So we finally come to the solution- my offering to solve the problem for the customers identified. I apologise in advance, trust me this is the summary!
So what exactly does an on-line platform for the delivery, implementation and monitoring of training and personal development mean? And how do I plan to help increase the chances of individuals achieving their goals?
I have broken down the stages that all training goes through; this will form the repeatable platform that content can be added to. At this stage it doesn’t necessarily matter who is providing the content. While is good for explanation, invariably many of the concepts flow from one section to the other.
I have broken down the stages as follows:
Regardless of what the user is looking to achieve they must first understand the theory behind what they are looking to achieve. The desire to change their life must be congruent with their values and principles, this will ensure everything moving forward is built on strong foundations. This is an important step that is often skipped. The user will not be able to move onto the next session until they have completed the prior section.
The content must be delivered as easily to a laptop as to a mobile device in whichever medium the user prefers- written word, video or podcast.
If we look at providing the content to users we do not mind what your goal is and we will not preach to users, instead we will provide them with a structured approach to ensure that their goals are set on the right foundations and that they follow through on them.
However, if we look to focus on coaches and trainers then the content is not our main focus. We will be providing them a platform to deliver their content in a more efficienct and effective manner.
APPLICATION OF LEARNING
There has been and continues to be a lot of great developments made in the ‘e-learning’ space and I need to spend a lot more time researching this area.
I would like to explore how we can effectively facilitate the following methods of learning:
- Solo learning
- Learning from an expert
- Learn from your peers
Rather than bombarding the user with information it is my intention to provide small doses of relevant information followed by action. Until that has been completed they do not move on to the next stage.
For example, rather than just read about the importance of writing down their goals the user must follow the actions/questions to build up their goals. This document will be stored in a central repository that can be accessed through an online portal or their mobile device making it easily to reference.
PLAN OF ACTION/IMPLEMENTATION STAGE
The user will develop their own content and programme to follow. The site will provide a repository of content and individually tailored action plans that can be accessed either on-line or through a mobile device as well as pushing actions and notifications to the user.
During the implementation stage the content can be pushed to mobile devices as well as requesting input from users at pre-determined times of the day.
For example anyone who has read a book or been on a goal setting training session will know that it is very important to refer to your goals daily. Why then can’t I have my goals pushed to me on my phone first thing in the morning when I wake up?
The idea initial came to me as I was playing with my Fitbit and exploring the world of self quantification. I wanted to explore how we can apply similar principles that are being applied predominantly to the health and fitness industry to the more ethereal subject of personal growth.
How do we measure progress as people look to change their lives? In my experience people give up too early for a number of reasons- they are not seeing the changes quickly enough they lack the motivation they are not held accountable for their actions following the initial learning process and often life simply gets in the way.
I set out to explore how we can use the technology available to us to try and remove as many of these obstacles to growth as possible.
I started to get quite excited about the self quantification angle, I loved the idea of being able to view my progress on-line and pull together info from lots of different people and aggregate, correlate and analyse their actions with the aim of improving understanding for all. This is a model that is at the core of Managed Security Service Providers and there is a couple of Positive Psychologists at Harvard University using a similar approach in conjunction with an iPhone app to assess the science of happiness. However, as I started speaking to people, even those who are really into their personal development they weren’t getting excited about it, no matter how enthusiastic I was.
This was definitely one of these situations where I was appealing to my geeky tendencies and forming a solution for myself. I am not going to lie, I was quite disheartened by the rejection of the idea by nearly everyone I spoke to. It forced me to think of it from a different angle. I was contemplating this when I read the follow article in TechCrunch that got me thinking about how we can implement gamification principles to help in the tracking and monitoring. The problem necessarily with the theory- most people I spoke to got the idea and saw the value of it but weren’t enamoured with how I was presenting it to them. Once I started to position it as a ‘game’ then it really started to open up.
In reality many of the players in the training field are operating in the dark a little. No-one has any data and as such find it hard to identify where and why people are failing. As a deliverer of training wouldn’t it be useful to know that 80% of users activity drops off after day 6. From this point you can start to take action- maybe the structure/delivery of the content is not in the correct order or maybe you simply need to throw in a wee webinar to re-engage and motivate users?
Not to mention the potential benefits to employers in being able to better track the learning actions of their employees and tie this into wider development objectives.
This also opens up the potential of users sharing their progress ‘socially’. In my experience people are not necessarily interested in sharing their goals but they do appreciate public recognition for consistent action and mastery of the self and are likely to want to share this progress with like-minded people on social media.
There is also scope for including some sentiment analysis to the content that the users generate. For example, if the user is writing in a weekly journal or reflecting on their progress the program can be searching for specific language and highlighting groupings of negative words. However, this is a little down the way.
As is always the case with on-line platforms the User Experience is key, we must ensure that the experience closely mirrors the in person interaction and make the whole process as easy as possible for the user. Throughout the whole process it is important that the conversation is bi-directional. If a user is to miss a couple of days training it should be easy enough for us to get in touch and ask if they would like to put the training on hold or re-start at a specific point.?
All of this requires the ability to track specific actions. We need to be tracking the activity of the user- are they logging into their account? What device are they using to log in? Are they completing the exercises and following through on the activities?
Once again I would like to re-iterate at this point that these are simply hypothesis that need boiled down and tested.