Rapid Learning Interventions – Removing Process Bottlenecks

rapid learning interventions - removing bottlenecks

Rapid Learning Interventions – Removing & Redesigning Process Bottlenecks

As the business and corporate landscape is changing faster than ever, learning and development faces a difficult time. Skills evolve at such a fast pace that predictions into future are no longer meaningful. Business models are also becoming more complex, and employees seem to have much more responsibilities than before. Delivering effective corporate learning to stay on top of the change is not easy. However, organisations could help themselves by trying to eliminate some of the traditional barriers in the learning delivery process. Here are a two common and often major bottlenecks that hinder rapid learning interventions and how to get rid of them.

Rethinking training needs analysis

One of the major bottlenecks in the corporate learning design process is the training needs analysis. The process itself is often too infrequent to respond to rapidly evolving needs. It’s also often reactive, rather than proactive. Finally, the common top-down approach where the L&D department assumes they could even have a chance at grasping the complexity of the roles in their organisation is outright infeasible.

The predicament that learning professionals know best when it comes to training needs analysis is causing more harm than good. In fact, people actually doing the day-to-day jobs often have much better visibility. Thus, learning professionals should leverage that visibility by polling for needs and crowdsourcing ideas. Further, to respond faster and enable rapid learning interventions, organisations need to go real-time. Learning data analytics can provide real-time insights into the skill gaps, competencies and training needs in the organisation. No more guess work and fabricated evaluation intervals, the company can see the learning as it is happening.

Redesigning the learning design process

At it’s current state, the learning design process seems to be a bit broken as well. In our experience, the lead times for developing learning materials can extend to 6 months or even a year for some organisations. A lot of this is attributable to the traditional and tedious development processes of learning. Initially, rapid eLearning tools emerged to combat this problem. However, even they still require quite long lead times. While everyone would like to develop a perfect product, most likely it’s not going to happen. Hence, it probably makes sense enable rapid learning interventions by more agile learning design.

Rather than perfecting and fine tuning the learning product for ages, you should start audience exposure already at the “minimum viable product (MVP)” phase. By involving employees and subject matter experts through a more user-centric design process, you can collect timely feedback and improve gradually. A more collaborative approach has the added benefit of potentially greater impact, as the involvement of the different stakeholders results in more personalised learning.

Actually, does the L&D even need to be the one designing content?

There are two things we’ve noticed with the emergence of the online economy. One, anyone can create content for global audiences. Two, there are endless amounts of content publicly available on the internet. Wouldn’t it make sense to leverage these?

How about enabling rapid learning interventions by flipping the paradigm altogether? Since your employees are the best subject matter experts anyway, why not have them create learning content for each other? Or how about leveraging what’s already out there and replacing time-consuming design with learning content curation? There are a lot of tools out there to power up these types of approaches and further customise learning. Here’s an example for curating interactive microlearning videos.

Does your organisation face challenges in deploying rapid learning interventions and responding to business needs? We may be able to help. Just drop us a note here.

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Towards a Modern Learning Culture – Enabling Digital Transformation

Modern corporate learning culture

Towards a Modern Learning Culture – Enabling Digital Transformation

With the current pace of change in the business environment, learning has become a major factor determining organisational success. While businesses – and learning and development in particular – are going through digital transformation, learning culture has emerged as an organisational success factor. Organisations that are learning at the speed of change are much more likely to survive in the hyper competitive environment. Therefore, we wanted to share some of the cornerstone elements of great learning cultures. While adoption of new technologies into the flow of learning remains important, there’s limited success to be had without a modern, agile learning culture.

A great organisational learning culture needs the whole organisation

Great learning cultures don’t emerge without buy-in and commitment from all levels of the organisation. It starts from the leadership. Signing off on projects and writing checks for the L&D team is not enough. Rather, the leadership must become actively involved in the learning processes and champion change initiatives. Furthermore, it’s important to integrate learning into the workflow and day-to-day operations. This requires commitment from the line managers. Finally, you need the employees to actually take advantage of the learning opportunities you provide to them.

But how would you go about accomplishing this? Firstly, a data-driven approach to learning should help you to link learning to performance, communicate its importance and secure commitment for learning from your leaders. Secondly, learning analytics will also help you to communicate the behavioural impact on people to line managers. If you demonstrate that you can make operations more efficient through learning, you won’t have a hard time securing commitment. Finally, you can work to ensure learning uptake by your employees through collaborative approaches. Switch traditional top-down learning design methods to more learner-centric ones. A great learning culture should attempt to provide personalised learning opportunities to each employee.

Great learning cultures embrace inclusivity and equal opportunity

If organisations want to truly engage their employees with learning, they should adopt an inclusive approach to it. By providing inclusive and equal opportunities of learning for all employees, regardless of their place in the organisational chart, you are making a big statement. Instead of treating learning as a pastime of a select few, you’re letting your people know that they’ll have all the opportunities they need to develop within the organisation.

