Content Management 2.0

This blog is excerpted from the Performance Matters Podcast. In this episode hosts Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson discuss what went wrong with Content Management the first go around and how we can harness the needs of today to build correct, and usable, content management processes and systems—that work. 

Bob Mosher (BM): I am incredibly thrilled and excited to be joined by my dear friend and co-host, Dr. Con Gottfredson on a very timely topic.

This is something that goes back in our industry for what seems like forever. We’ve talked about content management as long as I’ve been involved in the business. But particularly, with Covid, the reality is not just the collecting of the content, but also the dissemination, the maintenance, who creates it, who owns it, and what’s your governance around it. All of these things have come to light in a really remarkable way as we try to support learners in a Moment of Need, like never before.

So Con, let’s pull back here a bit and level-set. This—in my opinion—is a word like “performance support”, and others, where the definition is all over the place. So, could you tell us—what is the discipline, in your opinion, that is learning content management?

Conrad Gottfredson (CG): Bob, you’ve said it right. It is a discipline first and foremost. And learning content management is that discipline, or that set of practices, that we follow to manage our content along its entire lifecycle to keep it current, certainly. But more than that, to keep it vibrant and meaningful. We also must manage it in such a way that it doesn’t control us, which is where we’ve  gotten these days as we’ve stepped into the workflow and pushed the horizons in terms of what it is that we need to do to meet the performance requirements of organizations at all The 5 Moments of Need. It has brought us squarely back to days gone by!

We made our first pass at “Learning Content Management 1.0” with reusable learning objects, where we made all the wrong decisions, all the wrong choices, and stepped back from it.

So, content management is everything that we do to manage content through its lifecycle. And a learning content management system (LCMS) is the technology that helps us do that. All of that is different than a learning management system (LMS), which is a system that manages the learning deliverables that we build with that content.

Knowledge management is just a bigger world. Content management is a subset of knowledge management. Learning content management is a subset of content management. We’re just narrowing down in terms of our focus.

BM: Brilliant. And we’ve talked before, Con, the danger of anything like this is methodology or this discipline, in this case, begets technology.

CG: Yeah!

BM: Just because you own or have purchased one of those acronyms doesn’t mean that you’re going to have the discipline that is content management. And one of my favorite expressions is, “If you don’t study history, you’re bound to repeat it.”

So, let’s take a step back Con. You mentioned a moment ago that things went awry a bit in the first go-around. Let’s  balance ourselves as we look forward by understanding where we may have made some mistakes in the first go-around. What do you think are some fundamental lessons learned out of those initial efforts?

CG: Well, one of them is that we didn’t step back and ask the right question up front, “Why are we doing this?” The goal back in Content Management 1.0 was reuse. But we were looking for reuse in all the wrong places. Now, we’re in a better place because we’re talking about supporting people in terms of performance.

And as we take this broader view of our role in insuring that people can perform effectively on the job— providing them with solutions that not only help in the initial learning of things but in that transition to where they need to transfer that information to the Moment of Apply, the Moments of Solve, and into the workflow. That broadens the world to where we can find reuse everywhere.

But it’s not just about reuse. It’s about keeping content current, making sure that the solutions that we have remain vibrant and meaningful. There’s just so much more to the management of content than just finding ways to reuse.

We’re working right now with a global organization on their content management strategy. And they have a lot of pain points in their world of developing content. And certainly, we want to address that, but the real justification for content management isn’t solving the problems within the learning group—it’s solving challenges for the organization.

It’s making sure that the organization has the content that they need, in the form that they need it to be in, to enable their workforce to use it in all the ways that they need it to. It’s when we step back and look at that role, then we can cost-justify that investment.

BM: You touched on this a little bit, but how does designing for The 5 Moments impact the need for content management? How does it broaden it, to your point?

CG: Historically, our view has been just on the Moments of Learn New and Learn More.

But it’s the Moment of Apply when people can perform effectively on the job, if that doesn’t happen, what good have you done? Why even manage anything if you get to the end  and people can’t perform effectively on the job?

