Quality Learning Toolkit for Associates

Quality Learning Toolkit

As LearnSphere celebrates its 25th Anniversary, we are proud to launch our Quality Learning Resources for Associates

This compilation of standards and tools gathered from our Associates and elsewhere will help us continue to deliver “best in class” learning experiences, helping businesses and organizations to prosper.

The creation of this collection of resources was prompted by the move to more online learning as a result of Covid-19, but the standards and templates collected here are best practices for any learning environment. 

In the spirit of lifelong learning, we welcome your comments on any of these resources.  They will be updated based on your feedback and requests, as well as on evolving best practices in adult learning. 

Standards and guidelines (Copyright © 2020 by LearnSphere Canada Inc. All rights reserved)

Purpose

At LearnSphere we want to ensure that our learning solutions are designed and delivered to provide maximum results in terms of effectiveness of the learning.

Learning can be evaluated at different levels (Kirkpatrick Model):

  1. Reaction – Did the learner like the learning experience? Did they feel it was valuable?
  2. Learning – Did the learner learn? Did they develop/improve skills, attitudes, and knowledge?
    Did they increase their confidence and commitment to applying those skills?
  3.  Behavioural – Has the learning been applied? Do they have tools and templates to support
    adopting or adapting learning to their own work?
  4. Results – Has the learning made a difference? Did it result in positive business outcomes?
    How did it effect the business and organizational results?

By following the standards and using the tools/templates found in this toolkit, we are confident our learning offerings will continue to produce valuable and positive results.

Section I. Learning Design Standards

A. The learning experience supports effective adult learning

Adults learn best when they want or need to learn something, and when the learning focuses on
relevant problems and practical applications. The nature of LearnSphere’s programs means that
these two conditions are generally met.

Other conditions that support adult learning are your responsibility:

  • Provide a non-threatening environment
  • Make sure learners feel recognized and valued for their personal experience
  • Provide opportunities for learners to participate actively in learning (both cognitively and by interacting physically with the learning material)
  • Plan sufficient time for the learners to assimilate the learning
  • Provide participants with opportunities to practice and apply what they have learned
  • Provide participants with feedback on their progress (if the length and format of your
    program allows)

Background information and resources:

B. Learning outcomes are clearly defined

Learning outcomes go beyond simply listing the topics to be covered. They focus on what
learners should know and be able to do by the end of the course. They emphasize how learners
will use the knowledge or skills in real life.

Developing learning outcomes provides benefits for you and for the learners:

  • For you: Helps you plan your learning activities to help you get your desired results
  • For the learner: Helps them to see the potential benefits of the course; increases their
    readiness to learn.

Simple and clear learning outcomes are the foundation of a well designed and delivered learning
event. We ask that you use Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs when writing your learning outcomes.
Following are some examples of well-written learning outcomes. We have bolded the Bloom’s
Taxonomy verb to help you understand how to use them when creating your own learning
outcomes:

Background information and resources:

C. The workshop has a learning plan

One of the best ways to guarantee you are designing and delivering quality learning is through
the creation of a written learning plan. As one of the first steps in your design process, writing a
learning plan can help you ensure you are meeting the other standards detailed in this toolkit.

Our learning plan template is formatted so that you can quickly see if you are accommodating
all learning styles, that you following the learning cycle for each objective, and how much time
you are spending on each to ensure learners are actively engaged and have time to assimilate
and apply the learning. Feel free to adapt the template to your preferences.

We strongly recommend you create a learning plan for all offering, and especially so when
delivering a content for the first time online. If you are offered coaching support from
LearnSphere to aid in the design and delivery of online learning, you will be required to create a
learning plan.

Background information and resources:

  • Quality Learning Planner – See Section IV: Resources
D. The learning experience accommodates different learning styles

People learn in different ways.

One way of describing learning styles is to think about the main senses that different types of
learners prefer (VARK model). Another way of looking at learning styles is to think about whether
someone’s preference tends more towards Thinking vs Feeling and Doing vs. Watching (Kolb’s
model).

The key message is that you will have many different types of learners in your program so you
must plan multiple ways of delivering your material, to enable everyone to learn. The following
section shows how you can do that.

Background information and resources:

E. Learners are actively engaged in acquiring new knowledge and skills

By designing and facilitating learning using experiential design you will be able to engage
learners, accommodate their learning styles, and enable them to transform their experiences into
knowledge.

Use one Learning Cycle (sometimes called the E.R.G.A) for each outcome you want to teach to. If
you have five outcomes to teach in your session, you will want to plan for five learning cycles.

  • Experience (E)
    A learning activity that enables learners to use what they know and learn more. Ex. show a
    video, get them to work on a puzzle, engage them in brainstorming to explore a topic.
    https://tutoringwithatwist.ca/vark-learning-styles/
    Version 2020-12-10 Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. P a g e | 6
  • Reflection (R)
    Ask questions of the learners to get them talking about what happened in the experience.
    Help them to reflect, but not analyze. Do not get into the why or the how yet.
  • Generalization (G)
    Now you can get into the analysis and focus on why or how that happened; then get them to
    expand on the topic.
  • Application (A)
    Finally, give learners opportunities to apply, or plan to apply, what they learned.

Background information and resources:

Section II. Online Learning Standards

F. The facilitator uses the required technology
  • Paid Zoom account
  • Computer with a built-in camera or added webcam
  • Headset or earbuds with a microphone
  • High speed internet or a hard-wired ethernet connection
  • Additional monitors (optional)
G. Learners participate frequently in relevant activities

In the online environment, to maintain engagement and enhance learning, participants should
be offered opportunities to be meaningfully involved at least six to nine times per hour.

Zoom and Google engagement tool examples with use cases:

  • Chat window – Conduct a paired activity by assigning learners to chat directly with each other
  • Participant icons – Ask learners to quickly indicate their experience with/knowledge of a topic
  • Polling – Gain feedback on if learners feel they can apply new knowledge/skill
  • Breakout rooms – Assign learners an exercise to complete as a small group
  • Google Jamboard – Learners read a text on their own and then post top three takeaways
  • Google Docs – Participants submit their thoughts about the session in a shared document

Background information and resources:

H. Slides are changed frequently

Frequent slide changes keep the learner visually engaged online, as they do not have as much to look at as they would in-person. Slides should be changed every three to five minutes. Slide changes do not always mean changing topics.

I. Breaks are appropriately timed

Breaks are important for online training, to enable participants to change focus and move around. Please let participants know up front when breaks will occur and how long they will be.

  • For a two-hour workshop plan at least one five-minute break.
  • For a three-hour workshop plan at least one ten-minute break.

Background information and resources:

Section III. Brand Standards

J. Learning Materials are professionally presented, and feature LearnSphere’s brand

We prefer that you use the LearnSphere standard templates. Recognizing that many of you have your own branded material and content, you are welcome to use your own formats, unless directed otherwise by contract. If using your own template, you must ensure the LearnSphere logo is featured throughout, and the slides outlined below are included.

Background information and resources:

  • PowerPoint Template - See Section IV: Resources
  • Learner Action Plan Template - See Section IV: Resources
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