Learning Strategy

4 Learning Design Mistakes And How To Fix Them

This will sound harsh, but it’s true.

The best learning experience doesn’t always win.

It stings. I’ve felt that sting many times before. I’m sure you have too. So how do we solve it?

Many factors come into play for success. There are factors beyond your control and others you did not foresee.

4 mistakes that derail your L&D work

→ Building in silo

Don’t spend 6 months in your monk temple building something that people no longer need. Or at the very least, can’t remember why they needed it in the first place.

Too many good and great L&D/HR projects have died behind closed doors.

You need to collaborate. We’re human after all.

🧰 The Fix: Run your work as a project. That means updates, visible Kanban boards, stakeholder progress meets etc. Bring structure.

→ Drop and hide

The old build a product and tell no one about it.

This is a classic L&D pitfall. Launch the best thing since sliced bread but tell no one about it. Only to bemoan why no one is using it.


Which can easily be avoided.

🧰 The Fix: Level up your marketing know-how.

Explore how to position your product for success with a structured pre, during and post-engagement plan. It will change your life.

→ Spray and pray

This one always makes me chuckle.

You build an experience because a senior leader says a team desperately needs this. You don’t talk to the end users because you take the leader’s words as truth.

You then build an experience based on this only to discover at launch, the end users have no idea why they need this.

This is what I call a spray and pray tactic.

You build something based on an assumption and hope it works. Only to be left with your time wasted and your experience in the graveyard.

🧰 The Fix: Performance consulting is the way friend.

Two things I want to share with you to help with this 👇

  1. The performance consulting cheatsheet for L&D pros (8 questions you need to ask)
  2. How to ask better stakeholder questions for solution design

→ Not solving a real problem

Ever built a solution and wondered WTF is this actually solving? Me too.

In this age of my career, the first question I ask without fail is “What are we solving for?”. It’s amazing how those five little words can change a conversation.

It causes the recipient to think deeply about whether they are seeking:

  1. A training solution aka an engagement event to make people feel good and tick a box. No performance improvement objective here
  2. A performance solution focused on enabling a skill and/or behaviour change that improves the team, business and individual.

70% of the time, I find it’s number 1.

Nothing wrong with that. Just be clear with your stakeholders on the outcome being sought.

🧰 The Fix: I’ve pretty much given you the answer already. Ask why and get super clear on it. Everything else means nothing without this.

L&D is no longer about design alone.

You might find these tweaks are the difference between a win and a loss.

Artificial intelligence

How L&D Teams Can Unlock The Power of Generative AI Tools For Employees

Organisations have two choices with AI (and any tech for that matter).

Choose to augment or automate.

For clarity:

Augmentation = Supports and improves human decision-making and actions with technology

Automation = Completely replaces human decision-making and actions with technology

This isn’t an exclusive task to AI.

We’ve been doing this with all forms of technology for centuries. That includes more than digital tools.

At this moment, organisations (just like us) are looking to understand the opportunities and limitations of generative AI technology. Let’s be honest, it’s good but it ain’t perfect.

In my work researching the roles of the future with generative AI. I’m focused on the tasks it could replace and or support.

Based on this, I work with organisations to identify the common skills needed to do those tasks.

The question then becomes whether current Gen AI standards replace those entirely or only partly. If partly, what % and how much human interaction is needed?

Looking at this from a task lens (vs jobs) enables companies to evaluate where they can:

  1. Best utilise humans
  2. Simplify time-killing processes
  3. Get a clear view of the skills needed for future organisational performance

Gen AI will replace some tasks and thus jobs, but it will also create new ones.

That’s my Ted Talk over. You’re welcome.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

Artificial intelligence

5 ways To Leverage ChatGPT (Enterprise) For Your Talent Development Strategies

These ideas are for those who are using the enterprise version of ChatGPT in their organisation. This means your data is secure and the training data is from your organisation, not the world’s database.

Not all may work in your organisation.

As I always say, culture, context and constraints play a huge part in what you can deliver. Any generative AI tool is only as good as the data it is trained on. If your data isn’t high quality don’t expect it to produce miracles.

Anyway, that’s my lawyer clause over.

Here’s 5 ways you can maximise ChatGPT (Enterprise) to improve your talent and learning strategy.

1. On-Demand Learning Support

Imagine a 24/7 tutor that never gets tired.

ChatGPT can serve as an on-demand learning assistant, answering queries, explaining concepts, and even offering resources for further learning. It’s like having a pocket-sized professor!

The best part? It’s trained on your company data.

So, it knows your protocols, processes, policies and ways of working. This would hopefully reduce those pesky ‘5 minute’ queries to save your precious time.

There are a few examples of online creators and startups offering this type of solution already.

This was something I wanted to bring to life in an enterprise organisation about 8 years ago. But the technology just wasn’t there yet. I didn’t want to bring in a chatbot which was like those awful ones we’ve all used for customer support at banks 😡. I killed the idea, quickly.

Now, LLM’s provide a true conversational experience.

One where you have a much higher chance of getting the answer to your question, and none of the poor ‘please pick from this pre-defined list’ of queries experience.

Here’s a few examples to check out for inspiration:

2. Employee Onboarding

New hires often feel like they’ve been thrown into the deep end.

What if you could have a helpful friend to navigate your new world?

ChatGPT can serve as a virtual onboarding assistant, guiding newbies through company policies, software tools, and even the office layout. Who needs a map when you have a chatbot? (side note: why do they always provide physical maps? We have the technology, people!).

Again, this is something I have been doing through Slack for many years.

I even went as far as to work with engineers to scope out an internal assistant, but now, ChatGPT Enterprise gives me access to do this without the huge amounts of development time.

