In a recent Learning Views webinar that I led, Innovations in Media Selection, we looked at media selection within the context of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Learning. We considered a wide array of currently available media, as well as emerging trends, and how we can best combine those media for an optimum learning experience.
The graphic below shows a high level view of media strategies within their areas of application.
We also discussed Primary and Secondary delivery strategies, where a Primary delivery strategy would be your “course container,” such as an ELearning module or a classroom course, and your Secondary delivery strategies would be media you use within the Primary delivery strategy, such as Discussion Boards, printable PDF documents, Communities of Practice, etc.
We acknowledged that it is one thing to design the ideal delivery strategy, but quite another to get client buy-in. The Delta Window was introduced as a strategy to assist in gaining client trust and buy-in. We did not get to spend a lot of time on the Delta Window so in this recap, we wanted to provide a deeper dive into this concept.
In political theory, the Overton Window refers to a citizenry’s tolerance for change. The assumption is that the change will in some way restrict freedom and increase the government’s power and control over its citizenry. Over a span of time, an idea is perceived initially as outrageous, then dangerous, then possible, then necessary. The novel Boomsday used this principle to show how citizens initially would not consider voluntary suicide as a possible option to the social security funding problem, but gradually warmed up to the idea over time.
Like the Overton Window, the Delta Window shares the notion of an idea being perceived as unrealistic and eventually becoming necessary, but it does not share the negative connotations of increasing organizational power and control.
The Delta Window is a picture of the current mindset of stakeholders’ views of the strategies and systems that shape their organization and the speed at which the organization’s stakeholders can adapt new strategies and systems that reflect the best environment for performance improvement. So the Delta Window shifts as perception changes.
The Delta symbol (Δ) – an uppercase “D” in Greek– represents change, or how much an entity changes over time. So the Delta Window is the snapshot of the real or present state, and a later snapshot that shows movement toward the ideal state.
Keep in mind that the Delta window will never fully “arrive” because of the transformational nature of organizations. New ideas, technology, and methodologies are always informing and influencing organizations. Therefore, the Delta Window is always shifting.
Consider the shift in major universities’ perceptions of distance education as a viable offering:
In this example, the Delta Windows were spaced about 10 years apart, and show changes in stakeholder views as well as the systems strategies employed to support the distance education.
You can read more about a study that shows some interesting stats from a ten-year study of shifts in higher ed views toward distance education from 2002 to 2012 on the Online Learning Consortium website.
So what is our role in moving an organization’s Delta Window from the Real State, which is often not taking advantage of the best learning delivery strategies, to the Ideal State, which capitalizes on innovation, best practices, and latest technology? Here are a few ideas:
Meet with your stakeholders individually before doing “the big presentation.” Don’t wait until you are facing a panel of stakeholders in a formal presentation. Build relationships as soon as you meet your stakeholders. Identify common ground, which will be a baseline from which you can build toward getting their buy-in for the ideal strategy. By the time you do a formal proposal, their Delta Window will have already begun to shift, and you will have a much higher success rate than if you had hit them all at once with no prior introduction to your strategies.
Be prepared to share some intelligence about what other similar organizations are doing without giving away client-sensitive information. Few organizations are early adapters, and letting them hear that they will not be the first to try your recommendation will give them assurance that others have already forged the path, and if anything, they will be left in the dust if they don’t adapt.
Share examples. Again, always protect client confidentiality. But consider “scrubbing” some of your best examples that represent the solution you are recommending. Once a client sees what you are proposing, it begins to feel more real and more possible. If you are an internal L & D employee and do not have access to samples, you can usually find some examples by looking at competitor websites (depending on the type of learning solution you are recommending). You can also work with an outside consultant who can provide samples.
Have some numbers ready. Stakeholders have to get buy-in, and you can assist them in getting that buy-in if you have some hard numbers as to how much it will cost to transition to and support/maintain the recommendation you are recommending.
Have a Plan B. Assume that your client is not going to buy in to your recommendation 100%. Before you present, be sure to have a Plan B that would represent a shift in the Delta Window, although it might not be the Ideal State.
We would love to hear how you have experienced the Delta Window, either as a stakeholder, L&D consultant, or an L&D practitioner within your organization! Please comment below and share your stories with other TrainingPros Learning Highlights readers.