BM: You know, it’s interesting too, Con, because I think back to the early days and meta-tagging, which is still an element of this, clearly, was more about role and the knowledge that the content represented and so on. The 5 Moments adds, I think, some important layers around the tagging of that content. For instance, the 5 Moments themselves. Content types and objects can be used for Solve, like an FAQ, very different than an eLearning that is used for a Moment of New.

CG: Oh, yeah!

BM: It’s really interesting to see how we can start adding a new dimension of learner need, learner context, to the way content is managed and tagged versus just my role in the company, my job in the company, the region I live in— these more standard metatags and so on. And of course, the content is about sales, or whatever. Those are all still fundamental, but I think The 5 Moments of Need adds a whole new dimension to that, as to how you look at content.

CG: It sure does. And the focus historically has been those values that you’re talking about—those metadata values that have to do with “Help me find it!”

And if that’s the only thing you’re going at, you’re going to miss it. Because there’s a whole measurement side around how effectively the content supports doing of the work. When you step into The 5 Moments, you step into measurable business impact and that requires unique kinds of metadata beyond that metadata that we use to simply find something.

BM: You know,  I love that, Con. Frankly, an “Aha!” I just had is that it’s one thing to find it. It’s a whole other thing to use it.

For Bob and Con’s full content management discussion, listen to the full episode.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Performance Matters Podcast to stay up to date on all the latest conversations and guests in The 5 Moments space.

From Order Taker to Strategic Partner

This blog is excerpted from the Performance Matters Podcast. In this episode Bob Mosher and Meghan Castillo, principal learning experience designer at HubSpot, discuss how she is shifting her team to be more focused on developing solutions and training by those experiencing and performing the roles, rather than taking orders from a higher level, who may not know the true challenges. 

Bob Mosher (BM): I am extremely honored to be joined by a dear colleague and friend, Meghan Castillo of HubSpot. I am so impressed with Meghan’s work, her dedication to the craft, and the way she has taken on 5 Moments and workflow learning in such a remarkable way. Meghan, please give us a little bit on your background in L&D, your team, and a little bit about how you got started with The 5 Moments of Need.

Meghan Castillo (MC): I’m thrilled to be here with you today. Like you, I started off as a teacher, upon graduating from Michigan State University, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do and thankfully, I had a few friends that worked in our Migrant Student Services Program, which had a facilitation role open at the time.

I taught the high school equivalency program for the subjects of math, reading, and writing both in English and Spanish to a diverse set of adult learners and am really thankful to have started off the foundation of my career in that role.

From there, I packed up all my belongings into my Volkswagen Jetta, drove down to Houston, Texas, and got into global international consulting from a Learning and Development perspective. I built out a lot of training programs, design, development, and got into the facilitation as well so embedding accelerative learning and experiential learning into a lot of those programs. It also helped to open my eyes to many different industries, different cultures, and different business drivers across the board.

From there, I went to PepsiCo for about a year and a half where I got much more into the e-learning design and development side of things.

All of these experiences have led me to where I am today, the Principle Learning Experience Designer at HubSpot. Here, I primarily focus on building out remote inclusive experiences across the board. The 5 Moments of Need has truly changed the way I look at things, the way I approach the business, and the way I’m able to do my job in a much more efficient and effective manner.

BM: Wow! You’ve had a remarkable career. Can you talk a bit about the mind shift you mention? Everyone believes in performance, everyone got into this to do that. That’s the ultimate goal. It always has been, but boy, I’ll tell you to truly design from that perspective—it’s really different. Can you walk us through this journey of performance versus knowledge?

MC: Absolutely, Bob and it has been a huge mindset shift for me that I’ve been going through over the past few months and truly—truth be told—over the past few years. So, the lightbulb moment for me was while attending one of your conference sessions; I knew that we were taking orders, designing as quickly as we could, and really only responding to those requests and not truly partnering with the business to get to the bottom of those business objectives and really understanding the learner’s perspective.

