To strengthen experiential learning, timely reinforcements in the learning program are necessary
L&D initiatives today need to address an ever-changing environment to ensure their efficacy in increasing business productivity. Today, it is not about what you learn, rather what gets used. There are a lot of quick fixes, rapid training services out there. For us at Wilson Learning, we want to cut through the noise about the latest “this” or the best “that” and keep our focus on ensuring that organizations can develop their talent in a way that drives results. At the end of the day, it all really depends on the context of the learning – on what the organization needs.
Although L&D initiatives are an important part of the strategic processes of the organization, a recent study by Deloitte on Human Capital trends suggests that the readiness of L&D to pull up organizational talent to execute strategy is very low. L&D needs to be effective enough to push the organization’s ability to meet business outcomes. For this, there needs to be a comprehensive approach in place that is supported by the managers and executives, has a clear understanding of why L&D is important to the company, and has access to tools for assessment and overall reinforcement.
Managers play a huge role in the success of L&D initiatives as they are instrumental in connecting learning to the need in the organization and expectations of the employee. They have the ability to guide and coach the learner to address the implications of applying learning in their everyday activities to increase performance. A research study done by Wilson Learning reveals that a managers’ involvement is imperative for proper learning transfer. It also shows that if a manager is actively coaching the content, there is a performance improvement of up to a 67 percent along with an increase in learning transfer. Thus, L&D professionals need to involve the managers at strategic points in the learning initiatives to drive performance improvements.
The formulation of L&D initiatives depends largely on the environment the business functions in. To ensure the effectiveness of these initiatives, L&D professionals should have the vision to link the expected outcomes to business goals along with the technical capabilities to measure the impact. The outcomes need to be clearly articulated to the learner, their manager and the overall organization as this facilitates the involvement of the top leadership of the organization into being active sponsors of the L&D program.
At Wilson Learning, there is a constant effort to ensure that the learner comes for the learning intervention with some perspectives from their own personal experience. L&D needs to contextualize learning programs and make learners reflect on experiences. This will make learning personal, driven from inside the learner. The learning then needs to take that experience, take meaning from it and make a connection to the skill that is being developed.
Today, with Big Data application and increasing usage of analytics in the L&D space, the scope to assess the efficacy of L&D programs has increased significantly. Analytics need to clearly focused on not only the training logistics, but also on the business levers that the training is intended to affect. At Wilson Learning, we believe in an approach that focuses on both “push” and “pull” for learning information, tools and processes. There is also a need to keep innovating. This only happens when we understand the customers and their challenges. Taking into account what the customers need and what is happening in the industry should feed into how the training/learning initiatives are made effective.