Archive for category Learning Design

Personas as an integral part of how I work

I’m noticing personas popping up more frequently in my work.  Two years ago I wasn’t using personas in my work.  A year ago I would have made a very deliberate choice to use a persona to explore an aspect of a problem or opportunity.  Now there is a fluidity to when and how I use personas that has embedded itself in how I work and think.  In part this is a consequence of having  developed and delivered the ‘From Order Taker to Performance Partner’ workshop four times with Arun Pradhan earlier this year.  Development of personas was a step in the performance-based process at the heart of this workshop.  Perhaps this level of exposure and repetition has just ingrained the value of personas as part my process.  They’re an efficient and effective way to undertake people-centred exploration of issues and opportunities.

Example – Thinking about augmented workers

Last week I got ‘stuck’ writing a blog post about Industry 4.0 and tacit knowledge.  When this happens it sometimes helps me to hand-write, exploring what I know about a topic and what questions I have.  As you can see from my note-book page below I started to explore what people need to learn to become an augmented worker (people working closely with robots and Artificial Intelligence).  I very quickly drew up a small human shape and symbols to prompt me to brainstorm what a person would need to think, feel and do to be effective as an augmented worker.  While this is just a rough first draft, it illustrates how I used a persona to get a human-centred perspective on my question.


Example – Designing a New Operating Model

In July I ran a workshop with a software training team whose leader wanted to define a more sustainable operating model.  I wanted to introduce them to personas as a tool for designing learning and performance solutions.  I also saw a personas as a useful way of exploring the needs and motivations of different groups important to design of a new operating model.  It is easy to overlook the experience of the team itself as a stakeholder – so this is where we started.  I facilitated development of a persona for a representative member of their team.  I used an expanded version of the persona for this where we identified their motivation, pain points and needs in doing their job and providing a service.

Where and How Are You Using Personas?

A number of recent guests on my Learning Uncut podcast have spoken about how they use personas in their work.  Although the tool originated in design of products and services, it is being adopted by more Learning and Development professionals.  Personas are rapidly becoming a mainstream tool in learning and performance solution design.  I note that Connie Malamed wrote an article about using personas for Instructional Design way back in 2009.

How are you using personas?

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Onboarding Program Components – A Diagram

Yesterday I facilitated a design workshop for an induction program.  The group I worked with are learning coordinators in Supply Chain at a beverages manufacturer.  Each participant works at a different production or distribution site.  Every site currently has it’s own approach to induction of new operators.  Some of the coordinators recently started updating their induction program and materials, but were working on this independently for their individual sites.  An opportunity was identified to develop a common program, and I was asked to facilitate a workshop to kickstart the design process.

I asked the manager who engaged me what induction meant in the organisation, what was in scope of the Supply Chain induction program, and how it integrated with others aspects of the on-boarding process.  As this was unclear one of the workshop objectives was to clarify what elements the on-boarding program the coordinators were responsible to design and deliver.

I was hoping to find an article or resource on the internet that clearly defined on-boarding, induction and orientation, and the relationship between them.  I found a fairly common view about on-boarding, but substantial variation in what constituted induction and orientation.  Rather than spend a lot of time explaining the terminology in words I created the diagram below to present on-boarding as a process spanning many weeks or months consisting of a series of steps and components including induction and orientation activities.  Not all components in the diagram are included in on-boarding by all organisations.  In particular, the development of role specific foundation skills is often separate to on-boarding.


Onboarding – Potential Components

After presenting the diagram I walked through examples of on-boarding programs and activities from a range of organisations.  This illustrated what the potential components consisted of and how different organisations integrate them.

The group was then able to refer to the diagram to define which components were currently part of on-boarding in their organisation, what else should be in place, and which they were responsible to develop and/or deliver.  It also helped them to identify what components needed to be well integrated to create a coherent end-to-end on-boarding process for new starters.



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