“This training will help you use this new tool," said the L&D head to the team while explaining the importance of a new learning initiative. Daniel, sitting in the audience, murmured, “God! I have so much work to close before I go out for dinner with friends tonight. This tool will not solve my problem anyways. Let me get back to my work.” Do you, as L&D or business heads overhear such thoughts frequently? Here are 4 lenses through which organizations can look at their learning methodologies to gain employee buy-in and close the gaps between learning and application.
Phenomenon based learning
One of the best ways to ensure that employees are deeply invested in learning is to ensure that it solves their problems. Phenomenon based learning, built on exactly this foundation, focuses on motivating employees to bring forth a real life scenario – any current situation or event in their world and then analyzing it through an interdisciplinary approach. Taking this concept from the education system in Finland, coaches/mentors could be aligned to the team of employees undergoing this learning intervention, who can provide an expert opinion – but it’s the employees’ ideas, questions and theories that are the starting point to the discussion.
Key Benefits – Employees are involved since it solves their problems, interdisciplinary approach
Lights, camera, action! Every employee is their own director, and getting them to learn what you want them to, is only possible if it supports the “action.” Providing that seamless experience of learning and the application of it to the work, action learning presents the “Bring your work to training” concept. Ray Carvey, Executive Vice President of Corporate Learning and International for Harvard Business Publishing shares that they design a program for senior leaders and high potentials which they call “action learning” as a project. Employees dedicate 3-4 hours a week to take work and apply what they learn as a part of the design. And the rest of the week is for them to think what they learned and practice it. Bringing in this thought-based application of learning not only increases employee engagement but also minimizes the gaps between learning and its application.
Key Benefits - Minimized gaps between learning and application, employee engagement
Learning can happen anywhere, anytime. Learning expert Dan Pontefract says, “Pervasive learning is learning at the speed of need through formal, informal and social learning modalities.” As the boundaries between work and home blur rapidly, the concept of pervasive learning is gaining popularity. Organizations using this technique enrich an employees' environment with as many opportunities to learn as possible. And the key to providing that on-the-fingertips reach beyond physical boundaries is technology. Leveraging technology to tweak the way employees can access learning content and make learning engaging is important to cover the 360 degree world of employees. Such initiatives, beyond engagement, also enhance employee retention and learning experience.
Key Benefits – Enriched employee environment, on-the-go learning, enhanced employee experience
Adaptive path learning
Every moment we are creating a huge (and this is really a small word) amount of data. It is estimated that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day – now that says volumes! As the world is figuring out ways to use this data to its full potential, adaptive path learning provides opportunities for employees to carve out personalized learning paths using data-based approach to determine what works and what does not. Based on the results of how the content is being consumed, user experiences with similar learning objectives and user preferences, the learning material will guide through a specific path that yields the most productive learning outcomes – and this gets smarter with every interaction. Data helps in making those adjustments and changes.
Key Benefits – Personalized learning, data-driven enhanced learning outcomes
While these lenses to learning methodologies provide opportunities for re-designing strategies for learning interventions, one needs to contextualize them to the organization and see what works best. A common pitfall that organizations tend to fall into is implementing methodologies in scenarios which cannot be benefited by them because they are not clear about the expected outcomes. For example, conducting a broad-based training such as compliance training through adaptive path learning may not be the best suited option--but pervasive learning may be. So, figure out what works for you and happy re-designing!