As training designers we often get into conversations about intellectual property and copyright of training materials. Most L&D professionals - especially independent ones - are very precious about their material and don’t want anyone else (not even their clients) to have it.
But in this Netflix age, I do wonder if it's possible to copyright learning. When I designed development programmes for clients I did so for one purpose and one purpose only…. to give people ideas, skills, methods and information to enable them to do their jobs better. People receiving that training were never going to learn a lot from my materials in isolation - no matter how brilliant they were.
In reality, they learned from a whole host of sources, many of them completely out of my, their manager’s or even their company’s control.
The training we design (especially our materials) are just one piece of the learning puzzle. For it to REALLY make a difference, many things come into play:
- The accuracy of the TNA
- The design of the solution
- The ‘fit’ with individual preferences
- The timing of the training
- The motivation of the learner to learn
- The context in which the training is delivered
- The skills of the facilitator
- The quality of the materials
- The reinforcement by the manager
- The motivation of the individual
- The opportunities they have to put the learning into practice
- Feedback from learning
…I could go on!
My point is, that one thing alone is going to have limited impact. If a trainer hands over their materials, many pieces of the learning ‘puzzle’ are still missing – their own delivery for a start, but also the preparation, the context, the reinforcement and the motivation.
L&D professionals need to focus on the whole solution, and stop thinking that the magic key to success lies in a PowerPoint presentation or workbook. Yes, materials are important and shouldn't just be given away for nothing, but they really are just a small part of the whole package.
Like a meal... the raw ingredients could be given to anyone, but it takes a master chef to turn them into something special.