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LEARNING PROJECT

DEVELOPMENT, DESIGN

AND DELIVERY

Everyone in the adult Learning, Development and Growth (LDG) profession approaches their work differently, as well as the types of Learning Projects they are tasked to create. Some center around Technical and Task-Oriented Skillsets (Low Touch), and others focus on Adaptive and "Soft Skills" Mindsets (High Touch). Both are necessary for creating a suite of robust employee educational knowledge tools, yet often involve entirely different Development, Design, and Delivery processes.

 

Technical and Task-Oriented Skillsets education generally follows a linear path of A to B to C orderly instruction which is often hard-data dependent, and uses a logic-driven framework to construct a Learning Project from inception through evaluation. Adaptive and "Soft Skills" education is often non-linear, and focuses on behavioral habit change, knowledge synthesis, interactivity, "coloring outside the lines" and direct human feedback to gauge lasting "real life" effectiveness.

 

While I can construct a Technical and Task-Oriented Skillsets (Low Touch) course, my own specialty is in crafting Adaptive and "Soft Skills" (High Touch) Learning Project Experiences (LXD). I am an artist and educator, not a technician. Writing and storytelling is my art. Technology helps me to conceptualize, research, visually express and share my teaching skills, gifts, and talents with a Systems-Thinking approach. With all humility, the latter is much more difficult to achieve its intended learning outcomes than the former. It may often be more costly up-front; however when lasting retention, practical application and knowledge embodiment is the goal for an organization that wants a lasting ROI in both tangible and intangible ways, its much more preferable than short-term, low retention, often learner-isolated "one and done" check the box online only Learning Experiences that most employees say they find boring and ineffective.

 

Ideally, an LDG/Learning Experience in-house team consists of members whose collaborative synergy honors their individual talents and strengths, joining together to build Learning Projects they are proud of, and more importantly attain the desired learning outcomes.

 

And sometimes, it's just one person who wears all the hats, and assembles and leads a changing team of content creators and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for every Learning Project they are contracted to provide. It's something I've done for years, and honestly it can be a lot to manage and execute!

Below I offer an example of how I execute Learning Projects through the Development, Design, and Delivery process.

Learning Project
Mindful Resilience for Law Enforcement:
Meeting Stress wi
th Strength and Integrity

Onsite and Live Online/Interactive Learning Facilitation - Eight Modules

Development, Design and Delivery

Development

This Learning Project was created after a police sergeant from California contacted me via LinkedIn and requested that I develop a mindfulness-based stress-resiliency immersive two-day training for officers and first responders that would be held onsite at a law enforcement training center. While I developed it to be taught in person, it was also made adaptable for live/online/interactive delivery. The discussions and dialogue with attendees in a group dynamic were vital to its adoption and overall success; and individual Self-Directed eLearning is not recommended.

 

I had no experience with employees in this sector and it took several months to do a thorough needs research and assessments, conduct interviews, and understand the particular challenges to mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing that is common in the law enforcement profession, but has not being given the attention it deserves.

The most important thing my research taught me is that while there is a lot of controversy over policing in the U.S., there are many good people in law enforcement who are truly suffering. Poorly addressed PTSD, alcohol and substance abuse, divorce and displaced anger at work, home and socially are sadly a common experiences.

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Let's be real: I am not a LEO and knew there's no way these officers would hear much of the stress-resilience practices in this course from me.

 

The sergeant was my consulting SME and also offered to voluntarily co-lead the weekend intensive since he had the real-life experience that is essential to create the necessary rapport with law enforcement officers (LEOs) and first responders - as well as enliven their humanity, empathy and compassion.

Design

Prior to investing time in the development stage I crafted a course proposal for the law enforcement training agency that would be hosting this course, and obtained a non-refundable deposit. After that phase was completed, the agency was provided a draft outline of the content, teaching schedule and deliverables, which was signed off on. The creative phase was underway!

Years ago, when I was obtaining a diploma in clinical hypnotherapy from an accredited school, one of the methods we were taught was to work backwards from whatever goal we wanted to achieve, making our way to the beginning to the spark of what originally prompted our desire. It wasn't some sort of "woo-woo" mystical process like one sees in the new age "manifestation" magical thinking; it was extremely practical. We had to take into consideration all the obstacles and challenges that could keep us from attaining our goal, and what was necessary to get past each one to where we actually earned the success we had envisioned. It gave us a strong grounding in creative problem-solving, as well as critical and systems-thinking, including how our mental processes have a major influence on both the pathway and the outcomes. I began to apply that method to all adult education I engaged in from that point forward, and this was employed in the design of this course. The goal was to teach LEOs and first responders Mindsets and Skillsets they could use to help them to consciously respond to the unique stressors in their profession with equanimity, grace and integrity to be able to perform their jobs with strength and resiliency, and make them less knee-jerk stress-reactive and susceptible to falling into the common areas of suffering and unhealthy copings skills I mentioned above. 

This was no easy task, and why considerable time was required during the development stage to get to know more about the learners in as many ways as possible, and about the obstacles and challenges that could get in the way. One cannot teach at any learner and expect any Learning Experience to be successful!

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I then built the entire course using PowerPoint, videos, and testimonials from LEO professionals, and I invited an additional yoga instructor SME who had experience with LEOs to appear live remotely during the second day of the course to lead attendees in a "chair yoga" relaxation exercise to teach them movement techniques to help calm stress reactivity on the spot.

 

The course design consisted of eight modules to be delivered in-person, a learning project management system timeline, learner assessments, four weeks of Mindfulness Toolkit follow-up review emails with supplemental recorded practices and the ability to reach out with any questions and for support - the latter being key to retention and solidifying the new behavioral habit changes they'd only begun to develop during the weekend intensive.

Delivery

The course was presented in a Law Enforcement Center training room that seated attendees into multiple groups around tables to facilitate maximum interactivity. While I facilitated most of the modules, the sergeant led key sections and practices that he would be best-equipped to present for the officers and first responders to receive, with abundant time to share their personal experiences and offer stories that often had attendees nodding in agreement - and often, shedding tears. There was lots of laughter too, because humor is a key component of my teaching style.

 

They also learned from one another, which is so important in live in-person courses and builds lasting retention. Attendees were paired up with fellow classmates with the assignment of staying in touch after the weekend was over to offer regular mutual support and reinforcement. They also ate lunch together both days get to know each other a bit beforehand.

One practice I purposely had the sergeant lead is called "Just Like Me," a well-known mindfulness-centered empathy and compassion building exercise that I modified for the officers and first responders to prompt them to look at people who are very different than them in a new light, something that is essential for community-building. 

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At the end of the weekend together, there lots of hugging - something the training center staff told us they'd never seen happen before. It was exceptionally well-received and perhaps the most meaningful course I've ever built and had the honor to develop, design and deliver. They had acquired new Mindsets and Skillsets to use in every area of their life, not just on the job - and a successful goal was attained.

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