Propelling a Learner Experience

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Fall is here. The switch between sunny days and rainy grey days is constant. The weather is still lovely and windy. Then, the leaves start falling, and I can see how the trees change while walking.

Like leaves that morph in different shades of colours, which personal growth evolutions have you noticed from Summertime to Fall?

It makes me think of teaching at a French apprenticeship school.

Step by step

Teaching requires a lot of energy, patience and optimism.

Subjects covered include creative and innovative project management, business model innovation, digital project management, communication and marketing, entrepreneurship, IT and digital literacy.

Each session per course or workshop includes a deep dive, an individual or team activity, templates to use, a deliverable to produce, a space to drop the deliverable for evaluation, and resources to go further.

The content is integrated and shared in a dedicated Moodle space per cohort, one session at a time. The activities are done in-person or remotely, live or asynchronously.

For each course or workshop, I go through the same process.

Step 1: Scoping

The aim is to identify the specific profile for the learner experience. To do this, I answer the questions below related to the specific theme I will cover.

Question Response What’s in it for my learner experience?
Who is the person ?

What is his/her profile?

What does he/she knows in the subject?
Any bias?

Any wrong habits?

What is he/she doing today that needs changing?

What’s in it for the learner?
How is the learner experience likely to be welcomed?

Step 2: Designing & integrating

This step is the one I enjoy the most.

I ask myself the following questions:

  • What changes do I expect?
  • What does a beginner do?
  • What does a skilled person do?
  • What do people find difficult?
  • What steps, situations or themes should learners have in mind and in practice?

To do this, I specify the learning moment, the suggested activity and the time spent for each learner’s goal.

My pedagogical sequence should contain more exercises than passive transmission. The activities must be spread out over time, and must include sufficient breaks. I start by setting aside these breaks.

I don’t forget to give reminders and alternate subjects.

A teaching sequence looks like this table and can have several teaching methods.

Learner Moment


Face-to-face learning approaches


Remote learning approaches


Self-assessement Coaching session Quizz
Deconstruction Immersive session Quizz
Content delivery Course, book, practical guide, templates Webinar, how-to, wiki
Practice Role play, Learning by doing through innovative project co-design & development Learning by doing though innovative project co-design & development
Reflection Mentoring, knowledge sharing & co-creating workshop, book club, game cards, icebreakers Forum, chat
Automation Flashcard, Q&A in duo or trio, game cards, icebreakers Icebreakers
Evaluation Peer evaluation, exam Quizz

It involves curating and connecting the dots between the knowledge I pull. From my blog, archives, environmental scanning, experiences, use cases, conversations and knowledge sharing from my network and the communities I engage. It takes time and involves sensemaking, content management and clarity. At the same time, use personalized templates from decks to sheets and documents.

Here is how I go each time: I create the outline, frame questions, share deep dives on basic skills, approaches or tools, roadmaps for an individual or collective activity to practice and reflect on, and resources to curate to go further.

Designing in-person live and asynchronous learner experiences is an individual craft. This work can also be done in collaboration.

Rotana, a quality person, I particularly appreciate his calmness and, at the same time, his liveliness of mind. We built modules for apprentices BUT TC in the second year of their specialization.

The exchanges were fluid and fruitful, and we were able to build on each other’s skills.

He brings a lot of advice and tools that he proposes to his clients, and that favours the methodology.

A rich and relevant relationship: we were meant to work together.
— Christine, Digital Learning Manager / Learning Designer

Once the outline and content are ready, I integrate them into a Moodle space so each class can explore it one session at a time.

Step 3: Coordinating

I am planning live and asynchronous sessions – remotely and in-person over months on the school’s learning portal, Clickup and my calendar. That way, I can anticipate which session is upcoming and has been hosted. Which time estimated and time done are per session to scope, design, host and review each session.

I often block slots on my calendar to dedicate time and energy to each step of managing pedagogical projects.

Step 4: Onboarding

Each course or workshop comprehends four to six sessions of three hours spread over several months.

To get an overview, I send an onboarding message to the class. In that way, they can save the dates in the calendar and know the intent, the skills to develop, the theme per session, the on-demand support, and the next step for the first session.

