Podcast | Create Your Best Learning Experiences With This Foundation

Gary Stringer
April 11, 2024
April 11, 2024

“We don't own their time or attention. So how can we genuinely get people engaged?

This is Greg Arthur’s mindset around learning experiences, and he’s created a process that solves the issue.

In this episode, the Two Circles Founder joins us to talk through the first part - how we build a foundation by understanding problems, stakeholders, context and more.

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0:00 Intro to Greg
2:41 The fundamentals for solving problems
9:04 Mapping stakeholders and problems
17:52 The metrics that matter to people and the business
22:47 Finding your sub problems
26:03 Advice for small L&D teams
31:49 Where you can find Greg

Lessons on building a foundation for great learning experiences

1. Think of the problems you’re solving like a family tree of sub problems

“You've really, really got to understand the problem or the situation you're in… we've created this almost family tree template for people. So you start with your earliest ancestor at the top, the main problem.

“And then you start to break it down. So each new family member beneath then breaks out into them, into them, into them.  And you're just breaking that problem down into a couple of small components and then into those small components. So you don't try and attack the ultimate problem on its own.”

This framing allows you to think about where you have the skill and ability to deliver quick wins.

And allows you to prioritise the biggest contributors to the overall problem.

But most importantly, it ensures you have the full context, so you don’t miss anything as you build out learning experiences.

2. “Forget everything you’ve done before and treat every problem as unique.”

“Some problems will share the same characteristics… you and I, we're two different people, so we could deal with the same problem very, very differently.

“You always go back to your problem. Where will you win? Where will you not win? How do you scope something out to a point where you can say, I'm fairly confident, or above fairly confident.

“Let's get an MVP out. Let's make it work. And then everything else will fall into place after that, but there's a whole process in between.”

3. Map stakeholders based on interest/influence and role/relation

“We also talk about stakeholders in terms of who are they? And then we start to map them out around where they would sit on a very basic grid. Are they interested, but not available, and then all sorts of different versions of that.

This quick exercise is designed to help you understand stakeholders beyond ‘they have a vested interest’, to what level of interest they have, how available they are and what level of involvement they can commit to.

“Stakeholder number three could have a vested interest and could genuinely be your most important stakeholder. But they are so in the weeds with something else… they might give you ten minutes over the whole year because they're busy.”

“Stakeholder number two, for example, might want to give you all of the hours, every day, and be really involved because they're really engaged… but they have no clue. They have no sway in the project either. So if anything, they're just sucking your time.”

The goal is to figure out:

  • Who would you work with and how would you work with each of them?
  • What are they actually going to do for you?
  • What are you going to do for them? 
  • And then collectively, what will you do for your users?

4. The simplest way to diagnose problems with stakeholders is this…

  • “What's happening now? And how do you know that's a problem? 
  • “How do you know it's not a problem?” 
  • What are you measuring that on? Is it a feeling? Is it a data point? Is it a bit of both?”

5. Build a process where you know what you’re doing before you do it

“If I had a slingshot and I just pulled it back a couple of centimetres, and then let go. It's just going to fall down.

“I could do that over and over again… I'm never getting anywhere near my target, but I'm doing it really, really quickly.

“Whereas if I spend a little bit longer pulling it back, taking a little bit of my time, aiming properly, and then letting go, I've only spent, in theory, a few more seconds doing that, but I've got a much better chance of hitting my target.”

So while you don’t want to spend months planning and researching, you don’t want to start executing before you’ve built an understanding of the problem and confidence in the solution you’ll test.