Get started by getting creative. Imagine technologies are like the ingredients in a meal… What if you looked at the technologies you could use as a learning designer in the same way you planned a meal?

Is grilled chicken breast your only option? Is face-to-face training with  Power Point slides the only way to do it?  Of course not!

Synchronous Instruction

Your main course would be some kind of Live event.   It may be instructor-led training where everyone is in the same room at the same time. It may be on a webinar or phone call.  Live instruction from a qualified facilitator is a key ingredient in your options as a training team.

Online Learning

Think of the modules in your LMS like carbs. You can get starchy food like french fries pretty much anywhere anytime. Late at night. Working remotely, or back in the office.  It’s never hard to find online modules or carbs. (Don’t believe me? Try and give up carbs… you’ll see.)

Both can get the job done, but leave you feeling bloated… mentally or otherwise. You need a balance of options to be at your best.

Performance Support Tools

I think vegetables have a lot in common with performance support tools – these are your Job aids, cheat sheets, and reference guides. Performance support tools and vegetables are both surprisingly cheap, easy to prepare, and sadly most people don’t get enough of them.


Online games are like dessert, sweet and addicting. They may be someone’s favorite part of the meal, but are not the only ingredient in a balanced diet. Nourish your learners, but also give in to their sweet tooth. It’s OK to play games that mimic the work they do in the real world. Just use your mental calories wisely.

Print Materials

What’s the one ingredient you can put in nearly every dish and have them say “wow, this is good”? Butter!

Printed materials are like butter because putting just a little bit more into what you’re already doing can make all the difference. Too much can clog your arteries and triple your prep time for a course. Find a balance that works at your org, just don’t swear off paper altogether. A cheap investment can boost performance.  Give them a structured worksheet to help capture the most important need-to-know info. They can use that later as a quick reference guide.

Don’t print up an identical copy of your Power Point slides! That much print is like something you’d eat at the fair.

Printing every slide is totally glutinous and isn’t the best for day-to-day life. But give me a tool I can use to structure my takeaway items and give me a place for notes! Absolutely!! Just the right amount of printed materials can transform an online module or facilitator-led experience the same way butter turns dry bread into warm toast.

What’s Next?

View the Recipes page for ideas of different ways you can combine different technologies.  Or check out the Food-For-Thought section to read Karl’s different food-based analogies to talk about Blended Learning, Online tools, and Instructional design.

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