Step 5: Hosting

For each session, three possibilities

Possibility 1: Live session in-person

Hosting gatherings per cohort and team takes patience, refinement and practice. When it is in a physical classroom, I often start with the traditional setting of the space with tables and chairs in rows, especially when I introduce the session, take deep dive into an essential skill, approach or tools, show and explain, share instructions and tips to produce the expected deliverables.

Sometimes I use a wheel of names to nudge participants to share their experiences or Learning of the week collectively.

When it is time to gather and collaborate to co-create a deliverable per team, I invite the cohort to stand up and move the chairs and tables to bundle two tables with chairs around them to create a pod. In that way, they are in a better mindset and conditions to communicate, reflect and collaborate.

In addition, I often leave an empty chair on a pod to come, observe, jump into the conversation, share feedback and leave anytime during the session.

The roadmap per expected deliverable with the deadline and resources to use to produce it is always visible on the physical whiteboarding of the classroom. I project one of my slides with the instructions on it.

Possibility 2:  Live session hosted remotely via Zoom

There are always five moments. The welcoming, the icebreaker, the collective moment in the same room, the activities and virtual peer assistance in breakout rooms, and the regrouping for a debrief and wrap-up.

How to foster conversation with remote learning and distributed work?

“If there are 120 people in the room and you set the breakout number to be 40, the group will instantly be distributed into 40 groups of 3.

They can have a conversation with one another about the topic at hand. Not wasted small talk, but detailed, guided, focused interaction based on the prompt you just gave them.

8 minutes later, the organizer can press a button and summon everyone back together.

Get feedback via chat (again, something that’s impossible in a real-life meeting). Talk for six more minutes. Press another button and send them out for another conversation.

This is thrilling. It puts people on the spot, but in a way that they’re comfortable with.

If you’re a teacher and you want to actually have conversations in sync, then this is the most effective way to do that. Teach a concept. Have a breakout conversation. Have the breakouts bring back insights or thoughtful questions. Repeat.

A colleague tried this technique at his community center meeting on Sunday and it was a transformative moment for the 40 people who participated.” Seth Godin

Possibility 3: Asynchronous session guided remotely

The session is asynchronous. I use email, Google Chat, Google Meet, and Moodle to communicate and bring virtual assistance on demand. The apprentices are autonomous and often in teams to get the work done.

On the D-Day of each session, I provide a roadmap, templates and resources to go further via a programmed email. In that way, I am ahead and not drowned by the workflow.

The templates and resources to go further are canvases, tools, and questions to nudge apprentices and encourage them to share their inputs to create added value and share. Name a few: business strategic analysis tools, digital strategy map, personal business model canvas, whiteboarding, agile project management tool, brand identity and essence canvas, and marketing tactics.

Step 6: Supporting

I teach to share knowledge, questions, experience, and use cases and highlight the reflections, insights, deliverables and results brought by apprentices. I am also here to support, coach and level up each person regarding their strengths, skill set, IT and digital literacy, drive and leadership.

Providing links and resources before each course or workshop is another way to nudge the apprentices to be responsible for their learning and team projects. Especially when I am away, they are learning and working outside the school building.

Next steps: Evaluating, Debriefing, Improving

The following steps are evaluating, debriefing and improving a learning experience. Stay tuned for deep thoughts. In the meantime, here are actionable insights from my network:

“Teacher is a hierarchical title to approach learning with students. Go beyond that with coaching and not being above the students but at the same level as them. You learn among and with them.

Create the environment so that they learn and reflect, you encourage them to learn on their own, together by doing.” — Paul Simbeck-Hampson

I try to embrace what Harold Jarche shares in his post on modelling as the best way to teach:

“(…) With a standardized curriculum and constant testing, there is never enough time for most school students to fully learn. There is too much information and much of it is without context. But mastery often comes from modelling. It is how the apprentice becomes a journeyman and in time a master. It is not done in isolation.

The core method (of six main components) for the teacher/master in cognitive apprenticeship is modelling. This can be aided by external coaching and scaffolding, but it is up to the learner to spend time on articulation, reflection, and exploration. Developing mastery requires deliberate practice over time.


Read feedback from courses and workshops I hosted in person and remotely.

Did you enjoy this post? Check out Future Skills.

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