So, from the traditional way of doing things, I knew that it just wasn’t hitting the mark. I started to chase performance support and really try to understand conceptually what The 5 Moments of Need looked like in practice and what “great” looked like from that moment. And it’s really been a journey ever since.

BM: I love your “What great looks like.” I really love that quote and the challenge you went through in getting what I think are also fairly straight-forward concepts. But making that cognitive shift to doing it? The “Aha’s” that come along with that? You mentioned having some struggles or some challenges as you came in and out of that. What were some of the more fundamental or pivotal “Aha’s” that you got as you started to make that journey.

MC: It’s a typical trap that we all fall into—building for the content and the knowledge and the understanding that we want to infuse into our learners. But it’s really the shift around aligning and focusing on that performance. There are so many mindset shifts around that.

But one really major one that was so helpful not only for myself, but for our stakeholders, was that of Train Transfer and Sustain—the methodology and the visual around this to really truly make it clear that all of our content that was existing, everything that we were focusing on really fell within this Train area, and was only “covering” the knowledge, the information, focusing on the classroom, focusing on those “one hit wonder” or those experiences that had a beginning and an end and didn’t truly move into this space of where learners were having to apply this knowledge, which inevitably, as we know from going through the content, learners were having to unlearn and then relearn once they left our programs—to really put that into the perspective of the actions that they were going to actually take in role.

So it really helped for me to understand that the majority of what we had currently and still have to this day—it’s definitely a journey—was so much around higher-level, bigger ideas rather than the actual actions they would be taking day in and day out on their role. So a huge shift there to more focus on the Transfer and Sustain within their role.

BM: And it’s interesting. That’s what we have to do. Right? When you have the bell curve in the room—we were taught in education—you have to teach to the middle, kind of. I’ve always had an issue with—and struggled terribly--with words like “individualized instruction,” “personalized instruction,” “tailored”—because my whole thing is, those are great things to throw out, but when 26 people, 15 or whatever, walk in my room, how do you do that? You have to kind of stay right at that level of abstraction just so everyone can participate and engage and you can reach as many as you possibly can. The individualization comes when they leave! Like you did when you left the class and tried to individualize it for yourself right away so you could also do it for your colleagues. That’s where individual instruction occurs. And for so long, I know my work didn’t go into that. I didn’t intentionally participate in supporting or helping that. Now with the EPSS, or digital coach, we can truly be a part of that without being there or feeling we must own that part of the journey as well.

MC: Exactly. And we can really allow learners to take that responsibility within their roles and their workflow. In our EPSS instance that we’ve built out at HubSpot, it covers the sales process, which is a huge initiative, and there are so many pieces to that. So, for the sake of this example, let’s say there are seven pieces. Some roles that go through our sales onboarding process, which is  a significant amount of time investment in terms of those different roles—they may only be covering that first piece of that sales process.

They’re spending so many weeks out of the workflow and it’s really around implementing that performance support, designing and enabling it for them to be able to use some of these aspects in role instead of expecting them, for example, to go back and review a long eLearning or a lengthy slide deck when they are actually needing to apply that.

We’ve been embarking on, of course, the mission of taking a lot of that content that’s already been developed and putting that into those bite-sized performance support pieces in a way within our EPSS that’s easy for them to navigate to within two clicks, ten seconds, to ensure that they’re able to get access to that at their moment of need. But it’s been a change as you alluded to earlier within our L&D team to wrap our minds around this change of mindset, this change of how we’re designing, how we’re re-utilizing and repurposing our content.

It's been a journey! But it’s been helpful to take it in baby steps and not come into it and say, “We’re going to wipe out absolutely all of our training we’ve done.” That’s not the case. We’re just going to repurpose a lot of that and pull from it and redesign so it’s more action oriented.

BM: I’m so impressed with your diligence, your passion, and your receptivity to being a true learner yourself. I think those that adopt that mindset are then able to bestow an effective level of guidance to others. You‘ve just been so remarkable. Thank you Meghan.

For more on Meghan’s work at HubSpot, listen to the full episode.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Performance Matters Podcast to stay up-to-date on all the latest conversations and guests in The 5 Moments space.