You could train CGPT on all of your onboarding content so it’s prepared to be your newbies best buddy.

→ A recommendation for you: Don’t leave the total experience to AI.

Humans learn by doing, watching and listening with other humans.

The human touch is well-needed in any onboarding experience. I covered this extensively in my ultimate onboarding toolkit which you can access for free.

Woman wanting a digital company onboarding experience

3. Skill Gap Analysis

This one is going to need more work than the rest.

Skill frameworks and taxonomies are often bloated. Which is another way of saying complicated.

You could use ChatGPT to act as an assessment tool for teams. However, you’d need to get your own data in order first. The power of any tool is based on the data it’s fed.

Here’s a few ways this could work:

✅ Real-Time Feedback

As employees interact with ChatGPT for various tasks, it can provide real-time feedback on their performance.

This could be as simple as correcting a grammatical error in an email draft or as complex as suggesting a more efficient coding practice.

📈 Trend Analysis

By analysing interactions over time, ChatGPT can identify emerging skill gaps of individuals and across teams.

Essentially, it’s using a data led approach to predict where support is most needed.

🔍 Skill Tracking Over Time

ChatGPT can maintain a record of all interactions and assessments, allowing for a long-term analysis of skill development.

You can chart your growth over time.

This would be useful for year-round performance and those pesky yearly reviews we all love to hate.

📖 Resource Recommendations

Based on the gaps identified, ChatGPT can recommend specific experiences, interventions and content for skill development.

This was always the promise of the LXP and LMS, but it never quite got there. They were well intentioned but turned into monoliths of content which have become troublesome in surfacing the right content.

HR pro amazed by ChatGPT

4. Automating HR Queries

Let’s face it, HR teams are swamped.

ChatGPT has the potential to handle basic queries like leave policies, benefits, and more. This could free HR to deal with more complex issues.

I know that too much of a HR partners time is stolen by tasks that automation and generative AI tools could handle.

Admin tasks kill great HR teams.

Why not let ChatGPT find the basic information for employees and you can focus on the moments that matter.

5. Real-Time Language Translation

Got a global team? Need to translate your content into x languages?

This is a common challenge many businesses face and one that is rather pricey.

Fret not, ChatGPT can translate conversations in real-time, breaking down language barriers and promoting a more inclusive work environment. It’s like the United Nations, but in your office without those weird headsets.

Other generative AI tools like HeyGen can even take existing video content to convert it into another language of your choice. Using it’s AI voice cloning software you can take on any language you want.

Check out my Spanish in the example below.

Final thoughts

Now you know.

ChatGPT (Enterprise) can offer a variety of potential applications for your talent and learning strategies. Always keep in mind that the effectiveness of ChatGPT is heavily reliant on the quality of the data it’s trained on.

I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again.

It’s crucial to balance the use of AI with the human touch, especially in areas like employee onboarding.

These are some ideas to spark your own experimentation. Enjoy.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

Artificial intelligence

How Generative AI is Shaping Employee Productivity: 3 Useful Insights

Here’s a breakdown of Nielsen Norman Group’s employee AI productivity research. You can download your copy here. These are my personal takeaways.

Artificial intelligence

5 Lessons From Experiments With ChatGPT

I’ve spent the last year trying to navigate the Matrix of generative AI.

About 7 months back, I decided to delve deeper into the poster boy for the Gen AI scene in ChatGPT from OpenAI. These are the 5 lessons learnt so far in this journey of self experimentation and guidance from smarter people than I.

1/ It’s Narrow AI

✍️ ChatGPT is a ‘Narrow AI’. That basically means it focuses on one task/s only. It’s limited and needs supervised learning from you (the human).

🤖 Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is what you see in the movies like Terminator and Ex-Machina. This is a self-aware form of technology. One that thinks and learns independently. It does not need human input.

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT will change the way we work and even search for information. They won’t be taking over our world anytime soon (at least I hope so).

Source: Tech Target

2/ Never Prompt and Ghost

ChatGPT is not a mind reader.

I’m sorry to break that to you. Nor is it some kind of magic where it just ‘gets it’. If it helps, imagine CGPT like an intern.

They don’t know what they don’t know but you can help them unlock their capabilities with the right instructions. You wouldn’t talk to them once and then give up if they didn’t get it the first time, right?

The secret sauce is in building an ongoing dialogue between you and the tool.

3/ It Needs Clear Input

Better input = better output.

If you were tasked to complete a big project you had never done before and were only given one sentence of information, how would you feel? Lost? Exactly. Now you know how CGPT feels.

Prompts need 3 things to do well:

1️⃣ Specificity

2️⃣ Context

3️⃣ Constraints

4/ It Needs A Human Touch

60% = CGPT, 40% = Human.

ChatGPT is not a silver bullet. It’s not going to create high-quality content as good as a human. It doesn’t think critically and has no clue about real emotions.

But you do.

You must co-create not delegate. More on that in our fifth and final lesson.

5/ Review, Edit and Challenge

Never use any output from ChatGPT without:

  • Reviewing content
  • Editing for your audience and style
  • Identifying and challenging bias
  • Fact-checking research and data

Large language models like chatGPT are only as good as the data they’re trained on. So, if that’s rubbish then you must be cautious.

Generative AI can and will hallucinate. It’s up to you (the human) to always review, edit and challenge outputs.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

You might also like

The ChatGPT Crash Course For L&D Pros: Future proof AI skills in hours, not days.

Generative AI Explained: A simple guide for humans

The Case For Relevant and Accelerated AI Education

Make AI Your Partner, Not The Problem 🤝

Join L&D professionals future-proofing their skills with AI in hours, not days.

👉 Get started with my ChatGPT beginner’s crash course.