Here at Brandon Hall Group we deliver research-based solutions that empower excellence in organizations. Right now we’re judging the 2013 Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards for Learning, where we have received hundreds of entries involving many excellent learning programs. The winners will be announced live in a special webinar Thursday, Sept. 26.

Although many of the entries are extraordinary and innovative, some of the entries are just good solid training programs. Instead of coming up with the next latest, greatest thing in training, sometimes excellence is achieved by just doing what works.

When you’re considering a training program for your organization, you don’t need to use every tool in an instructional designer’s toolkit to achieve measurable learning results. Many of the key takeaways for building a successful learning program are universal. Here are five pointers from one bleary-eyed Excellence Awards judge:

  1. Have a reason. Don’t decide that just because you have a training department you automatically have to create the biggest and best learning program. Look at the needs of your learners and those of the larger organization and figure ways to meet those needs.
  2. Use the best delivery method for your information and audience. Mobile, games, and simulations are great, but success is really measured by whether or not the correct information is delivered in a way that the audience can understand and learn the information. That may include mobile or social elements, but it might also be a simple PowerPoint presentation.
  3. Deliver the correct information. There’s no point in delivering a program if you’re teaching the wrong things. Garbage in, garbage out, doesn’t just apply to computer data. Double-check your facts and focus on context.
  4. Decide how to judge success, and build measurement into your program. Measurement is often the hardest part of a program, but if you don’t have tools for evaluation built into your learning, you can’t judge its effectiveness. Nor can a program be judged to be effective if participants all said they “liked” it; go back to your goals and figure out how to quantify the results based on your ideas of success.
  5. Engage the audience. No program, even one that’s well designed with great information, is useful unless the audience actually participates. Roll out the program to your audience and encourage them to become proponents of your learning.

Any learning program can be successful and empower an organization; programs don’t always have to be complex to be effective. Put some thought into your learning design and you’ll be able to achieve success for your organization.

Brandon Hall Group is looking forward to announcing our 2013 award winners. In the meantime, please join us for our complimentary Award Winning Forums series where you will learn program best practices from some of our 2012 award winners. To register for one of our forums, please click here.

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