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The ICE Framework: L&D’s Impact, Confidence And Ease Idea Scoring System

In a world that’s changing as fast as this one, L&D needs to solve business problems quickly.

The question is: Once we’ve worked out our problems, how do we understand and prioritise which ideas and potential learning experiences we should roll out to solve them?

The ICE Framework will help you do it! But first, we need to understand the context behind this and go through a much-needed mindset shift for L&D.

Achieving Minimum Valuable Learning: A much-needed shift in L&D mindset

We have to design learning experiences that minimise time to impact while simultaneously cutting any waste.

That’s fundamentally a change in mindset and approach.

❌ Rather than spending months on ‘the perfect content’ for a problem we’re facing right now (and increasing the likelihood we’re investing a lot in something that’ll have little impact through a lack of testing and a delay in delivery)…

We’re thinking big but starting small! With the problem we’re facing now, how can we build and test learning experiences at speed to understand if they have an impact?

Now, this leads us nicely to the concept of Minimum Valuable Learning.

Let’s say that you’ve been watching The Bake Off and decide you wanted to start making your own cakes. Your first instinct probably won’t be to sign up for a week-long course on elaborate wedding cake creation.

You’d probably start with a YouTube video. 15 minutes long, talks you through the steps, and (hopefully) gets you to that end product, or at least something resembling edible.

That’s MVL. It’s quickly validating whether we’re moving in the right direction without lots of investment or that time delay.

From increasing our speed of learning and testing to minimise risk, there are lots of benefits.

But a good question hits us before we reach MVL: Which ideas should we test and why?

We need to break down work into smaller chunks that allow us to deal with changing demand.

And to do that, we need a framework that allows us to score ideas based on their ability to solve problems.

🧊 Enter ICE 🧊

Scoring ideas using ICE: Impact, Confidence and Ease.

Coined and popularised by growth hacking guru Sean Ellis, ICE offers us a quick way to assign numerical values to our ideas and prioritise based on their value.


How much do you think this learning experience will help achieve your desired outcome?

On a scale of one (no impact) to 10 (very high impact).


How confident are you that it will drive the desired performance improvement?

Again, on a scale of one (no confidence) to 10 (very high confidence).

Tip: This is where you should be thinking about learning experiences you’ve delivered in the past.


How hard will it be to implement this learning experience?

Again, use a scale of one (very hard) to 10 (very easy).

Tip: Consider every part of the learning experience: Creating or curating, the data needed to personalise, the content’s complexity, and how you’ll generate proof of impact.

The ICE Framework L&D’s Impact, Confidence, Ease Idea Scoring System

Prioritising your ideas and potential learning experiences using ICE

Your work out your ICE score by multiplying the three to create a number between one and 1,000.

ICE = Impact x Confidence x Ease

The higher the ICE score, the higher priority that learning experience should be.

The highest idea should be the MVL that you start testing.

And this is how you prevent yourself from heading towards those time-consuming and resource-intensive ideas, by allowing yourself to focus on ideas you can test quickly.