Shifts & Pivots: What the Pandemic has Taught Us

This blog is excerpted from the Performance Matters Podcast. In the episode, Trends: Shifts & Pivots in L&D, Bob Mosher discusses specific trends we’ve been hearing, seeing, and experiencing in our current and ever-evolving professional landscape. 

This post is a collection of a lot of information we have gathered over the last nine months. Since the pandemic hit, we have been honored to be a part of hundreds of conversations with learning and development professionals from around the globe discussing how this shift has affected the L&D industry as a whole.

Here, I will share two of the five ideas that we have come across; the full five ideas (listed below) can be heard in their entirety in the podcast episode.

1.   What we’ve learned overall as we’ve looked across the landscape of what is L&D and what  we have heard from several leaders across the globe.

2.     The learner and how they’ve pivoted.

3.    What have we learned about how to develop, design, and deliver the information  that has been profound and impactful throughout the pandemic.

4.    Shifts in roles and responsibilities in the learning field. There have been a couple of things that have emerged, some which have been around for a while but also new ones that have emerged out of this crazy time.

5.    Virtual learning and how has it changed the way we look at instruction. Clearly, it was the tip of the sword when we entered this back in March.  Since then, many organizations have stood up some remarkable virtual solutions.

Let’s start in general terms. I don’t know how old many of you are, or how long you’ve been in the industry, but I remember the days of 2008 when another horrific financial crisis hit our world. Of course, this is a humanitarian crisis with the effect of the pandemic.

But when the financial crisis hit back in 2008, to be honest, our phones stopped ringing in L&D. We took this on the chin when finances were thin. Unfortunately, and we’ve talked about this before, we were not positioned as a need—as opposed to want, or nice to have—resource. And many of us, frankly, were on the wrong side of the ledger paper. We got cut, so to speak.

The—if I can use this word—“exciting” side of what we’ve seen with the pandemic is that it has shown how many organizations see us very differently. I’ve talked to a number of learning leaders. I’ll give one example in particular, of a leader with well over ten years in the organization as a senior leader.  He had never spoken, personally, with the C-suite person in his company—ever.

But his phone actually rang within days after the pandemic hit. It is very telling that when a C-suite member thought to circle the wagons, he wanted to get things in order and was looking out into “how to survive in this,” L&D was top of mind.

Friends, that’s a remarkable opportunity. Here are the two words that came up almost unanimously when talking to others in the industry, “opportunity” and “acceleration.”

Opportunity from the standpoint of “Here we are now. We have a seat at the table. We are one of the first resources they are going to.” And they are not talking about courses. There is a significant shift in the “ask” from “courses” to “performance.”

This is a very different asks than we’ve been asked before and it opens a whole other set of opportunities. For one, a different conversation, and secondly, a different deliverable, which we’ll talk about in a bit.

Acceleration. As a dear friend of mine said recently, he used to deal with a bureaucratic vacuum when it came to technology. What he meant by that is that there was void which was made up of walls and barriers within organizations—frankly, IT being one of them—that we had to wait on, walk through, get the buy-in from—to get technologies into our ecosystem.

Well, look what happened with virtual technology. Many of us were asked to stand that up in weeks, if not days. No bureaucracy. Get it through procurement, get it through whatever part of IT we must so that this thing can work!

This is an amazing time for technology and learning. And so is your opportunity to get an EPSS in there, an LXP in there, and a content management system in there is greater than ever before. People are very receptive.

But—you must pivot on serving a need. You must pivot on associating that buy and that spend, not with just having one of those platforms but —back to number one, opportunity—what performance issues are you going to solve?

On the darker side, another general thing we found is that our current landscape has been exposing some cracks in the dam of our offerings. Training is not enough. A lot of workers are looking outside of our offerings for ways to serve and help themselves. We’ll talk about the learners in a minute. They are being remarkably innovative.

