Training Needs Analysis to Define Results-Focused Learning Outcomes Online Course, we explore how to define measurable outcomes that guide the design process. We focus on four key questions that help shape the outcomes framework which you will use to filter activity and content choices. To ensure performance results, four key outcomes must be achieved: value, knowledge, skill and adaptation.

We work through three critical steps in the outcomes development process:

Step 1: Analyzing the gap in performance.
Step 2: Defining the desired outcomes for the course.
Step 3: Working with Subject-Matter-Experts to define the concept and content of the course.

Let’s take an example of a request for sales training and explore one of the four key outcomes you must define: the Value Outcome. The value outcome statement articulates what value shift must occur in the learner to ensure higher performance. How must the learner think differently in order for them to act differently?

To craft a solid Quadrant 1 outcome (and great training opening), you must get into the mindset of the high performer. How does the high performer think differently than the struggling performer? What do they value differently? An article by titled, What Makes Great Salespeople Tick” by psychoanalyst Rapaille  gives a great example of a fundamental difference between high performing and struggling sales team members. Rapaille shares that great salespeople are “happy losers” that view rejection as a challenge.  Rapaille goes on to explain that our first experiences in selling shape our views. When we sold (or didn’t sell) that first box of Girl Scout cookies, a foundational view of sales was formed.

If we imagine Rapaille as our subject matter expert on the mindset of high performing sales people, we might articulate a Value outcome statement for this course which sounds like:

1. Engage/Value Outcome: Learners will learn to value rejection or negative responses from customers as useful feedback in the sales process.

In the case of dealing with rejection, great salespeople value negative feedback. A high performing salesperson sees the negative response as a valuable clue that redirects their sales approach. To create this mindset in low performers, requires a reframe of their existing beliefs that are a direct result of their previous experiences.

In our 4MAT train the trainer courses, we explore the four roles that trainers play when delivering a 4MAT-based design. In this step,  the trainer plays the role of “Facilitator” and uses reflection and dialogue to connect the learners to what they already know about the content and establish personal relevance. Here the trainer introduces the big idea, or concept, that subject matter experts appreciate which leads to learner engagement around the topic being learned. The outcome statement will serve as a guide to define the focus of the content and concept for the course. When choosing the opening activity,  think about how you can tap into the learner’s previous experiences of learning from rejection.

For example, in the sales course mentioned earlier, you might design the following opening:

4MAT Step 1: Connect
Reflect on early experiences in “selling” something. Can you recall being faced with your first rejection? Describe the experience. How did you feel? What was the impact of that experience? What did you learn from this experience?

Note: In this step in the 4MAT model, the learner is tapping into their experiences which shape their perceptions around the content. The activity choice focuses on personal experiences around rejection which links directly to the desired learning outcome. Skillful facilitation will lead learners to connect their past experiences and current view of selling.

4MAT Step 2: Attend
Share your experiences in your table group. Answer the following questions, as a group:

  • What were the commonalities in your experiences?
  • How did this experience shape your view of “selling”?

Note: In this step in the 4MAT model, the learners compare and contrast their experiences. The learners begin to notice themes and identify how perceptions shape their behaviors. Energy is building around the topic.

4MAT Step 3: Image
Using the materials provided by the facilitator, learners are asked to visually illustrate how positive and negative feedback from a potential “buyer” impacts your sales approach.

Note: Here the learner begins to see how their perceptions (which are shaped by past experience) influence their results. Imagine a learner sharing a visual with “positive=negative” written across the paper chart sharing, “Positive and negative cues from a buyer give me equal value. Each points me in the right direction.

There are an infinite number of activities to choose from when designing. When you couple this with the unlimited amount of content you can include, effective instructional design choices can become difficult. Well-defined outcome statements make the process of filtering content and measuring impact much simpler.

4MAT Train the Trainer: How to Be Fascinating

4MAT Train the Trainer FascinatingIn our 4MAT train the trainer and instructional design courses, engaged learning professionals come from all over to explore how to design and deliver learning experiences that create measurable, lasting impact using the 4MAT model. After reading the book, Fascinate, I am wondering if what we are really trying to figure out as trainers is how to become more fascinating.

Why are we captivated by some people and not others? Why are we compelled into action by one message and not another? According to Fascinate author Sally Hogshead, the answer is “fascination.” Fascination is the most powerful way to influence decision making. Hogshead shares “7 triggers” that spark the fascination response. Allow me to share how Hogshead defines the triggers along with my own thoughts on how this might show up in the learning experiences you design and deliver:

1. Lust: If you engage lust, you attract others into the experience.

Think about how you invite training participants to move beyond thinking and engage in feeling. How do you invite in emotions? What senses are engaged? Do you tease with intriguing information, attracting the learner into the experience? Hmmm…

2. Mystique: If you trigger mystique, you’ll encourage others to learn more about your message.

How do you spark curiosity? Do you share just enough information before a training session to make learners eager to fill in the gaps? Do you incorporate mythology, stories and intriguing elements into your 4MAT instructional design?

3. Alarm: If you trigger alarm, you compel others to behave urgently.

How you do create a sense of urgency? Do you define the consequences of not acting? Is the consequence significant enough to warrant immediate action? Do you use deadlines, perceived negative consequences and even danger to move learners into positive action?

4. Prestige: If you trigger prestige, you will elevate others.

What evidence of achievement and prestige are incorporated into the training experience? Do training participants receive proof of achievement—certificates, merit badges or cool gear that signifies their inclusion in an elite group of the “all knowing.”

5. Power: If you trigger power, others will defer to you as the expert.

As a trainer, how do you establish your expertise? Do you influence the environment in such a way that learners willingly follow your lead? How might you use this influence to guide learning in and outside of the formal learning environment?

6. Vice: If you trigger vice, your message will tempt others to stray from the path of goodness and light.

As a trainer, think about how you encourage others to move beyond their comfort zones. How do you tap into unspoken desires? Do you leverage the basic needs of humans to be included, to achieve, to be fascinating? Are learners inspired to break with tradition?

7. Trust: If you trigger trust, your message will comfort others and put them at ease.

As a trainer, how do you build trust? Do you focus on a core message that is repeated consistently throughout the experience (4MAT aficionados would refer to this as the “concept”)? Do you bring your most authentic self to the experience? Do you invite in meaningful dialogue?

Fascinate is a book about marketing. Hogshead goes on to share that a company might choose to focus on a dominant trigger or create a combination of triggers to achieve the desired impact with the consumer. What are your thoughts on applying these triggers to creating desired learning impact? Your comments are welcome.

Source:  Hogshead, Sally. Fascinate:  Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation. (New York:  Harper Collins, 2010)