The Corporate Learning Starter Pack (Free Download)


The status quo is no longer working in Learning & Development.

Rapid authoring, agile learning design, game-based learning platforms and mobile have made their way into our field, along with other innovations. Stakeholders who understand the impact training can have on the business are asking L&D to measure this impact based on real business outcomes.

And then we have our learners, who increasingly demand engaging, interactive learning solutions that truly help them improve their performance.

It’s time for a new plan.

For nearly 20 years, we have partnered with our clients to design and deliver the right learning solutions for their training and performance needs. While every project is different, we have evolved a set of internal tools that help us analyze the current situation, design a single course or blended curriculum to meet the need and select the right technology.

We’ve simplified these tools to create the Corporate Learning Starter Pack. Use these tools to jumpstart your planning process and create learning that meets and exceeds your goals!

There is so much evaluation and planning that goes into training, from a simple course to a full curriculum. Your budget and needs will ultimate shape your decisions, and the tools we’ve created will help you organize all of that information together in one place. With tips, questionnaires, checklists, and more, you’ll feel better equipped to tackle your training needs.

What’s inside

In the Starter Pack, you’ll find some of our most popular eLearning resources:

  • Needs Analysis worksheet: Ten simple questions that get you to the root of the training need.
  • Self assessment for your training program: A chance to be honest about the current state of training in your organization.
  • Template for planning your training program: A structured approach to sketching out the various learning solutions you must include.
  • Technology evaluation checklist: A shortcut for evaluating what technologies should be included in your approach.

How Much Do Corporate Learners Forget After Training?

This is an excerpt from our white paper, When Remembering Really Matters: Learning Strategies for Long-Term Retention. The white paper includes eight strategies to improve learning and remembering. Here is Part 2:

Remembering is Hard; Forgetting is Easy

No one says, “Hey. Let’s spend a bunch of time and money to create and implement a learning solution that no one will remember.” Yet every day stakeholders and designers make choices that sabotage the training effort and result in wasted dollars that produce no result. Learners take a course – and end up not applying what they learned because they don’t remember what they were taught. 

the forgetting curve

eddingerHerman Ebbinghaus was a psychologist who gained fame for his early studies in the late 1880s on memory. Based on his own research studies, he came up with the concept of the “forgetting curve.” He used his study data to create a curve that showed people will forget 90% of what they learn within 3 to 6 days unless learning is reinforced with multiple repetitions. Since then, thousands of studies have been done on spaced repetition, forgetting, memory, etc.

Will Thalheimer published a paper in 2010 that argues against Ebbinghaus’s global 90% statement. He points to these many subsequent studies – done in a more meaningful way – that show the percentage of forgetting is highly variable. It depends on numerous factors such as learners’ pre-existing knowledge, their motivation level, etc. However this still leaves the question:

What percentage of forgetting IS okay? 

Let’s be optimists and assume only a 30% loss in memory after a few days’ time. Which 30% of your learning content are you okay with people forgetting?

remembering in corporate learning

Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, vividly describes the remembering problem in his book, Brain Rules. Medina says “memory takes an almost ridiculous amount of time to settle into its permanent form.” He then points out that organizations (schools and businesses) make the situation worse when “learning is supplied in consecutive, uninterrupted glops…the probability for confusion is in- creased when content is delivered in unstoppable, unrepeated waves.”

Let’s be honest. Forgetting is a major problem. A significant portion of what organizations label as training fits Me- dina’s descriptions: it’s delivered as a single “glop,” and large volumes of it are delivered up at once with nothing repeated. The intent in these instances is efficiency, but the result is the opposite because people don’t remember well in these scenarios.


Corporate Training in 2014: Business Goals, Learner Needs, or Both?


As we all settle back into our respective desk chairs for what should be an eventful 2014, our attention is naturally drawn to what’s new and trending. Where is the L&D industry headed? What new tools can help my learners right now? How does our business achieve the growth and performance goals it has set for the coming year?

We turn to two of our old friends, top 10 lists and emerging trends reports, to start answering these questions. My own browsing brought me to a few of my favorite sites:,,, and others. Through this browsing, I encountered a “2014 Learning Trends” article by Doug Harward in the Winter 2014 edition of Training Industry Magazine. 

The article is subtitled “Shifting to Business-Centric Learning.” In it, Harward suggests that the days of focusing on what learners need and want are over. It is time instead to focus first on the business objectives, and making sure training is carefully mapped to the desired outcomes.

I agree with Doug… to a point.

What’s your metric?

Corporate training is challenging because it has both tangible and intangible results. A 50% increase in average contract value for sales reps who complete training on a new product is a measurable outcome for training. We should be looking for these types of improvements… and expect to align training holistically with other parts of the business.

Training should be carefully embedded in the overarching company strategy. Why not make 2014 the year where (almost) every L&D initiative we launch is tied to a measurable outcome?

Who is your learner?

Objectives and outcomes are great, but If we move too far away from what learners need and, heaven forbid, want in the training they take, those tangible results will be more elusive. Considering the learner is still an important step in the process… but we must think on a deeper, more essential level.

Why not replace this:

“Let’s add points and badges to the course because learners think that’s fun.”

With this:

“Let’s add an element of competition to this learning solution because it is geared towards sales reps and they naturally work in a competitive environment. It will mirror their on-the-job situation… and we expect it will also increase retention.”

Even this example is rather basic. For every learning solution produced, it is the instructional designer’s job to really look at the science of how people learn… and how they forget. How should information be reinforced? Is it possible to use a research-based approach instead of just presenting content? Even the best instructional designers can fall victim to the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset that often plagues organizations.

let your goals and your learners work hand in hand

Let 2014 be the year when you consciously try to connect business goals to the learning solutions you develop. A business-centric approach is needed, and a major part of that approach includes designing and delivering training that learners will get the maximum benefit from. Its up to the L&D department to use a mix of modalities that will maximize engagement, motivation, and chances for relevant practice.

Let the business goals guide you… but let research-based approaches and best practices for learning design be the vehicle.