Instructional Design

Game of Thrones as a parable for corporate eLearning [no spoilers]

Game of Thrones and Corporate eLearning

We’ve covered a lot of things here in the TalentLMS blog through the years.

From “heads up” posts for new releases to detailed breakdowns of the platform’s Instructor Led Training tools, and from integration guides for hooking your eLearning portal to services like Slack and Shopify, to general advice on starting your own online training business. You name it, we’ve most likely got it.

As big TV nerds, though, and with Game of Thrones season 6 looming upon us, we’ve decided to put together a nice, lean on substance and high on filler, GoT-themed article, as we did last year, for your reading pleasure. Who knows, maybe this is a new tradition. Read freely, as it contains no spoilers (unless you haven’t seen seasons 1-5 yet).

1) Know what you don’t know

Do you know why Jon Snow would make a perfect eLearning candidate?

Because he knows nothing! (buh dum ts)

A lot of your learners will unfortunately be in this position even after they have completed their course — and some might not be able to complete it at all.

If you mostly rely on lecture or, even worse, wall-of-text style units, with some big test in the end of the course, you won’t be prepared to respond to this at the proper time.

Instead, take advantage of TalentLMS’ testing capabilities and include a few questions or small quizzes at the end of every lesson, so that you can gauge your learners’ comprehension as the course progresses.

This way you can lend a helping hand to struggling learners, suggest that they take some prerequisite courses, or if most of your learners fail the course, adjust your material so that it is more approachable.

2) Don’t be like Joffrey

While the whims and desires of the leadership can be as important in the corporate world as in King’s Landing, collaboration with your learners, rather than coercion, is really the key for a successful training program in the corporate eLearning world.

For example, even though you feel that your eLearning program is very important, the truth is your learners are also employees that have to cater to numerous daily responsibilities related to pressing business workflows and immovable deadlines.

Instead of fighting them over it, work with them to reach the perfect balance between their daily work and their training regime — spreading a challenging course over a longer time frame, properly scheduling instructor-led training sessions, etc.

Or, you can opt to hammer them with their training duties, and throw hissy fits anytime they don’t completely comply with your whims — kind of like Joffrey.

But while they won’t poison you if you go that route, they won’t respect you that much either. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Don’t. Be. Like. Joffrey.

3) Put yourself into the shoes (or souls) of others

While his character is still slowly developing in the series, it’s pretty evident that Bran Stark is going to be a pretty big part of the final battle between the living and the (un)dead.

And all that despite being basically a small boy with no army, and a broken spine to boot.

His secret? Empathy — being able to get into the minds of other people (and/or wolves). And while in Game of Thrones this involves some magic, you don’t really need that to use empathy in real-life eLearning.

What you do need is the ability to connect with your learners and to put yourself in their shoes, understanding what they need to get out of your course, what might confuse them, how you can explain things better, etc.

You don’t have to get it 100% right from the start either — you can always use the insights gained from training the first batch of employees to make your next corporate eLearning program better.

4) Collaboration is key

While the various royal houses and fiefdoms might hate each other’s guts, they all slowly begin to realize an important truth: unless they unite, they really stand no chance against the evil zombie armies.

The same can be said for any large corporation — there will always be fiefdoms and turf wars between the various departments, but unless they collaborate with each other, the competitors will eat the company’s lunch in no time.

As the head of the training program, you should seek the cooperation and assistance of other department heads. After all, it’s their employees that you’ll be training, so they should also have a say on the whole matter.

Engage branch managers and department heads early on, and keep consulting them while the training program progresses.

You’ll need them to tell you what skills their employees are lacking in, you’ll want them to provide you with raw material to be used for creating your training and on-boarding courses, and in general you’ll want to shape your training program upon their needs.

5) You don’t have to be big to think big

Who doesn’t love Tyrion? He might be small in stature, but he is very good at making use of what he does have — his brains and capability of thinking a few steps ahead of the game.

Wouldn’t Tyrion make a far better king than Joffrey? Or his other nephew – so unimpressive that I don’t even remember his name (OK, it’s Tommen — but I had to look it up).

Likewise, don’t be fooled that you need to be a giant enterprise to have a full-blown corporate eLearning program.

Sure, there are enterprise software solutions costing tens thousands of dollars, and there are others that can do the same things (or the 80% that matters to you) for a fraction of the cost.

With an accessible and easy to use platform like TalentLMS, you need neither big bucks nor your own IT department (or expensive consultants) to deploy your own corporate eLearning courses. In fact, you don’t even need to install anything, it’s all waiting for you to create a new account in the Cloud.

Conclusion

So, here you have it, 5 pieces of Game of Thrones wisdom hastily (and frivolously) applied to corporate eLearning.

Go ahead and brace yourselves, as season 6 is coming on April 24th.

In the meantime, cook up some popcorn and take TalentLMS for a test drive. It’s the finest Cloud-based LMS on this side of the Wall.