Naturally, it’s not feasible for commercial enterprises to sit their employees in training on a free-for-all basis. However, digital learning delivery provides a great way of giving everyone equal access to learning – without jeopardising productivity. Thus, the employees who want to develop themselves can do so, at their own time and pace. A commitment to opportunities across the board goes a long way for developing a great learning culture.

Empowerment is key for all learning initiatives

If you don’t empower your employees, you’re not going to stay competitive. That applies to learning and development as well. There are two primary means for empowering your learners to succeed.

First, you need to start curating learning on your employees’ terms. All organisations engage probably engage in some sort of training needs analysis. Yet, only very few really make their employees a part of the learning process at the design stages. Failing to do that usually result in learning interventions that are of questionable relevance, and may even fail to address the real problems. Hence, we highly recommend adopting a co-creation approach to learning design. Make your employees an integral part of the process; use their expertise, subject matter and knowledge of the day-to-day jobs to design truly impactful learning experiences.

Second, the perhaps even more important factor to learning culture is making sure your employees can also apply the learning. When advising companies on learning transformation, we’ve found out this is a problem that not even many organisations are aware of. They may be producing very high quality learning experiences, but the employees may remain unsatisfied. When surveying the employees independently, we often find out they feel they don’t have reasonable means of applying the things learnt. This could be due to corporate culture, lack of line manager commitment, office politics or fear of going out of one’s comfort zone. That’s fundamentally an appalling situation, since no matter how the L&D team tries to twist it, there’s just no learning ROI.

Conclusion

Overall, the learning culture of an organisation is at the core of determining the success of learning- and digital transformation. To us, the importance of culture even exceeds that of the learning technology stacks. You may invest in all state-of-the-art tools, but if you don’t empower and engage across the organisation, you’re likely not to see much in terms of results.

Are you aware of the real barriers to learning in your organisation? Do you need advise on digital transformation of learning or nurturing a learning culture? If yes, feel free to contact us for consultation.

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Flipping Corporate Learning – Reinforcing Behaviours & Performance

Flipped learning approach for corporates

Reinforcing Behavioural Change And Performance Using Flipped Learning In A Corporate Context

 

This article was first published on eLearning Industry, and we have modified it slightly since. You can access the original article here

One of the main challenges in corporate L&D today is sustaining behavioural change and performance. Ultimately, most learning activities are done to facilitate some sort of change. Yet, when it comes to applying the knowledge and skills learned from a blend of learning activities, the learners often feel left alone. Thus, they haven’t got enough practice, exposure or opportunities to actually start behaving in a new way. A lot of these are attributable to the tendency in the corporate L&D space to focus too heavily on knowledge delivery. When undergoing the paradigm shift from knowledge-focus to a performance-focus, adopting flipped learning in a corporate context is a good approach.

What Is Flipped Learning In A Nutshell?

Flipped learning is an approach that the education world has been adopting for the past 10+ years with great success. Initially, the approach was developed on the notion that direct instruction does not work terribly well in a group setting, while activities and ‘homework’ seemed to produce more results with the social group context. Therefore, educators started experimenting with bringing direct instruction (‘lectures’) into the individual learning space, whereas they brought practice, discussion and reflection (‘homework’) back to the classroom.

Fast forward to the corporate world in 2018, where learning has largely taken a blended and increasingly digital approach. Many organisations have all the latest tools when it comes to Learning and Development. Yet, almost equally many are struggling in translating the learning to actual changes in behaviour and improved performance. In most cases, the fundamental problem is the way companies structure learning experiences. Generally, companies choose an overly knowledge and content–focused approach over more learner-centered design. What could be a potential solution? Try flipping the learning paradigm.

How to design flipped learning experiences in a corporate context?

The overarching goal of flipped learning in a corporate context would be to deliver knowledge in a scalable way at the point of need while maximising the behavioural and performance impact through the efficient use of the “expensive resources” (face-to-face). And here’s how you could get started with a flipped learning approach.

1. It’s important to take a two-fold approach to learning “content”

 You should start by identifying what types of instructional, knowledge-focused content you have. These may include videos, presentations, storyboards, webinar recordings, manuals, documents, and handbooks. You should curate these types of content into a self-paced digital learning experience where learners can consume the knowledge at their own pace. Ultimately, you may consider using digital means for delivering all knowledge-based content and baseline subject matter.

2. You need to re-define the role of the traditional classroom

Instead of delivering knowledge, face-to-face training activities should consist of deeper discussions, simulations, group activities and practice. Naturally, you should design the activities according to the behavioural goals you want to achieve with learning. If you’re doing sales training, the behavioural objective might be to adopt a new selling approach in hopes of increasing sales by X%. In such an example, the activities might consist of sales meeting simulations, group practice pitching, workshops, and personalised coaching. Similarly, for technical training, you should use the face-to-face time to get the learners’ hands dirty and let them experience tools and methods in practice.

