Defining Learner Personas during the Know.How Workshop

Join Francois as he explains how defining Learner Personas during the Know.How Workshop keeps the team focused on the real people who will be using a solution.

This video covers:

  • The Learner Ecosystem
  • Story Shares
  • Empathy mapping

If you’re interested in finding out more about our Know.How Workshops and Learner Personas, please email us at hello@

Watch the video above to see how we define Learner Personas in our Know.How Workshops with Francois Kirsten

Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Awards for Business

Croomo Founding Director, Schalk Pienaar, has been named as the Multicultural Business Person of the Year at the 2017 Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Awards for Business!

The Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Awards for Business celebrate the contribution multicultural businesses make to the Brisbane economy and community through their creativity, innovation and resilience.

As a fundraising event, it attracts a strong following from Brisbane’s multicultural community and business sector. Hundreds of people attend the event each year to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Development Program, while enjoying the many networking opportunities.

This year the Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Scholarship Program and Mentoring Scheme will have supported almost 300 recipients since the program began in 2008.

Award winners were recognised at the 2017 Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Dinner on Saturday 27 May at City Hall.

Our thoughts from the 2017 LX Conference

Recently, Croomo attended the world’s first online Learning Experience Conference.

The LX Conference is the first online conference dedicated to learning experience design. Learning experience design (LX Design) is the emerging practice of using user experience, service design or human-centred design methods in education and training.

As businesses continue to embrace automation and big data, they birth new software, new processes and new expectations of their employees.

What does learning design mean in the age of mentoring, gamification and personalisation? Is an online course always the answer? It can be a real challenge to ensure you design an experience that suits your learners while at the same time not falling into the trap of just ‘“doing what we’ve always done.”’ To cope with this, we are seeing a new hybrid practice emerge, learning experience design (LX Design).

Here, a few of our Croo share a collection of their insights from the conference and how you can benefit from it.

Byron Tik: Lead Learning Experience Designer

In Learning Design and Development there are many unique disciplines. The latest is that of learning experience design. Some may consider this another name for Instructional Design, or a fanciful term that blurs the lines between Learning Design disciplines. This seems fair given that most developers and designers have overlapping skill sets and often perform many roles out of necessity.

It is the focus, toolbox and processes that justify the differences. There is strength in knowing what the appropriate processes are at which point in the design process. An effective designer is one that recognises which discipline to leverage and applies the most effective processes to do so.


Learning Experience Design first and foremost is about connecting to the learner, through narrative, usability, flow and relevance. It is also about having an empathetic understanding of people and the ability to design and deliver a coherent experience. In my opinion, a Learning Experience Design is to learning what a Game Designer is to games. The goal is to understand the bigger picture, all disciplines, the vision and the audience in order to create a coherent experience of the solution for growth.

Hafizah Suleman: Learning Experience Designer

Make shared understanding a process rather than an outcome. — Joyce Seitzinger (Founder and Lead LX Designer at Academic Tribe).

Joyce outlined the importance in ensuring that our goal as designers, is to understand people and their purpose as much as we understand content and procedures.

The Learning Experience Designer role is to select the appropriate solution that will best support people, and to highlight to the organisation non-training improvements. This is not done by sitting in an office and writing learning objectives. Rather, by engaging and listening to the people and managers who do the job.

This is not done by sitting in an office and writing learning objectives, but by engaging and listing to the people and managers who do the job.


Toby Hewitt: Learning Strategist

I am going to stop writing the word ‘users’ or ‘user needs’. I design for PEOPLE to help them achieve their PURPOSE. #lxconf

Our field is seeking to define itself as creative problem solvers. While there is value in being able to design and develop functional eLearning components, the skills of cognitive empathy, critical thinking, analysis and logic are important to the learning designer of the now.

Forget learner demographics, look to find your audience’s different motivations for why they do/don’t do the thing. #lxconf

Learning experience design is about unpacking the human data that is influencing businesses. It is a discipline filled with processes to collect human data such as motivation, purpose, emotion and thinking. It leverages these to create more effective solutions.


As learning designers, we operate under tight business deadlines. We are rarely given enough time to do deep dives into understanding our audiences. Yet, by striving to shift our client’s thinking, to ensure we uncover people’s reasonings and purpose, we can design eLearning that is meaningful, memorable and motivational.