Now, friends, I’m not diminishing the importance of training. But what I am saying is—and I love this word—learners’ needs are very “raw” right now. They are feeling very desperate right now and that breeds receptivity, but it also breeds a level of scrutiny like we may have never seen before. The door is open—opportunity—but at the same time, we are exposed on an enterprise level around the effectiveness of how we engage, and what we build, like never before.

This is a remarkable time to shine and come out of this [situation] in a completely different place than before but at the same time, we have to be careful about just offering the same old thing to what is a very different world.

And lastly, clearly, there has been financial and budget implications but the interesting thing again—unlike 2008—is it’s not so much just an across-the-board cut, or furlough as we’re calling it today. It’s very discretionary and organizations are being careful. So, the degree to which L&D can be positioned as being vital to the organization and proactively help organizations meet the challenges of the day, be productive, support their workforce remotely and other things, the more valuable we’ll be seen.

Now let’s get a little deeper into some specifics. Learners. Let’s start with the most important people in the world, of course, right? Those who we serve. How have learners been pivoting?

I want to touch on four different things that have been talked about quite a bit, and I just love this first one. When the pandemic first hit back in March, April, May, we were clearly back on our heels. We were very much in survival mode. But what we’ve seen is a transformation—so many learners have gone from this survival mode of “What am I going to do?” to one of, “Darn it! I’m going to pick myself up by the bootstraps. I’m going to get my job done. I’m going to remain vibrant. I’m going to be a critical part of the organization. I’m going to be heard and prove my worth even though I’m at home.”

They have stepped up in some remarkable ways. Which has led to my second point, which is that many have become more independent in their ability to support themselves. And guess what! They’re also looking in new places for resources. We have a much more aggressive and impatient learner than ever before.

Back in the days when eLearning first hit, we called it “just in time.” We called it “on demand.” I think many would argue it may not have been. It might have been easily available. But I don’t know if learners would call it “on demand.”

Well, friends, we live in an on-demand world like never in my lifetime. And so, when you get up every morning and you have demands that hit you right in the face, you become aggressive and you become independent about finding those solutions.

So, the opportunity is, are the services and deliverables we offer what they are finding? Have you done some analysis on the resources that they are using? And not just of the options we offer, but have you done some open analysis of what resources in general help get them through the day?  We’d be surprised when we find out the amazing resources learners have both made themselves, that need brokering and aggregation, and the information they are finding outside of the normal means. As we emerge from this, we can be in the forefront in aggregating, curating that information in powerful ways like it’s never been done before.

Many don’t like our initial approaches to virtual instruction. Now, I’m going to get a mixed bag of reviews on this and I get it. A lot of them are remarkably thankful that we stood up our virtual offerings so quickly, but candidly, the honeymoon’s over. The wave has crashed on the beach, and there is some disillusionment and fatigue, with virtual instructor-led. In many ways our learners are looking for us to innovate and re-invent virtual instruction. And guess what? That work will  also have a profound impact on the classrooms we return to.

And finally, I don’t know about you, friends, but we’re hearing that more and more are just emotionally shot. This is difficult on every one of us. I don’t know if in my thirty-eight years of professional life that I’ve ever heard of lines of business asking for empathy content…Empathy content! Emotional intelligence content. Sure, there’s soft skills, and leadership, listening skills, how to get along and how to handle a difficult situation. Those content areas have been around forever. But the words being used today are emotional words. We must be cognizant to the pressure, the emotion, the stress, both at work and at home, that our learners are under. If anyone can do it in our enterprises, we are the most empathetic group I know in recognizing that and helping organizations work through it.

Download the full episode to hear the list of shifts and pivots in its entirety.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Performance Matters Podcast to stay up to date on all the latest conversations and guests in The 5 Moments space.

Experience Matters: A Call Center Conversion

This blog is excerpted from the Performance Matters Podcast. In the episode, Experience Matters | A Call Center Conversion, Bob Mosher and Chris King, Chief Learning Provocateur at CEEK LLC, discuss his latest 5 Moments project tied to the pandemic and spoiler alert—built in just over one week.

