It started in the late 1990s when I was designing a training program on communication skills and I intuitively requested my client to allow me to take up a half day review with the participants, a few weeks following the program. At that time I was particularly keen to find out, if they were practicing what they had learnt, which was a review focused on the application rather than the learning itself.
Then came another opportunity a couple of years later, when a few weeks after another two-day training program, I met the participants. This time the review was oriented more towards the learning, and one participant commented “I learnt more in this half day as compared to the two day program.” That was a revelation to me. It brought home, the importance of incorporating workplace practice and reviewing within the learning program.
This gradually crystallized into the Interventional Approach to learning & development, which can be implemented by inducing practice intervals after each learning module has been delivered. In a nutshell, an interventional approach to adult learning, uses workshops that comprise adequate intervals of time for the learners to assimilate learning, adapt the same to their context and finally, practice it at work. This enables the learner to develop all the three dimensions that are essential to any workplace competency: Skills, Mindsets and Habits. When this happens the learning takes hold and becomes more durable.
This experience onwards, I have aimed with a fair degree of success, to nudge all of my clients and training engagements towards using an interventional approach to maximize learning effectiveness.
The next major experience was with an MNC, for a program on managerial effectiveness using a structure similar to the one above. The moment of validation came a few months later, when one of the keen learners in the group said, “Sir, I am now able to communicate assertively.” This experience reinforced my conviction, that even for a keen learner it takes time to move from learning to doing, using a process that provides structure and enablement in the form of assignments, practice and reflection.
The key learning for me is to adopt an interventional approach at every opportunity. If I have only two days with a group of learners, instead of doing just a two-day workshop, I’d rather convert that program into a one-day workshop followed by two half-day reviews spread over time. This will more likely translate into a worthy investment for the client, effective learning for the participants and a fulfilling experience for me.