It takes a village. And good content. And a good instructor.
Learning interactions are one of the most overlooked design elements in learning, often because managers and instructors have a limited view of who and what is doing the interacting.
Some people think of the personal interactions a learner may have on the job, in the classroom, in the digital space, with customers, with prospects, or with the instructors. And they’re partly right.
Others may think of the interactions with the learning content itself, or with the digital classroom. And those folks are partly right.
But what we really need to do is to design for a learner’s interactions with all of these items simultaneously, and to get those interactions to work in the learner’s favor.
The crux of the learning experience, in my opinion, relies on the curation of interactions between the content, the instructor (or manager), and with others. This is called the Community of Inquiry model, one of the most obvious models for learning and yet one of the most challenging to design, mostly because some of the design choices have to give way to the curation of the learning material or the management of a group of learners.
Regardless, when all three areas of overlap are designed and curated well, engagement increases and learning deepens. Focus on any two areas at the expense of a third and some major learning opportunities get missed.
Remove the well-designed content interaction and you create an underwhelming and punitive experience.
Remove the experienced instructor interaction and you miss learning about the failures and successes of application.
Remove the integration of others into the learning mix and you miss the opportunity to be challenged by the diversity of others’ thoughts.
When you design anything related to learning, consider how to do so in a way that you create and can support a community of inquiry.