Deep Thoughts

Bring the Drake approach to your learning offer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the past month, you may have heard that the highly acclaimed artist known as Drake just dropped his most recent and one of the most anticipated works of music this year to much fanfare and hysteria.

His latest album titled Scorpion, is his fifth major release in the past 8 years and is supported with another 5 mixtape releases in that timeline, so it’s safe to say Drake is one busy and creative chap.

Adapting to the times

Drake is seen as a leader in his field for not only his creativity and influence, but also his passion for hard work and releasing quality content regularly that his audience wants to hear. Historically, you would be lucky to get any form of new content from an artist every 3–5 years as their always seemed to be a long process to make anything that was released 100% perfect (if that even exists).

This model has started to change with a lot of artists in recent times as they understand that being adaptable and agile in releasing regular content will keep their audience engaged with their journey . This can be seen in another favourite artist of mine in Trent Reznor and his band Nine Inch Nails, which again has been pouring out more regular content direct to fans.

What’s the link to learning here?

I can imagine you’re wondering what Drake and your learning offer have in common?

The learning I’m trying to share here is around producing content regularly, evolving, updating and releasing this to meet the needs of your audience. Just as musicians have followed a traditional framework of releasing new content every 3–5 years, this has been the same for many learning teams.

I’m sure some of you reading this have seen the same learning programme or resources rolled out for years and they don’t necessarily reflect the culture of today or support its consumers with the latest developments, but yet they are still peddled to the masses.

Much like the music industry, the world of learning has moved on too. In today’s society we want everything now and with the pace of change within many business’ we must work in a constant agile environment which allows learning teams to adapt and evolve their resources to meet the needs and pressure points for users in the flow of work. If we waited to update learning resources every 3–5 years in the fast-paced world of today, the capability of teams across your business would most certainly be lacking compared to your industry.

Much of an agile approach is being connected with your users and making any decisions with this group at the heart of them. The goal of a learning team is to ensure it provides the opportunities through its resources for its users to develop and improve their own capability in life and business.

This model is commonly referred to in Product and Engineering circles as a minimum viable product MVP.

A minimum viable product is a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development (Wikipedia). Instead of taking years to perfect a product and then release it to a world which probably doesn’t care about it anymore. We build something that will provide value now and continue to iterate to the constant shifts of life as time goes on.

This is not dissimilar to the approach that artists such as Drake have taken, they like to be creative and their views constantly evolve so releasing content regularly to reflect these views is key for their audience to continue on the journey with them.

Listening to your audience and understanding what they want/need plays a big role in developing a successful learning offer, for example if a segment of your users are crying out for a better way to develop their communication skills in the digital age but you continue to provide deliver resources to them that are over 15 years old and include comms channels such as the fax machine, then you’re not providing what your audience needs nor are you setting them up for success in developing their capabilities.

What can I do?

Consider developing an agile and connected approach for your learning resources. In order to build and be recognised as owning a leading learning ecosystem, you’ll need to understand your users, listen to their needs, identify areas where you can support in which they may not see clearly right now and keep in constant conversation with them through new/updated content.

A culture of connected learning will be underpinned by providing content that is relevant, easily accessible and updated regularly to reflect industry developments.

The reason Drake is seen as arguably the biggest artist in the world right now and perhaps the greatest of his generation is down to his agile approach and the ability to adapt to the modern pace of life. He doesn’t wait 5 years to release content or get in touch with his audience, he’s always creating, evolving and updating them in real time.

Review your learning offer and the strategy you use to connect with users, are you supporting them in the flow of work with relevant and regular resources? Is your approach working? If not, why not?

Maybe you can learn something from Drake’s approach and have your audience at the centre of everything you do — keep connected, create, develop and release content often.

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