Our Thinking


A Creative Brief for Learning Organizations?

Jenny Fedullo

When my son started school this year, I ran out over lunch to shop for the school supplies on his list. As I picked out the composition books, dry erase markers, pencil case, highlighters, crayons and glue, I tried to imagine all of the different things he’d be creating with these supplies. And as it often does, my mind turned to how this activity could relate to the learning and development field.

The Creative Brief: the Glue That Holds Learning Solutions Together

One could argue for marketing agencies that the creative brief is imperative no matter the size of the campaign. The brief serves as the unifying document for the creative campaign to ensure all involved are looking in the same direction as they begin work on the next big idea.

For learning organizations, the training needs analysis (TNA) could serve in this capacity. The TNA acts as the roadmap for all involved and identifies the who, what, when, where, why and how of the project.

If done properly, a TNA is performed at three levels: organizational, job and individual. It seeks to:

  • Clarify organizational and training program objectives
  • Determine the scope of the project
  • Identify constraints
  • Understand the audience and the job
  • Identify performance gaps

The results of the TNA can be used to plan instructional objectives and the design and delivery of the program. More often than not, though, there is limited time and budget to conduct a thorough analysis, if at all. But, there is a solution that you can make time for: a Learning Solutions Creative Brief (LSCB).

Introducing the LSCB

An LSCB can be a great unifying document (the glue!) to gain team and stakeholder alignment. It’s the first document you should create for the project. Then use it throughout the project lifecycle as a reference and decision-making tool. You can refer to it at the end to determine return on expectations and measure success.

One of the most important questions a brief answers for a marketing agency is the reason to believe—the compelling reason the target audience should choose the product. On an LSCB, adapt that question to capture learner motivation. What is the insight statement, the bright idea that will entice learners to engage in your course? You can use a brief to ensure you’re reaching your audience in a creative way and making an emotional connection with the learner to aid in knowledge transfer.

How Will It Help Your Organization?

Here are the key advantages of using an LSCB:

  • It unifies the project team and customer
  • It’s crisp and concise
  • It tells us why the target audience should believe our message (learner motivation)
  • It sets the foundation from which strategic, creative ideas are born
  • It identifies one thought or idea to be communicated (terminal objective)
  • It captures characteristics about the target audience (the learner)
  • It identifies the call to action (performance improvement, behavior change)
  • It identifies the style and tone of the message
  • It aligns training with an organization’s brand and external marketing communications

You can adapt a marketing agency creative brief to work within a learning and development organization by slightly modifying a few of the questions. Use it to inform brainstorm sessions and come up with your own big idea for transferring knowledge—a theme or story, perhaps. It’s also helpful in the hand-off meeting between the instructional designer and the developer to ensure they are on the same page.

Get Started Today!

Download a sample JPL Learning Solutions Creative Brief. Then use it to guide you and your team to a higher quality outcome and a more impactful relationship with your team or client.

Try adding this “supply” to your next training project to see if it could be what you’ve been missing to take your project to the next level.

Related Blog Post: Boost Your ROI with a Better eLearning RFP

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