One way that Learning and Development teams can benefit from LX principles is to embrace collaborative design workshops.


These involve star performers, subject matter experts, and managers as equal stakeholders in a participatory session where Learning Designers facilitate unpacking the organisational challenge you are trying to correct. These sessions often produce holistic strategies that encompass a range of approaches. Additionally, they define engaging experiences that the organisation can create that will facilitate wider learning. This is an effective way to implement powerful human-centric design principles in the fast-paced commercial world.

At Croomo, we are passionate about continuing to help people benefit from the discipline of Learning Experience Design. We embrace this continual industry development. We are all committed to offering our clients the very best in Learning Design by helping to define it and develop tools to action it. We want to help people use human-centric design to unpack their organisational challenges, and to listen to their people, so that organisations can design better enterprise learning.


Dr. J. Knott, 2017,

Croomo and clients take home Triple Platinum at the 2017 LearnX Impact Awards

Together with our clients, Croomo is very pleased to announce we’ve received eight awards at the 2017 LearnX Impact Awards! This amazing effort includes three platinum awards, four gold awards and one silver award.

We’re extremely proud to be working with such a stellar line-up of clients, including Safety Wise, Incitec Pivot Limited, QUBE, Shiftwork Solutions and the Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit.

Platinum awards

Best Mobile App

In partnership with the Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit, Croomo developed a platform-agnostic mobile app that demonstrated relevant medical procedures and processes for neonatologists and medical students. The app features an anatomically correct 3D-animated infant to demonstrate what happens ‘beneath the skin’. The app can be accessed anywhere, anytime, with offline functionality.

Best Audio

In partnership with Shiftwork Solutions, Croomo developed a training module that encourages shift workers to make better lifestyle choices. The online module incorporated playful audio elements to accentuate this positive message and the module’s colourful, cartoon-inspired aesthetic. The idea was to create a feeling of engagement and discovery, emphasising the benefits of fatigue management.

Best Video

In partnership with Safety Wise, Croomo developed a 3D-animated video that depicts a real-life incident, in which a forklift driver loses control of his vehicle and is injured. The video launched an investigation, providing participants with the key issues for analysis. The video recreated the incident from multiple perspectives, to show participants the importance of a thorough and objective interview and investigation process.

And, there’s more! Croomo also took home four gold awards and one silver award.

Gold awards

Best eLearning Development Company

We are excited to receive a gold award for Best eLearning Development Company in recognition of our ongoing partnership with Safety Wise. Safety Wise provides industry-leading incident and investigation training, having trained over 75,000 learners globally. The award recognises our exceptional commitment to working collaboratively to create training that not only helps to develop outstanding investigators, but also saves lives. This project also won a platinum award for the ‘Best Video’ category.

Best Risk Management Project

In partnership with Incitec Pivot Limited, Croomo created a suite of online training modules to demonstrate the importance of effective risk management, and ensure that all employees understood the steps required to identify, classify and report a risk.

Best Wellbeing Project

In partnership with Shiftwork Solutions, Croomo developed a training module that teaches shift workers about the factors contributing to fatigue, and then gives them easy, practical tips for managing these factors. This project also won a platinum award for the ‘Best Audio’ category.

Best Workplace Health and Safety Project

In partnership with Incitec Pivot Limited, Croomo created a suite of online training modules to reinforce workers’ understanding of the 4Ps (Passionate Leaders, People, Procedures and Plant), and develop their appreciation for how these fundamental principles connect to the vital WH&S practices that employees undertake daily. The project took on a presentational formal, featuring motion-captured characters, and a fresh, engaging introductory video.

Silver award

Best Induction

In partnership with QUBE, Croomo designed an organisation-wide Safety, Health and Environment induction that would align training across all divisions of the organisation. The training ensures consistency in the understanding of current best practice and ensures that procedures are applied uniformly along the chain.

About the LearnX Impact Awards

Now in its tenth year, the LearnX Impact Awards recognise the exceptional impact of organisational learning, technology and performance. The LearnX Awards will be presented on 18 September at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, following the annual LearnX Conference.

The Price of Change: How Much Does Training Cost?

I have heard this question many times. I have seen it answered in many ways.

There is an inherent problem with the question. It assumes that training is separate from strategic objectives set by the business. That all we need to do is ‘make training’ and the human capability issues will go away.

