Crucial Skills®

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Quality Over Quantity: Customizing Crucial Learning Courses without Sacrificing Impact

It’s a question that many ask: How can I do more with less? Or, at least, how can I do more with the time I have?

When it comes to organizational training, questions like these are often coupled with a variety of constraints: limited employee availability, limited opportunity to pull employees from primary job responsibilities, limited meeting time and space, and more.

These constraints are a reality of the training world. So, we often end up asking ourselves, how do we shorten our training and amplify our impact? How can we work with those constraints and, at the same time, preserve the quality of our training?

Here are some ideas.

Review Organizational Objectives
Before making any edits to course content, first examine why you’re offering the course in the first place. What are your organizational goals? What results do you hope to see?

The answers to these questions should guide you as you customize or shorten the course. If you’re bringing in Crucial Conversations® for Mastering Dialogue to create a culture of speaking up, for example, you won’t want to skip the skill Make it Safe.

Assess Timing and Opportunities
When you know what your objectives are, you then can think more about the learning experience and constraints.

  • How much total time do you have for a learning cohort?
  • What prework will your organization accept?
  • Can your organization provide ongoing support for learning groups?
  • Is your organization open to blended learning?

Answers to these questions will help you determine how to customize the course and what you’ll need to do to support learners beyond the initial classroom experience.

For example, you might adapt the learning to a shortened virtual course followed by a series of monthly webinars and reminders in meetings about the skills.

Create an Action Plan
After gathering information and reviewing your objectives, you can adjust your training. Whatever your objectives, whatever your time, whatever your ongoing opportunities—focus on your goals and teach the skills that will help you reach them.

Also, instead of trying to do more faster, try to make the most of your time with your learners. We don’t want to teach groups a multitude of concepts—we want to build new skills that support growth and change. To do that well, you’ll want to prioritize quality over quantity, or depth over breadth.

A long-standing principle for our master trainers is this: never teach a concept that you can’t practice. Instead of skimming several concepts from the course, teach the key concepts that support your organizational objectives. Spend the time needed for employees to gain insights and practice the skills.

For example, if your organization wants to improve accountability, make sure you teach the skills in State My Path. Help your people learn relevant skills and understand why your organization values them. This is how you can make the most of your time.

All of this said, remember that all of the skills are part of the course for a reason. While you may not have time to teach them during your classroom time, you can continue expanding your learners’ skillsets through newsletters/emails, lunch-and-learns, skill workshops, and more.

For more tips, download How to Customize Your Learning Experience. While this document is specific to the Crucial Conversations® courses, the principles apply to any course customization.

I wish you the best as you prep and plan for your training—and as you work to make the most of the time you have to help others grow.

2 thoughts on “Quality Over Quantity: Customizing Crucial Learning Courses without Sacrificing Impact”

  1. Juniper Systems

    Thank you!!

  2. Maggie Huebner

    Several years ago I found myself teaching a virtual instructor led session during a terrible storm that lasted a week. Many participants did not have power during that time. To continue to support learners, I used several strategies: I repeated the chapters over several weeks; I had topic-specific monthly follow-up sessions for a year. It was an additional time commitment on my part, but helped the participants anchor their learning. The monthly follow-up sessions helped me better understand what content stuck and what didn’t. That made me a better instructor in future classes.

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