What is a learning campaign?

Posted by on 13 September 2017

What is a learning campaign?

A learning campaign is a series of learning experiences that occur over time and across different mediums that are designed to create behaviour change. The term ‘campaign’ is more commonly used in advertising and marketing than it is in learning. An advertising campaign is normally a series of creative assets with the same message delivered across different mediums. There is a saying in advertising that people need to see something three times before they notice it. A strong feature of a learning campaign is repetition.

Why are learning campaigns needed?

Learning and behaviour change is hard. Anyone who works in training knows about the forgetting curve. A learning campaign mindset provides learning and development with a wider set of tools and tactics to create lasting behaviour change. One of the greatest problems L&D faces is simple ‘quick’ fixes, e.g. an awareness course with learning objectives that focus on knowledge. This is part of what I call the ‘great confusion’, with learning being about content and knowledge and not behavioural change. The 70:20:10 model is part of a mindset and move away from learning just being a single formal learning event that is about delivering content. Learning campaigns are a great match with the 70:20:10 model and working beyond courses.

What does a learning campaign approach look like?

A basic approach to a learning campaign would have at least these three steps.

Pre-launch

This may involve email messages, posters and other methods to communicate to your learners that the learning experience is coming.  

Formal learning

Often formal learning experiences are just one-off events or experiences, e.g. a single elearning module. If you were taking a learning campaign approach this would be broken down into small chunks of learning (e.g. microlearning) that learners would engage with over a period of time.


Follow up

A learning campaign wouldn’t stop at the formal learning event, there would be some follow up to embed practice. This might be as simple as automatic email messages, post-course reflections, workplace projects or tasks.

 

Learning campaigns often expand beyond courses

Learning campaigns expand beyond just the course. They are more immersive and expand into the physical workspace, e.g. through signage and posters. These act as nudges and reminders. Learning campaigns will also often have a brand and logo. While these approaches from marketing don’t necessarily mean that behaviour change is going to happen, they do give a learning campaign more presence.

How a learning campaign is different to a marketing campaign

Learning is different to marketing. Marketing is driving towards a relatively simple outcome, e.g. a sale. Learning is more complex. In marketing, when the buying process is complex a buyer is ‘handed over’ to sales and a good sales person coaches and supports the buyer through change. With learning, behaviour change happens after someone has made the decision to change. They often need more support and nudges to activate the learning and make the behavioural change stick.

 

Want to know more about designing learning campaigns? Access our 'How to design learning campaigns' webinar recording

Topics that where covered:

  • How to design a learning campaign to help active learning
  • A new design framework for learning campaigns
  • How digital technologies have changed marketing and what can L&D learn – this includes personalisation and automation
  • How to use spaced and subscription based learning approaches to increase learning transfer

Access the recording and resources


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