This is costing Australian businesses $3.8 billion in employee turnover a year (AHRI Pulse Survey, 2015).

The price that organisations are willing to pay for eLearning should involve an understanding of this cost they already pay.

73% of CEOs are implementing cost-reduction initiatives.

As of 2016, 73% of CEOs are implementing cost-reduction initiatives (PwC, 19th Annual Global Survey). This will drive a need for upskilling human capability and realigning organisational culture. All to do more, with less. eLearning can make these outcomes clearer and more achievable in a competitive landscape.

The cost your organisation is paying for this challenge is difficult to quantify. To do so, you need to visualise some parameters:


Strategic plans to reduce these costs involve forging a new cultural alignment. It requires new organisational designs. These are intimately linked with scoping and designing learning to ensure successful delivery.

And in 2017, our options to do so are wider than ever. eLearning is not only courses. It encompasses all organisational learning and knowledge-sharing done in front of a screen. Success will mean doing more with less.

So, what if organisations focused on the cost of their problem? That is the true determinant of the price that is reasonable to fix it.

What if we solved the real problems in our organisations? What if we stopped using ‘learning’ to “‘paint the wallpaper’ rather than addressing the underlying challenge” ( Knoll,D. KPMG).

eLearning is not only courses. It is the entire gamut of organisational learning and knowledge-sharing done in front of a screen. Success means technology paired with behavioural economics to generate powerful and sustainable change.

eLearning is about more than induction or compliance training. It is all learning done through a screen. As a part of a workforce enablement strategy it can lead and support business processes. It can drive performance change. It can produce results in measurable financial and customer satisfaction gains.

It can optimise implementation plans, replacing ongoing variable costs with smaller fixed costs. Compare the cost of a server with the costs of sending an expert around the country to deliver training.

eLearning can reduce the human error rate during change. It provides consistent clarity and sets expectations, across the whole organisation.

Digital learning strategies should aid in the adoption of transformational initiatives. It should help visualise wicked problems with business leaders and employees. It should seek to design new systems and create amendments to current processes. Learning strategies, supported by eLearning, drive a capability uplift to meet this wicked problem. It raises business readiness and change maturity.

Change management seeks to communicate the benefits and nature of change. eLearning allows all employees to engage and experience this new world.

When we talk about the cost of eLearning, we need to look at the big picture. We need to develop materials that help overcome the immediate organisational challenge.

Rarely, is the real reason we make eLearning because we need to get the powerpoint online.

To get there, sometimes all you need is a little bit of Know.How.


Knoll,D, Head of Financial Services Management Consulting, KPMG in

Price Waterhouse and Coopers, 19th Annual Global CEO survey,

How to get the most out of storyboarding

Storytelling is an important skill in our craft.

We are often creating storyboards to communicate all sorts of things from eLearning module content to the visuals of an explainer video. Sometimes it’s even broader than that, and we storyboard how we are going to make organisational change.

Storyboarding is an essential part of the planning and design phases of a project. Without it you have no plan or vision of what the final product is supposed to look like. It’s unreasonable and unrealistic to scope the cost of a video or an eLearning module without one!

There are a few traps that you might fall into when storyboarding for the first time. Even a seasoned vet can let things get away from them.

So I would like to share three tips I have learnt about storyboarding over the years.

Tip#1: Start small to get the big picture. Use post-it notes!

It is all too easy to dive into the deep end. To start dreaming up all the cool stuff that could happen in a video, or aligning slide text so that they don’t ‘bounce’ about on templates. Or maybe spending time making those buttons look just right. I mean you want this project to wow, right?

Stage 1 of our Learning Design team storyboarding 10 branching mini-scenarios. We did this in less than 2 hours.

Don’t do it! Especially when striving to deliver multiple learning objects. What’s more important at this stage is stakeholder acceptance, having a high-level overview of how everything is actually going to come together and being able to double check that all learning objectives are covered.

Using this method also means everyone involved can help craft and talk about the major points in the story/interaction. This can help identify tricky issues with a subject matter expert now rather than later when significant resources have already been committed.

Using post-it notes forces designers to think loosely and keep things high level. Less detail means less time spent to communicate intentions and we are more open to changes when we haven’t put blood, sweat and tears into making something.

Tip#2: Work fast and key frame like an animator.

In the animation world, there is a thing called a ‘key-frame’.

