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min read

Want to spice up your learning solutions? Try our secret sauce!

Published on
December 19, 2023
Sauce dispenser with Solvd Together branding.
Solvd Together
Staff writers

“How can we make really impactful solutions?”

This question was recently posed to the Solvd team by a United Nations agency. Our answer was so simple, they didn’t believe us at first.

“Look to what works outside the business world — and don’t copy what other people do in L&D or education.”

Sauce dispenser with Solvd Together branding.
Surprisingly simple. Super scrumptious.

At Solvd, we actively challenge what happens in the L&D industry and conventional education. Our healthy scepticism of the status quo means our solutions are usually based on what works in the consumer world. After all, consumers are honest; if something works, they’ll keep accessing it. And it doesn’t — they won’t . That can be quite a gruelling bar to work to — but it’s a great way of assessing value and effectiveness.

When we get to the Design phase in 5Di — having done plenty of audience research of course (through our Define and Discover phases) — we start with the user outcome in mind and work backwards. We ask: “What do we want that person to do?” And we know the solution to this will likely fall into one of eight categories:

  • Experiences that shift mindsets
  • Communications/marketing
  • Performance support
  • Technology
  • Environment (the context in which people operate)
  • Process and ways of working changes
  • Removing stuff
  • Measuring stuff

a flock of sheep stare at the camera in a field
Cloning other solutions leads to baaaaad learning experiences (sorry)

Whatever category the solution falls into, it can then be designed by answering the following questions:

  1. What needs to happen for someone to start doing this, or stop doing that?
  2. What does an audience need to see, hear and feel, to start doing this, or stop doing that?
  3. If an expert could magically appear in front of the audience at that moment, and give them all the essential information, what would they say
  4. What technology will enable this to happen?
  5. What needs to change in the audience’s system to change behaviours without them noticing?
  6. What ways of working will create the desired change to behaviours?
  7. What hurdles/obstacles can we remove to make this happen?
  8. What can we measure to show a) whether it worked and b) the impact it has made?

That’s a lot of questions — we know. But they’re worth it. It’s a far cry from the “lift and shift” approach — of taking what works for someone else and simply implementing it in the vague hope that it’ll work for you too. Of course, we’re not saying don’t be inspired by the work of others — in fact we’d encourage anyone to constantly look around for creative inspiration (particularly as technology continues to push the boundaries of the possible). But learning solution design should be bespoke, tailored to solve a specific problem or issue faced by a specific group of people. Off-the-shelf duplication isn’t likely to give you that level of human-centred design.

So — what’s the secret sauce?

Your people will give you the solution.

Identifying a clear outcome for them (in Define) and investigating your users’ context, mindset, and behaviours (in Discover) are all you need to work backwards from the end user result. This lets you free your mind from the idea that traditional training and learning content are the solution to every problem — and create awesome, unique solutions that truly make an impact on the people they’re built for..

Access the 5Di toolkit for the perfect recipe for finding a solution — or, if you need some advice, drop us a line. Let’s solve some problems together.