3. You should always continue to facilitate learning after the “classroom” sessions

Due to resource constraints and requirements for scalability and efficiency, this is where it often pays for corporates to move back to digital platforms. You can use different digital learning tools for feedback, as well as engaging in instructor-led facilitation, collaboration, and social learning. Ultimately, it’s important to engage the learners over time to keep the learning on their minds, establishing that cognitive presence. Furthermore, you should also give the learners access to performance support; resources designed to help them succeed on their jobs.

Naturally, you can expand upon this cycle, depending on the training topics and success of the learning initiatives. The important thing is to create a risk-free environment for the learners to practice, engage and experience – especially during the face-to-face sessions.

What Are The Potential Benefits Of A Flipped Learning Approach In Corporate Context?

Ok, you’ve got this far. Now let’s look at why this would actually work in the corporate context. Here are a few benefits we are seeing with a flipped learning approach:

  1. The focus is on performance
    The face-to-face activities and post-session facilitation should be all about reinforcing behavioural change and providing tools for increasing performance, which is what ultimately matters. Thus, you’re wasting less time on nice-to-know things and knowledge-not-being-applied.
  2. Increasing the scalability and efficiency of “knowledge delivery”
    By transitioning the knowledge delivery component into digital formats, you can do more with less. Learners can take the first steps of the learning journey at their convenience.
  3. Increasing efficacy and efficiency of face-to-face learning
    You’re using the expensive face-to-face training hours to support real change through practical activities, not just delivering knowledge passively. You’ll be able to deliver greater impact with potentially fewer resources.
  4. Increased learner-centricity
    In a flipped learning approach, learners are able to consume and digest knowledge at their own pace. Furthermore, the new activity-based, face-to-face sessions provide better opportunities for more personalised learning support, as trainers are not wasting their time lecturing.
  5. Encouraging active learning
    A flipped learning approach generally encourages and facilitates a more active involvement and engagement of learners, which translates to improved learning results.

All in all, flipped learning is an approach that makes a lot of sense in today’s corporate L&D. Increase in knowledge alone has little ROI if it doesn’t translate into behaviour and performance. However, flipped learning provides a way of delivering activities to support the behavioural change while retaining efficiency thanks to the blended delivery.

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Digitalising Onboarding Programs – 3 Ideas for Increased Impact

Digital onboarding programs

Digital Onboarding Programs – 3 Ideas for Better Experiences

Onboarding programs and new employee orientation are generally areas that follow a common pattern. Companies hope to give learners all the information they need to get from 0 to 100 in the least time possible and to become a part of the community. However, the effectiveness of orientation programs in their traditional format suffers a lot because of one simple thing – cognitive overload. New employees joining a company are already anxious, just because they are coming to a new environment. In this situation, many companies take the silly path of trying to drop as much information to the new guys as possible – and expecting them to retain some! As you may guess, the retention with this approach is not great. Could digitalisation help to solve some of the problems with onboarding programs? Here are 3 ideas for digital onboarding programs.

How about Blended Onboarding Programs?

Naturally, the fundamental nature of onboarding – welcoming an employee to the workplace – cannot warrant a fully digital approach. People still need to be present. However, a blended learning approach to onboarding could help to provide a better experience. The usual company “starter kit”, comprising of company information, benefits, policies etc. can be easily digitalised. There’s no valid grounds for wasting time in the traditional classroom setting for these types of things. Rather, developing these starter kits into a digital onboarding programs helps to free up time. You could then use this free’d up time for e.g. networking sessions and inspirational speeches that build and demonstrate the company culture.

You can also use Augmented Reality (AR) for onboarding programs. Click here to find out more. 

Delivering the necessary knowledge as “performance support”

Let’s face it. Most of the contents of non-digital or digital onboarding programs are things of little interest to the employees. Until they need the information that is. Things like policies and company guidelines seem totally irrelevant and unnecessary on the first day. Yet, later on, employees could benefit to convenient access to this type of information. Hence, it could make sense to deliver the content in a format optimal for performance support and learning in the workflow. Think of the information as microlearning nuggets to be consumed at point of need. You’re ultimately saving up a lot of time for your employees both old and new, while increasing flexibility and convenience.

Enabling Social Presence through digital communities

Social presence, the feeling of being a part of something, is terribly important both from an organisational and learning standpoint. Digital communities and social learning tools provide a great way of engaging your new employees already before they come in on their first day. By enabling new joiners to start creating their own profiles, introducing themselves and learning about their new colleagues, you can alleviate a lot of the pressure and social anxiety that happens on the first day. When there is less anxiety, the onboarding process will be a lot smoother. Great digital onboarding programs should always include a social element since one of the most important parts of the process in the networking.

Also, you can leverage the opportunity to let the new joiners voice their opinions and expectations, as well as collect feedback from them. This way, you’ll be able to identify potential challenges ahead of time and intervene accordingly.

Would you like to take your onboarding and orientation activities to the digital era? We can help you accomplish that. Just contact us here and we’ll get back to you. 

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