3 Methods for Lighting Up Your Ideas

, , | Colin Dawson

Have you ever sat looking at an empty page?

Or a computer with an empty screen?

You have an objective for your training but now you have to convert that into something effective and digestable.

Where to start?

It’s a journey and a journey into the unknown needs a map.

Creating a map is sometimes called outlining, but I find the idea of maps more useful.  When you have a clear map you can guide your learner to a successful learning experience.

What’s a map?

Creating a map basically means that you breakdown your message into smaller issues or steps that you need to communicate to help your learner understand your teaching.

This helps you set the boundaries of what you’ll cover and what you’ll leave out of your Modlette.

There are 3 methods for creating a clear map:

  • Bullet points
  • Questions
  • A mind map

Let’s have a more detailed look at these.

Method 1 : Bullet points

A short list of bullet points is an easy way to structure your thoughts.  Each bullet point outlines a point you want to communicate.

To define your bullet points, ask yourself:

            Which points, tips, or resources do I need to communicate to help my learner reach their objectives?

For instance Daniela wants to develop a course on debt collection by telephone.  This course will help her learner become more confident in making these important calls.  She’s written down the following bullet points:

  • The importance of preparation
  • Having all the facts at hand
  • Having a positive mindset
  • Making the call

A series of bullet points gives a quick overview of the tips, steps, or resources you need to share in your Modlette to help your learner reach success.

Method 2 : Tiny Questions

I am a great fan of asking questions when I am preparing a Modlette.  What are the tiny questions the Modlette will answer.

To outline a Modlette with questions, simply ask yourself:

            Which tiny questions do I need to answer to help my learner reach a good objective?

For instance Daniela wants to write about credit collection on the telephone.  In her Modlette she wants to answer the following questions:

  • What is the right mindset to make a collection call?
  • Why must we have all the facts at our fingertips?
  • How can you negotiate a successful conclusion?

Defining what, why and how as Daniela has done is often a good way to structure your writing for learning.  Use open questions, starting with what, where, why, when, who and how.

Method 3 : A mind map

Mind maps can help generate ideas and understand relations between ideas.  To create a mind map, you start with one idea and then plot how other ideas connect.

To create a mind map, you keep asking yourself:

            What else is related to this idea?

Daniela wants to write her training about credit collection, and she’s created a mind map by thinking about it from the person who is asked to do it for the first time.  The issues she wants to discuss are:

  • What’s going through the person’s mind?
  • What happens if the debtor refuses to speak to her?
  • How do you open the call?
  • How do you frame a solution?

Mind maps don’t help us keep our focus.  Mind maps do the opposite, encouraging us to generate more related ideas.  This introduces the error of cramming too much into your learning.  If there’s too many ideas emerging it may be wise to make more than one Modlette.

Probably best to stay with bullet points and questions.

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