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How to use Action Mapping when Developing eLearning

Business Process Concept Shapes Paper

Action mapping can help you improve and streamline your eLearning course development process.

In this blog, we’ll look at the basics of action mapping in eLearning, its benefits, as well as how to integrate it.

What is Action Mapping?

Action mapping is a process developed in 2008 by Cathy Moore, to help streamline and simplify the learning design process by assisting those that create the training to measurably improve business performance, determine the best solution to the performance issue and place an emphasis on realistic practice activities rather than presenting information.

The focus of action mapping is not on what people need to know, but on what they need to do. 

The Benefits

It helps to identify the problem 

First of all, action mapping helps identify the problems and shows you where the training is going wrong, it also allows you to identify potential obstacles to learning.

It sets measurable goals

After identifying the problems, setting realistic and measurable goals is easier. You can determine the content of your training by defining the objectives in advance so that every step in the process helps you come up with changes that address the problems identified at the start.

It reduces overload

eLearning courses can contain lots of information but may do very little to produce the desired outcomes. Overload occurs when the eLearning content contains information that isn’t directly related to the goal. Using action mapping helps avoid this overload by helping you focus the content, so it’s centred around the key objectives, helping learners get the most out of the training.

It creates engaging learning experiences 

Action mapping helps you determine how best to develop and deliver your training content based on what your client or learner wants. It provides relevant, practical knowledge that can assist them in improving, rather than focusing on the knowledge to be acquired. They are motivated to focus on learning that’s engaging and exciting.

How to Use Action Mapping

When designing your eLearning activities, here are some key things to think about.

Identifying the business goal

What’s the problem and how will you know you’ve solved it?

Thinking of the business change you want to happen is the first step. The goal needs to be measurable, this will help you, include relevant activities, identify the crucial content, and evaluate the success of the training. If the goal is too broad, the result can be an overwhelmed and bored learner. Instead of thinking of the goal as “what do we want”, think of it as “what action do we want” from the goal.


A broad goal: The sales team should know all the features of the cake we sell. 

A narrow goal: Increase the sales of chocolate cake by 5% by the end of Q3.

Identify what people need to do to reach the goal

Why aren’t they currently doing it?

The next step is to identify what the learner needs to do and the actions they need to take to meet the goal. Finding out what people should be doing but are currently not doing, is the key to this process. 

This can be done by creating a list of the actions required by the learner to reach the goal.

For the narrow goal example above, these questions could be to uncover the customer’s needs, identify the best car for the customer or to put an emphasis on the benefits customers care about.

For each of the actions, you need to ask yourself why aren’t employees currently taking the necessary actions, and what’s making it hard for them. Is it knowledge, skills, motivation, or the work environment and is training really going to solve the problem?

Help people with scenarios 

What do they need to do?

For each of the actions identified in the above step, you should design an activity that mirrors a real-world situation or scenario that the learner does in their role.

An example of this in eLearning is a scenario where a fictional customer appears, and the learner chooses questions that will reveal the customer’s needs.

It’s important to remember that fact-checking doesn’t happen in the real world, so it’s best to avoid using them.

What do people really need to know?

What information must they have to complete each activity?

The final stage is identifying what the learner needs to know to be able to complete each activity. If the information doesn’t directly support an activity – avoid adding it.

Action mapping, brian storming

Action mapping will help you develop and design an eLearning course that takes the learners through realistic activities and provides higher engagement and satisfaction among learners. The content will be focused, relevant, and relatable with measurable business results.

For your next eLearning project, consider action mapping to meet your goals.

As always, if you have any questions, or think we might be able to help you with your eLearning offering, feel free to message us or click here to schedule a meeting.

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