In our recent webinar, we teamed up with two industry instructional design experts so that they could share their insights and approaches to designing effective learning experiences. In the session, Matt Nelson, founder and CEO of Modern Training, and Ashley McMahel, Manager of Instructional Design at Founders Table, emphasized the importance of aligning training content with both business and field needs. Ashley, with her extensive background in instructional design across various sectors, shared her evolution in training methodologies over the years.

Conceptual Framework for Great Training

To kick off the session, Ashley shared how she prefers to design learning experiences rather than just creating training. This approach addresses barriers to good content creation, such as expertise, medium, and available tools. An example module from CHOPT was showcased, illustrating a well-branded, engaging training module that embraces microlearning principles. To paint a bigger picture, Matt discussed the significance of matching training content with field needs and business objectives. He introduced the concept of ensuring that "the ladder is leaning against the right wall," meaning that training should address the correct problems and be relevant to the learners. Matt also emphasized the importance of creating content that is both enjoyable and effective in teaching necessary skills.

Ashley shared her approach, influenced by the book "Map It," which questions the necessity of training as the solution to performance issues. She highlighted the importance of understanding the root causes of problems before designing training solutions. Using a hypothetical scenario about parking violations in an apartment complex, Ashley demonstrated how to identify the real issue and consider operational solutions before deciding if training is the right approach.

Practical Application of Training Design

After sharing their approaches, Matt and Ashley showcased examples of engaging training content, including visually immersive courses and situational context-driven learning. He stressed the importance of making training content relevant to real-life scenarios to enhance retention and engagement.

They both discussed the importance of aligning training content with brand values and promises. Ashley shared her commitment to ensuring that the training at CHOPT reflects the company's values of providing better food made with better ingredients. This alignment helps maintain employee excitement and commitment to the brand.

Evolving Tools and Training Methods

To bring the session full circle, Matt introduced Modern Training's "Learning Experience Map", a Trello board template used by his team that helps clients answer important questions about their business. This template includes discovery questions and prompts to ensure comprehensive planning and alignment with business needs. Participants were encouraged to use this resource to guide their own training design processes.

The webinar concluded with a discussion on evolving training methods and technologies. Both experts acknowledged the pressure to adopt new tools but emphasized the importance of staying grounded in what truly meets the learners' needs. Matt shared his excitement about exploring mixed reality with the Apple Vision Pro, while Ashley highlighted the value of integrating new tools to keep training engaging and aligned with brand standards.


00:00 Introduction and Overview
04:31 Part One: Designing Learning Experiences
10:20 Part Two: Practical Approaches to Building Training
14:19 Engaging and Immersive Content
20:32 The Role of Technology in Training
22:55 Screen-by-Screen Analysis of a Training Module
25:31 Determining the Need for Training
28:13 The Real Problem: Not Enough Spaces
30:24 Explaining Consequences and Benefits
34:04 Aligning Training with Brand Standards
43:37 Embracing New Tools and Technologies
52:09 Creating Effective Training Content with Opus Builder Trello Board