This is the ‘story-telling drawing. The drawing or drawings that show what’s happening in the shot’ (Williams 2001).

This activity has multiple endings, characters and settings. However we boiled the interaction down to its most key frames. You don’t need to be an artist to storyboard. I mean look at these!

You’ll note that our storyboards are rough. We are capturing the key moments of the experience. We use these images to bat ideas about in the team, quickly alter and improve our ideas. Where possible, we get our stakeholders and subject matter experts to view these and we talk them through. Again, we avoid costly changes later by swallowing our ‘pride’ and showing rougher work sooner than we might be comfortable with as professional designers.

Tip#3: Don’t get planning paralysis, prototype early!

Ever had this happen to you?

Learning Designer: Hi stakeholder, here is the storyboard for the eLearning module you requested. It’s got all the content, intended images sourced and it’s ready to go to a developer once you approve it.
Stakeholder: Great job!
Stakeholder: Approved! Let’s get this done.
A developer goes away and produces exactly what was in the storyboard.
Later, the learning designer shows off the first Alpha of the product.
Stakeholder: What is this?! This isn’t what I thought it was going to be like!
Learning designer: B-but you approved this. You signed off and all!

The temptation can be to secure stakeholder approval using familiar tropes like documentation. This is insufficient. Many stakeholders don’t know what they want or don’t want until they can see it or hold it.

So rather than spending time making detailed documents, make rough, barely functional prototypes in a rapid authoring tool. Whether you’re making a video or a complicated interactive experience, the sooner you can ‘put something in their hands’ and help your stakeholders see and experience it, the sooner you will know if you are really on the right track.

Before worrying about what EXACTLY is going on each screen, BUILD IT. This is a common second phase for our learning designers when storyboarding eLearning.

I think the hardest part of storyboarding, as mentioned earlier, is ‘swallowing our pride’. Some designers don’t feel comfortable sharing rough work and worry that stakeholders won’t ‘get it’. I can assure you, they do, especially since you will be there to hold their hand through the process.

Share your stories and the associated storyboards sooner than you would feel comfortable and you might find that the journey afterwards is just that little bit smoother.


Williams, R. 2001. The Animators Survival Kit, A manual of methods, principles and formulas for classical, computer, games, stop motion and internet animators, London, Faber and Faber.

Defining problem statements in the Know.How workshop

A good problem statement can mean the difference between a project that solves an issue for a client and one that leaves learners scratching their heads in confusion.

This short video covers how we define problem statements during the Know.How Workshop and why they’re so important to our process.


Watch the video above to see how we define problem statements in our Know.How Workshops. with Francois Kirsten


Conquering the cloud of uncertainty with our Know.How Workshops

We thrive on helping our clients solve problems at their organisation. Our Know.How workshops help us gain a deeper understanding of their brief and give us the opportunity to develop a shared vision of how we’ll address their unique needs.

We leave each Know.How Workshop with a very clear and tangible direction for a project. This reduces the amount of uncertainty early on and gives us enough clarity to scope and price the solution accurately.

Watch the video above for a quick introduction to our Know.How Workshops. with Francois Kirsten


Enabling your people starts with the end in mind.

I believe at the core of many training strategies is a flaw that is contributing to a $3.8 billion cost in employee turnover every year in Australia (Australian Human Resources Institute, 2015).

Organisations need to enable their new employees to succeed in their role much faster than ever before. Job-specific training needs to start from the very beginning, at your inductions.

Organisations that fail to use training as an enablement strategy, limit their ability to grow. They risk disengaging vital human capability before it can even take root, destabilising continuous improvement initiatives, weighing down HR departments and driving up recruitment costs.

Think about what it costs to on-board a new employee


Training and induction costs are literally the price paid for new employees to ‘learn the ropes’. All good business leaders seek to minimise these time/productivity costs whilst maximising their organisation’s performance (PwC, CEO Survey, 2016).

Inductions should focus on sharing the culture and people of the organisation. This can be enabled and optimised by online learning content. However, many online induction strategies miss on-boarding new starters into more complex politics and systems.

This is a fundamental issue with the philosophy behind the design and implementation of the business strategy for learning.

Many learning strategies may be summarised like this:

‘What do I need employees to know for them to be successful, empowered and productive?’

The plan is thrashed out, communicated down the line. Following the plan, the induction and on-boarding program is built.

