Our new ACCA learning pathways feel like quite a departure for us, but in fact they represent a progression along a path we have been following for a while.
I should perhaps say that everything I am about to say is screamingly obvious - but only now that we have done it. The best insights seem less than profound once they have occurred to you!
Several of our most recent promotions have succeeded because we managed to think about them from the customer's point of view. We have been rewarded when we present a solution, not just a product that might work for people.
The pathways are no different and appear to be succeeding for similar reasons. They focus on a group of potential learners who find themselves facing the same issue. They are at a point in their career when particular professional development issues arise. But as well as coming up with an offering that addresses that need, we also have to specify the solution in such a way that it appeals to them on their terms. So, separate from the skills and knowledge gap we are filling, the solution has certain characteristics that they are looking for.
- Firstly, in the process of completing the pathway, and addressing their need, they get all the verifiable CPD they need for the year. And they get the evidence they need should they be asked to produce it.
- Secondly, we give them greater structure. The pathway has a fixed start date and runs for 20 weeks. They complete one hour of learning each week.
- Thirdly, we give they flexibility, to make the pathway as relevant as possible to their specific needs. Each week they can choose from a range of different resources to learn from, so although the topic is set, what they do is not.
- Fourthly, we give them a peer group. They work through the pathway with a group of their peers, sharing what they have learnt and learning from each other as well as the learning materials.
- Finally, we give them a facilitator, helping them, supporting them and sometimes just nagging them to stay on track.
What's interesting for me is that the pathways projects have not involved much, if any, new content creation. The whole projects has seen us moving from a content creation mode to content curation mode. With that focus, it is easier to concentrate on the needs of the learners.
Now you might say that the needs of the learners should always be central to any learning development project, and we have always prided ourselves on just that, but when we are creating all the content from scratch, we have a lot of different issues to deal with.
Reusing content that we and ACCA have already created has freed us up to produce a learner centred solution.