How Vlerick Business School creates exceptional learning designs with SessionLab

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Vlerick Business School is one of the highest ranked business schools in Europe. As part of the Learning Innovation Hub, Luisa Gaioni, Fleur Dumont, Hanne Rijcke and the rest of their team of 13 use SessionLab to design and develop digital learning journeys across the school.

Using SessionLab to design learning flows and collaborate with subject matter experts has helped Vlerick save time, be more efficient and create programs that engage learners – whether as part of a degree program, executive learning or bespoke company training. Here’s how.

Structured, efficient learning design

An effective self-paced course, training session or blended learning program starts with a well-crafted learning flow informed by the needs of potential learners. At Vlerick, the process begins with a conversation and an outline in SessionLab.

“First, we analyze the needs of the customer or the audience. Then we talk with faculty and discuss learning objectives, learning activities, topics and the learning journey. When we have an idea of what we need to have in there, that’s the moment we would start using SessionLab.”

Even before they begin to use a content authoring tool or set things up in an LMS, Vlerick uses SessionLab to create a learning flow that serves as a foundation for all of their programs. 

“We use SessionLab as our skeleton before we start creating digital assets and finally add them to our learning management system. The day SessionLab came into my work life I was so happy because it felt so structured.” 

Vlerick starts the process by adding blocks with simple titles to quickly create an overview of their program. By reorganizing blocks and iterating quickly in SessionLab, they’re able to quickly craft a skeleton curriculum that meets the needs of their target audience.

Whether a course is self-paced or delivered in a blended learning environment, a well-balanced program with a mix of different interaction types is a vital part of engaging learners.

Vlerick uses SessionLab’s color coding to ensure they find the right balance and make informed decisions about their curriculum.

“We use the color coding in SessionLab to indicate the different sort of interaction methods and that helps at every stage. We know that if a block is blue, it will be a video, if it’s red, it will be an interactive resource or multimedia. This ensures we create a good balance: not to have five videos in a row, not to have five articles in a row, to have the right interaction moments. It’s very visible.”

SessionLab is designed to be flexible, so whatever kind of learning program Vlerick is designing, they’re able to co-create quickly and with confidence. 

Effective collaboration with subject matter experts

Once a learning design has been drafted in SessionLab, it’s time to get involvement from subject matter experts and members of the faculty.

Finding time in the busy agendas of their faculty poses one of the biggest challenges for the team at Vlerick but thankfully, SessionLab is able to help here too.

“With SessionLab, it’s easy for us to have a meeting where we go through the learning design with our content experts and it helps in the collaboration. We collect their feedback and make adjustments in real time.”

In SessionLab, it’s easy to share your agenda and collaborate in the best format for your collaborators. Invite subject matter experts to leave comments and add materials directly to the relevant learning blocks. Co-create in real-time or stay aligned asynchronously with track changes and comments. 

Subject matter experts at Vlerick often have their own ways of working. However you and your colleagues choose to work, SessionLab’s flexibility allows you to move forward efficiently and save time in the learning design process.

“Sometimes we have faculty who go into SessionLab themselves and add text to blocks or leave comments. Other times, we get the input for the storyboard in a meeting and make notes. Often, we receive a Word document or a PowerPoint from a subject matter expert and we put it into the specific block in SessionLab and brainstorm how we can add activities related to that and analyze how they fit into our storyboard.”

Attaching course materials and content from subject matter experts to your learning design in SessionLab is an effective way to keep everything organized and in one-place.

Never lose a crucial Powerpoint or Word document from a member of your faculty again. Attach key materials to specific blocks in your learning flow so it’s easy for everyone collaborating to find what they need.

Designing and iterating on learning flows as a result of feedback is also common for most learning designers. Rather than having endless versions and iterations of their sessions lost in folders and emails, Vlerick uses SessionLab to collaborate and consolidate their learning designs in one place.

“In SessionLab, workflows with ‘final final version two documents’ are a thing of the past.”

By creating a single source of truth, Vlerick is able to design confidently, save headaches and ensure all their collaborators are able to find what they need.

Saving time and improving organizational efficiency 

Building an entire learning program from scratch is a lot of work. With SessionLab, Vlerick has been able to optimize the process of creating a new program. They’ve also been able to save valuable time by reusing and adjusting their programs and learning material.

“We run a five module program for one of our clients with four reruns every year. Previously, I would know the program by heart and go through every module every time. I would go into the Word document, find the steps where I need to make changes, then write them on an email, add the link to the platform, send it to my colleague and she would go in the platform and make those changes but every time I had to review module by module so it would take me a whole day. Now I have all the content in SessionLab and it doesn’t even take me one hour anymore.”

In SessionLab, Vlerick can simply duplicate their previous course and make notes of what needs to change. Rather than needing to redo the whole program and resend document versions, Luisa and all the learning designers at Vlerick will make changes in SessionLab and invite colleagues to work with her on the specific sections which need their attention. 

The learning designer will mark blocks for the attention of the content builder to use when creating assets and another for her colleague in the admin department. Everyone in the workflow knows exactly what’s expected of them and can collaborate efficiently. 

By switching to SessionLab and improving their workflow, Luisa has been able to make a whole day’s work fit into just one hour of focused collaboration. 

SessionLab is also helpful when it comes to helping Vlerick keep organized records of all their programs in one-place. When creating their materials, learning designers at Vlerick sometimes reuse specific activities or they’ll review previously run programs created for returning clients. 

Previously, if we had to recreate, rebuild or review the program, it was impossible to find those documents again. One of the values of SessionLab is that if I left tomorrow, and in two years, a colleague has to go back to one of the programs I worked on, she could just find it in SessionLab.” 

By reusing existing designs and creating templates, Vlerick has been able to save time and also unify their style and increase efficiency across the team.  

“We work with a lot of builders and designers who have their own ways of working and we have our own style too. Creating templates in SessionLab has helped us to align more.”

In SessionLab, you can add sections and checklists for each stage of your learning flow. Most of Vlerick’s learning programs have common elements that need to be filled in every time.

By adding sections for each key item to their templates, they can ensure nothing is missed and that their content team has everything they need to quickly add the flow to their LMS.

Leave notes to the template to make it easy for trainers and content experts to follow. Add checklists and color coding to create an efficient workflow and transfer knowledge across your team easily.

For Vlerick, this has been a vital part of onboarding new team members and getting them up to speed with creating learning flows. 

“SessionLab is helpful with alignments and processes. As our team grew a lot and we added new colleagues, it’s now much easier to adapt the process, because it’s all there in SessionLab.” 

Storyboarding and instructional design made easy 

Creating learning programs, whether for a self-paced course or blended learning format can often feel like a balancing act. Instructional designers need to manage the input of subject matter experts, carefully craft a learning flow and collaborate with content designers – all before moving material to an LMS.

When designing materials for their degree programs, executive learning courses and bespoke trainings, Vlerick Business School needed a tool that helped them design effective learning flows and improve efficiency across their team. 

With SessionLab, Vlerick has been able to streamline the process of creating their initial learning designs and storyboards. By also optimizing their collaborations with subject matter experts and templating their programs, they’ve been able to save time across the board – all while delivering exceptional experiences to their learners. 

“SessionLab is the one place where everyone can find all the storyboards for all the programs we designed within the school. It really helps with efficiency and time saving.”

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