The plan forms the basis of performance reviews in the on-boarding process.

So why is it, that most working groups I have engaged describe their experiences of reaching the end of the probation period like this?

The roller-coaster of induction

Employees are telling us that their inductions rarely set them up for success. Realities of the workplace are that employees start doing their role-specific far sooner than the organisation prepares them for. It does not visualise what success looks like or share the stories that really matter. It focuses on cognitive goals, not actual business goals. You know, the ones your employees are trying to reach.

I accept the 70:20:10 model of adult learning. In this model, existing leaders and employees are essential components of employee development (Deakin Prime, 2013).

Inductions should enable our existing front-line leaders and staff to provide coaching and feedback to ensure that the total sum of the learning experience is connected with achieving confidence and competence.

To change this, business leaders could start visualising their learning strategies differently. We need to focus on helping new employees solve the challenges that they need to overcome to execute their role. An induction shares a business’s culture and stories. That culture and story is defined by how well an organisation sets its people up for success.

Instructional Design is dead — long live Learning Experience Design!

If you’re still referring to eLearning as computer-based training (CBT), using ADDIE to design your ‘click-next spam fest’, or think gamification simply means adding mini-games to your content — you’re in for a shock:

eLearning has grown up and learning experience design is burning down the house that instructional design built.

This post explores how we’ve re-branded instructional design as learning experience design (LX) at Croomo. If you’d like an introduction to our team structures and the thinking we’ve applied, be sure to check out this post first to see where LX fits into the big picture.

I’ll admit that Croomo is by no means the first to identify this shift in learning design trends, but we have put our own special spin on the role that we believe is industry leading. For an awesome summary of the issues and trends emerging in eLearning, I highly recommend this article.

Instructional design is a one-way medium

One of my biggest gripes with the term ‘instructional’ is that it harks back to an era where a stern teacher would stand in front of a blackboard and bark out Latin pronouns while the class parroted them back.

Learning is a conversation between a subject-matter expert and the learner. The golden days of ADDIE are a metaphor for instructional design because most of the effort would go into analysing, designing, and developing content before it’s evaluated by learners. Unfortunately, by this stage, budgets are exhausted and learners often get stuck with the content regardless of their feedback.

Never forget: learners aren’t peasants in Marie Antoinette’s France. Let them eat eLearning cake? I think not.

LX forces us out of the ivory tower and into the trenches

Something that initially drew me to instructional design was the decades of research and theory that underpinned it. Fast forward to today, and I delight in openly challenging most of what I’ve learnt because it’s so out of touch with my learners and experience of what people crave from modern learning.

The ivory tower only creates a barrier between designers and their users. We’re not academics, we exist to solve real problems.

The most valuable insights for any type of experience design (whether it’s learning or otherwise) comes directly from users themselves — they’re out there getting their proverbial hands dirty every day. The least you can do is bunker down and listen to their needs, helping you design something that addresses their core needs.

Learning experience design emphasises experience

We live in exciting times — what with the virtual reality goggles and the smartphones et al — but that doesn’t mean we make learning that’s whiz-bang just for the sake of it.

Gone are the days where eLearning consisted of converting a slideshow into an interactive, click-next spam fest. Don’t get me wrong, the age of augmented and virtual reality is very much upon us, but if the use-case isn’t there, we don’t force it.

Learning experience designers don’t just default to eLearning modules.

Learning experience designers have an extensive bag of tricks, but we’re always searching for the most pragmatic solution to a learner’s problems.

Learning experience designers are masters of the T-pose

We’ve made a big deal of attracting talent at Croomo with overlapping skill sets. This means that we can all wear a number of hats if we need to.

Most importantly, we take the teachings of other disciplines into account when we design.

I’m happy conversing with UX, interactive, and graphic designers — I’m also skilled enough in their respective disciplines to lend a hand where possible during crunch time. I understand the ramifications of scope-creep on developers. I know how to manage stakeholders, facilitate action-mapping workshops with SMEs, and present cases for ROI to the C-suite.

We understand the power of learning

Learning Experience Design represents the next evolution in digital learning. We have the ability to change not only the way people work but the way an entire organisation works. We are the new rogues in business; hear us roar.

Want to learn move about the exciting field of LX? Why not attend the inaugural LX Conference? It’s an online event with a roster of leading thinkers in this space.