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The Right Experience at The Right Time with Learner Journey Maps

You know those emails that you sign up for that seem like such a great idea when you are interested in a product? And these emails make you go back to a website repeatedly until you either give in and purchase something or, after months of simply deleting these unread emails, you finally get around to unsubscribing altogether? Yes, of course, we have all signed up for plenty of those and, often, those pesky emails actually work; we end up purchasing something. What’s the secret?


Right Content at the Right Time 

Marketers use a model called a marketing or purchase funnel. This model helps them establish the customer journey and guide prospects from the start (initial interest) through purchase and beyond. Marketers are skilled at identifying what content is needed when and where, and what makes their audiences tick. They write content that aligns with every step of the prospect journey and predicts the buyer’s needs along the way.  

Purchase after purchase, the funnel model proves its effectiveness. So, why wouldn’t we use it in our learning programs? 

You can apply the funnel after you’ve laid some groundwork. Once you have empathized with your target audience — using, for example, learner personas — and identified the challenges that your learners are facing, you can start thinking about the journey itself. The marketing funnel can help you think through the initial promotion of your training and the training itself.


Funnel Learners through a Learning Experience 

The funnel model consists of multiple stages, starting with the introduction of a product or service and continuing to conversion and beyond. A prospect moves from one stage to the next as their interest grows or, if they’re no longer considering the product, they exit the funnel.

The model consists of five stages:

  • Awareness: Prospects learn who you are. 
  • Consideration: Prospects are willing to consider your company. 
  • Conversion: You convince prospects to purchase a product.
  • Loyalty: You retain customers. 
  • Advocacy: You turn customers into fans.

Marketers understand that prospects have different content needs based on their stage. They move prospects along the funnel by offering specific and personalized content that aligns with that stage. For example, in the awareness stage, marketers educate prospective customers about their product to show its value. At this stage, prospects don’t yet know the value of a product. Sales-heavy content won’t engage them so, in this stage, marketers often use educational blog posts or e-books to position the company as a thought leader. 

You can use the marketing funnel concept for your learning programs. Imagine an onboarding program. The funnel might look like this: 

  • Awareness: Short teaser video about your company and the team the new hire will be a part of. 
  • Consideration: Testimonials from successful employees that talk about the value of training at your organization.  
  • Conversion: The actual onboarding training itself, ideally spread out over multiple weeks and delivered in a learning campaign format.  
  • Loyalty: Coaching and mentoring programs that continue throughout the employee’s time at your organization. 
  • Advocacy: Employees become champions to help you roll out new training initiatives.


Learner Journeys – One Step at a Time

If this concept feels a bit too foreign, you might want to leverage a learner journey map, which goes into much more depth than the marketing funnel. There are a multitude of templates available. What they have in common is that you build a journey based on various phases and touchpoints, or tasks, a learner must complete within a certain period. Some of the common elements include:

  • Phases: Awareness, pre-launch, launch, post-launch, etc. 
  • Goals: Overall goals and learner-specific goals for each touchpoint. 
  • Touchpoints/Interactions: What interactions are learners going to have with you and your content? 
  • Learner emotional states: What do they say, do, hear, think, and feel? 
  • Feedback and data: What data points can you capture for each touchpoint?


You can create your own template using a simple matrix format, phases go across horizontally and the other elements are listed vertically, or you can leverage existing templates from online collaboration tools such as Miro or Mural. Most of the time, those tools only offer customer journey templates, but they are easy enough to adjust.


If you are excited about learner journey mapping and want to learn more, contact an Ardent specialist today.

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