Answers to some of your questions

What do learning designers do?

Learning designers work with people who want to have courses built, either in person or online. On any design project we bring expertise in education, the subject matter expert (SME) brings expertise in the topic, and together we work in partnership to create the learning experience. One way we can provide expertise is in crafting learning outcomes, developing interactive learning activities and assessments, and making sure they all align with each other. We know how to design great learning experiences in all modes and guide SMEs along the way.

We prefer to use “learning designer” instead of “instructional designer” because it’s more learner-centred. We place learners at the heart of our learning design process.

What topics can you design courses in?

We can design courses in any topic because we usually work in partnership with a subject matter expert (SME) who is familiar with the topic. We put ourselves in the shoes of the learner, asking clarifying questions of the SME so that we can create course materials and activities which are very understandable, meaningful, and relevant to learners.

What type of online learning do you create?

We create online learning in all modes: virtual/synchronous, on demand e-learning, asynchronous online facilitated, and blended modes. Our learning design page gives you examples which will give you more information about the different modes. Of course we design in person learning experiences as well.

How do I know how much it will cost me to have you design a course?

Since every learning design project is so different, we usually have an “exploration” meeting with you first to learn about your project. (We know what questions to ask you in this meeting, so don’t worry if you aren’t exactly sure how to prepare for it.) After we learn the details of what you’d like to do together, we will write a comprehensive proposal to it all in writing, capturing the project deliverables, and suggesting timelines and process details. We will also indicate a budget.

Our proposals also include information about our team members’ roles and responsibilities, as well as those on your client side, including any subject matter experts whom you will engage to help. Our draft proposal will help us clarify the purpose and intentions of the project before we sign a contract with you to begin our work together.

What age or demographics do you design learning for?

Much of our work involves designing for and facilitating with adults, although we have worked on facilitation, consulting, and learning design projects related to youth education as well. We place a high priority on inclusive design and facilitation practices, which we bring into both our facilitation and learning design work for clients.

What is your learning design process?

We tend to use an ADDIE design process which has phases for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. The design and development phases often have elements of rapid prototyping (another design process) in them as we iterate the course based on feedback.

We schedule a kick-off meeting at the start of the project, during which we discuss Analysis phase pieces such as the purpose of the course, who the learners are, desired key features of the course, and more. We complete a design approach document and also begin an extensive style guide in this phase. In the Design phase we put together a design blueprint, a high level document that outlines our learning approach, topics and possible activities. Next usually comes a more detailed design storyboard (for e-learning courses) or a comprehensive lesson plan (for virtual and in person modes). Our clients usually find people to review and provide feedback on the storyboard so that we can make changes to the course before we move to the next phase.

For online courses, in the Development phase we take our design storyboard and use it as the basis to build out the course in the online platform. For virtual/in-person courses, we create materials such as slide decks and handouts in the Development phase.

In the Implementation phase we pilot the course in the final platform with a small group of reviewers or representatives of the learner group (and make changes to the course based on their feedback) before finalizing the course. For the Evaluation phase we incorporate a course evaluation and recommend holding a six-month evaluative review after the course has been offered to real learners, so that we can do a final round of enhancing changes to finish our work together.

What are some of your company's beliefs about design and facilitation?

Though each of us on the BCB Learning team likely have our own set of personal beliefs about design and facilitation, generally as a group we believe in the following (and more!):

  • We believe in thinking deeply about how people learn and in intentionally crafting experiences to help them do that in the best way possible.
  • We believe in creating learning experiences that all learners can participate in no matter who they are.
  • We believe that learners learn better when their learning is interesting, motivating, and relevant to what they already know and/or need.
  • We believe that when we facilitate learning we are guides in supporting participants’ learning.
  • We believe that making time for thinking and reflection is an important part of learning.

Learn more about the values and principles that guide our work.

What geographical location do you do work in?

While our team is based in Greater Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, we work with clients all over Canada and beyond. Because learning design collaboration can happen solely online, we can work with clients in any location using tools such as Zoom and Google Drive. On the facilitation side of our work, we are available to travel to other locales to facilitate meetings and workshops as desired.

Where does your team find inspiration for your learning design projects?

We believe strongly in keeping up in the field and continuing our own learning. (This is a never ending process!) We read articles and books, listen to podcasts, and participate in other people’s learning events. We share learning amongst our team members all the time. We also have colleagues in the field with whom we learn and share. Beth leads/co-leads two communities of practice that are related to facilitation, and is constantly learning with and from those particular groups. We also all learn from Beth’s podcast, Facilitating on Purpose. The guests are so inspiring and keep teaching us things about great design and facilitation.

What is your favourite kind of work?

We can’t pick just one! We love working on learning design projects for the various modes of learning, facilitating courses and workshops for clients, and also facilitating meetings such as strategic planning events. We also appreciate being able to support clients with education-related consulting projects. Our Services page gives you more examples of the type of work that we do, but please reach out directly to us if you’d like to discuss your custom project.

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