Is it possible to acquire game-changing career skills in less than five minutes? How about five minutes a day? Research gathered by the consulting firm Deloitte found that the average employee in the U.S. was able to devote just 1% of their work week to professional development. In an average workweek, that translates out to just 4.8 minutes per day, or 24 minutes per week.

Today’s workplace is lean, mean, and agile. Systems and processes are in a constant state of improvement, so learning professionals need to build content that aligns strategically with the goals and realities of their workplace. Here are some ideas on how to structure learning for best results.

Put the learner at the center of everything. The needs, characteristics, learning environment, and work experience of the audience should drive the design decisions for any curriculum. Designing the right type of learning experience will set your audience up for success.
Think big picture, not band-aids. Not every performance problem requires a learning solution. Does your intended audience truly lack knowledge, or do they choose not to apply what they know? In other words, is this a question of will or skill? Only one of these choices can be solved by a learning intervention.
Align your learning to the real-world. High quality learning requires participation, not just observation. Build lessons that allow your audience to practice skills as part of the learning experience. Role plays, discussions, and simulations all allow learners to test-drive their expertise as part of the learning process.
Right-size your content for learning efficiency. This can seem challenging, especially for long or complex topics. A good rule of thumb is to think in five minute increments. After every five minutes of learning content build in a knowledge check, discussion, or activity.

What best practices can you recommend for structuring learning content? Please share your ideas in the comment section of this blog.