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Putting the 'people first' principle

into practice

Using human-centred design, the starting

point for L&D must be to experience the

learners' world in their working

environment. Know what their day-to-day

experiences are like. Are there barriers to

learning? Only when you understand your

learners and their needs can you can work

on the content, design and delivery of the


Pushing pre-determined content is unlikely

to achieve results. Find out what the

learners know compared to what they need

to know, so the gaps can be filled with

learning that's relevant and will make a

difference. Speak to team leaders or topic

experts to learn more about bad practice

and good practice, so you can ensure

employees get the correct skills and

knowledge to convert poor scenarios to

positive ones.

We did this with great success when

designing customer service learning for

AXA Business Insurance's contact centre

staff. The firm's customers were interviewed

as part of this 'people first' approach so

that their needs could be understood, and

L&D sat in on 'live' customer calls.

When it comes to the design, having

ongoing learning that uses a blend of

approaches keeps it engaging and to hand

when needed.

Even the user interface (UI) of your digital

learning has a role to play. It must have

clarity and consistency. For example,

learners don't like icons without labels. And

if they don't know what the icon means,

they're unlikely to engage. Similarly, if

elements of the design keep changing

through the module, the learner will be

wasting time trying to understand and

navigate it. A simple, clear interface is

much more in tune with learners'


Finally, we come to the delivery of the

learning. One of the big learner changes is

the demand for flexibility. They want to be

able to access the learning at a place and a

time that works well for them.

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