The best advice I got at DevLearn 2015

It wasn’t in a keynote or in one of the concurrent sessions either. It was at lunch, in the expo hall.

I sat at a table next to a trim woman in a brown cardigan, and at the first “How’s it going?” I unloaded–

“My to-do list is out of control now. The more I hear the more I realize how much our program is missing. We have all this user training content all over the place, with no rhyme or reason, and no clear path through it all, and the longer I’m here the more overwhelming it gets. I just keep finding more and more things to fix, and too many different ways to fix it. So I think what I need to do is create blah, blah, blah…”

That poor woman sat there and listened like a saint to all my big, half-baked plans for the software we needed, and the content tracking and the landing pages, and menus, menus, menus.

Finally she put her hand up and said, “Listen. I’ve been in corporate learning for thirty years. I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do.”

Me: “Yes, what would you do?!”

Lady: “You do ONE thing. Just make one page, one list, of all the content you already have. That’s all.”

Me: “Okay… That’s all? I guess I could do that, but we need a way to let them do the whole training straight through, or just search for what they need, and there are all these different types of content–”

Lady: “That’s fine, but first, you do ONE thing. One page. All the other things can happen later.”

Me: “Okay… Okay. I guess that’s better than running in circles and getting a bunch of things half done.”

Lady: “After you do one page, you do the next. But that one page gives you clarity, and it gives your learners a place to get started while you do the next thing.”

I heard a lot of great at DevLearn, about assessment and technology and funding, all kinds of things, but those aren’t the tidbits of wisdom that are still affecting me one month later.

It’s just what I have time for. It’s just what’s necessary. I’m doing one thing. Just one thing.