This blog is excerpted from the Performance Matters Podcast. In the episode, Experience Matters | A Call Center Conversion, Bob Mosher and Chris King, Chief Learning Provocateur at CEEK LLC, discuss his latest 5 Moments project tied to the pandemic and spoiler alert—built in just over one week.

Bob Mosher (BM): We are very excited about this particular episode. We know L&D is currently challenged like never before. As my dad always said, “There’s good in everything”, and we’ve seen some remarkable opportunities in acceleration when we talk to L&D leaders around what’s going on today. Which brings me to Chris King, joining us today.

Chris, let’s get right into this, give us some background and how The 5 Moments of Need and workflow learning have worked themselves into your journey.

Chris King (CK): I’ve been in the business now for twenty-plus years, but like many people in the training business, I was an accidental trainer. I was not working anywhere near training, and one day my college roommate called me up and said, “You know, I find myself the head of a training department and we’re hiring; I miss hanging out with you and I’ll pay you $10,000 more than whatever you’re making right now if you’ll come and work for me.”

And so, as a twenty-something, it’s like, “Uh, Yeah! When can I start?” He said, “I think you’ll be good at this.” And he was right, it was a good fit for me.

Since, I’ve done a little bit of everything. I taught myself instructional design. I’ve been an eLearning developer. I’ve been an LMS administrator. I was doing virtual delivery when I worked at Geico back in the early 2000s so was an “early adopter of virtual”. I then became a consultant proper in 2009.

And that’s when I first heard about The 5 Moments of Need. It was kind of back before you were even calling it that. A colleague and good friend of mine went to a conference and saw you and Con speak and she came back and said, “You should really look into this because it’s interesting.”

And she was absolutely right.

It kind of rocked my world as it does with many people when they first discover The 5 Moments of Need. I think that it has become kind of a guiding light for me.

You know, I knew I was on to something when I took an instructional designer to an RWA, Rapid Workflow Analysis, that I was conducting to start a course, and she was cold on it. She had never heard of The 5 Moments of Need or Rapid Workflow Analysis or anything like that. And I did the whole deal. When we walked out of that workshop, my instructional designer said, “I will never design a course another way again!”

That was so transformative for me. And that’s when I knew, we were really onto something here with workflow learning. And so, since then, I’ve been trying to find places to do it whenever I can. One of my challenges is that I’m not inside a company. I don’t have a team to work with to build it from the inside out. I’m a consultant that comes in, so I’m constantly trying to convince people, trying to talk people into this, trying to explain to them the benefits.

BM: My gosh, between kindred spirits, it just blows me away how we have to keep selling it. But darn it! In our industry, it’s been like turning an ocean liner around.

Walk us into what we’re going to talk about today. Give us bit about the comeuppance of this project and how it is different from other training projects you’ve done in the past.

CK: The pandemic is a chance to change the way we do business. I just want to say that out loud. It’s our chance to experiment with new things and I’ve been encouraging everyone that I talk to, “to change the way you’re doing business.”

For this particular project, the story begins back in April—right at the start of the lockdown.

A little background. We’re a certified implementation partner with Panviva and they brought us this opportunity to work with a company called Maximus. Maximus is a global outsourcing company that focuses on government-sponsored programs and they were working with a state department of health to stand up a contact tracing call center.

So really topical, very important work. The call center would be responsible for notifying citizens when they tested positive for COVID-19 and then collecting information about where they were and who they interacted with during their infectious period. They then would also conduct outreach to anyone who was designated as a close contact to notify them of potential exposure, ask them to quarantine themselves, and answer questions about where they could get tested or how they could get connected with state resources for help. So really a meaty, great outcome, great mission-driven project to work on.

What we were up against was these kinds of calls are long and heavy on both education and data collection. The script we received was 20 pages long and we’re not talking about a lot of white space in there either. We’re talking about 20-25 minutes per call on just the short ones with a lot of specialized terminology that needed to be translated from medical to plain language. Maximus’ hiring program focused on furloughed medical personnel to help with the communication challenges. So, we got a big complex script, we had a long workflow, but it was really the scale that was a little daunting as Maximus was hiring 500 agents to staff the center.

