Skillsoft Blog

Use Your Carpenter Skills to Build a Successful Learning Program

By Andrew Bucknall and Tara Tapley, SkillSoft Learning Consultants

As Learning Consultants, we are continually asked “how can I build a successful learning program?”  We feel the answer is pretty straight forward: align your program to the needs of your business – have a secure foundation. The foundation is the key to securing a successful program which makes sense for the business and the users.

Just think about it – it’s just like building a house! How long would a house stand without a foundation? What about a roof or walls? Would you ever want to build a house without a plan? For us, the key to a successful program is ensuring your foundation is solid. Once the foundation is in place, the floor, walls and roof all align. So let’s think about building a house:

Like most people, we got a chuckle out of the sitcom “Home Improvement” but unlike Tim “the tool man” Taylor you should always have access to a plan/blueprints before beginning your project. These blueprints allow you to visualize the overall project from start to finish. The first major task in building your house is creating the foundation. The foundation keeps your house aligned by setting the groundwork for the rest of the projects needed to complete the structure. It’s easy to put in any foundation, but if it’s not sturdy the floors won’t be level, the walls won’t be straight, the roof will leak and you will spend most of your time renovating.

Now it’s time to build the floor. The floor ties your foundation to the rest of the house. The layout of your floors is directly related to the layout of your foundation. Without your foundation, it’s somewhat hard to lay a level floor.  We then move on to the supporting structures of the walls and roof. The foundation allows for a sturdy floor, a sturdy floor allows for level walls and with level walls you can have a structurally sound roof. Now that you have built your house, it’s time to move in the residents.  As with any house, further down the road you may consider renovations to expand your house to accommodate any future needs.

Building a successful program is just like building a house. Our strategic implementation guide allows you to plan and visualize the key components of your program. As with a house, the foundation is the key. For your program to be most successful, the foundation should be based on your business context. This context, in turn, shapes the goals (floor) of your program. Once your goals are established you can then erect your walls and roof (supportive strategies). As with any project, in time, you must step back and measure and evaluate your progress. Business context continually changes so at times it may be necessary to revisit your context to ensure its still relevant (renovations).

As you can see, building a structurally solid house is just like building a structured, successful learning program.

 Activity List:

Building a House                                       Building a successful learning program

Blueprint                                                  Strategic implementation guide

Foundation                                               Understand your business context

Install the floor                                         Set your program goals

Build the walls/roof                                    Apply supportive strategies

Inspect your work                                     Measure and evaluate

Renovations                                             Re-visit the context, goals, and strategies


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