This was 500 people that would need to, from a cold start, be able to deliver a standard 20-page script and collect important—and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say—life-saving data.

So we have a complex workflow, long stretches of scripting, huge number of call center agents. But, Bob, let me tell you how it got “interesting.” The CRM tool that the health department was using was still being built.

BM: Wow!

CK: They had a workflow and they had questions and answers, but everything was in a state of flux. You know, the menus were changing all the time, the icons they were using, so we’re shooting at a moving target for our training.

But I don’t think I mentioned—we were brought in eight days before go-live.

BM: Oh, jeez!

CK: So, for the Maximus training team this whole thing was like planning a wedding with 500-person guestlist—in just three weeks.

BM: Yeah, wow! Perfect analogy!

CK: Yeah! So, you can imagine how everyone was feeling when you kick off a project like that with those kinds of time constraints. The list of unknowns was just amazingly long. And this thing had to launch on time.

What we wound up doing was create a workable performance support tool in Panviva over a weekend. We didn’t even have a chance to actually do a Rapid Workflow Analysis with the team. I mean, we had to take the script and the SOP—we had access to the test environment for the CRM—and we had several meetings with the state department of health SMEs. And that’s really what we had to work with.

After we got through that weekend we spent the rest of the week adding processes for software tools. We added resources for how to log into the eight different systems the agents needed to access. And we spent the time updating information as things changed. And then that call center went live, on time, at the beginning of May.

BM: Wow! So what parts of the EnABLE methodology worked in this really unique case for you?

CK: As I mentioned, there was no time to do the normal Rapid Workflow Analysis. And I have to admit we spent a lot of time fixing things that we would have worked out in that workflow analysis if we’d had the time to do it.

So at least we had a workflow. We were able to pull the workflow out of the SOP. And, Bob, I know you’ve talked in the past about how in your early days as an instructional designer, you didn’t really pay attention to workflow because it wasn’t what you would consider learning or what you were designing.

We were forced from the beginning to focus on that workflow. Because that was central to what we were doing.

The workflow focus of the EnABLE methodology really helped us out there. I think we did chunking right. We never had the chance to create a proper LEAP plan. But I did use the LEAP template to track the documents we were creating to make sure that we didn’t leave anything out, it helped us stay organized.

You know, I think another thing that was super important to us was writing style. Beth and Carol in The 5 Moments of Need Designer Course spent a lot of time talking about how to write for performance and—I have to emphasize this—it makes all of the difference, especially in this kind of call center, live performance kind of environment. I mean, we spent most of the month of August rewriting instructions and reducing the length of the documents to make them more focused, short and to the point, and easy to scan.

BM: Just incredible. So, hey, friend. Huge adoption here. Right?

CK: Yeah, eight days to “train” 500 agents on a 20-page script that supported a CRM that was still in the beta stage right in the middle of a pandemic? This is not something that ADDIE could even envision, much less support. Right? So typical systems training? “No way! We don’t have time for that!”

There was no way training in any conventional way could get this team on their feet in the time we had.

So really what we did was, we said, “We’re going to put all of our effort into building this EPSS. And then the training for your agents needs to focus on having them trust the EPSS. Trust the performance support tool that they are going to have. I think that’s one of the things the Maximus supervisor team did right. Day in and day out, they told their teams, “You have to follow what it says in the tool. You have to follow the script. You have to follow the questions that are being set up for you. Because the CRM is changing all the time. The questions are changing. The script is changing. Everything is changing.”

You want to talk about a “super-moment” of change? I mean, we were living that moment of change for 5 weeks. Every day.

We were publishing stuff in the middle of the day to the tool. So, there was no time for conventional training on this. This was, “I’m going to train you how to use the EPSS and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

That’s all we had time for was learning in the workflow.

BM: Wow. My friend, brilliant as always. I can’t think of a better ambassador. And we can’t thank you enough for your friendship, your partnership in this journey, your great work, and the voice that you have become. It’s just been wonderful.

Listen to the full episode to hear Chris’ advice and takeaways from the project.

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