How to Enable Mimetic Learning in Organisations?

Mimetic learning in organisations

How to Enable Mimetic Learning in Organisations?

While we have a tendency to over-estimate the learning value of formal learning activities (e.g. teaching a class), we tend to underestimate some other activities. Throughout human history, people have learnt trades, professions and skills through a much less rigorous approach, learning by imitation. This type of learning by “copying” others also occurs on much wider scale. For instance, learning how to deal with different cultures or social settings may often happen through imitation. But could there be value in enabling mimetic learning in modern organisations? Let’s explore.

What’s mimetic learning?

For definitions’ sake, let’s quickly define the term “mimetic learning”. To avoid misconceptions, mimetic learning shouldn’t be seen as to only consist of copying and imitation. Rather, we should view it as the act of relating to other persons, situations or “worlds” in a way that in turn leads us to improve our own views, actions and behaviours. In simple terms that would mean not just mindless copying, but first imitating and then critically implementing relevant behaviours.

Potential Value-add Cases in Organisational L&D

To understand how to facilitate this type of learning, we first have to understand what it may be good for. Here are a few ideas:

  • Learning practical or trade skills. For instance, novice engineers developing their technical skills could vastly benefit from being able to imitate and follow more seasoned experts. The better the knowledge transfer, the better the results.
  • Developing soft skills. For instance, new frontline employees in customer service roles could benefit from being exposed through mimetic learning opportunities to how senior employees approach and resolve conflicts and communicate in difficult situations.
  • Understanding culture. Each culture, whether an organisational one or something else, has its own artefacts, social rules and common behaviours. What a better way to learn about these kind of unique traits than through observation and learning by imitation?

How to facilitate mimetic learning in organisations?

Facilitating learning through imitation should be about providing opportunities for it and connecting “novices” to “experts”. There’s obviously a whole lot that can be done via traditional means. However, we’d like to focus on a few ideas involving the use of digital:

  • Digital communities of practice. Let novices follow experts via digital channels, while the experts showcase their techniques, methods and secrets through videos, writings, etc. Focus on practical applications. These digital communities of practice can have similar technical functionalities to social media platforms.
  • Enable curated sharing on organisational level. What if an employee thinks that they have a better, novel way of doing a particular task? What if you let them share it across the organisation to make more people aware of it? Don’t want to spread false practices? You can always curate and moderate what employees share.
  • Provide opportunities to practice. Encourage employees to take up new things and practice on their jobs. Have the experts chime in and watch over the process if possible. Perhaps even some digitally enabled coaching could be possible.
  • Enable wide exposure. Share things with your employees. A lot of the mimetic learning is reported by employees to happen thanks to “just being there”. Hence, expose your employees to different lines of business, problems and challenges as much as possible.

Final thoughts

Often, organisations fail to pay attention to a lot of the “natural” processes of learning, while focusing on a very narrow subset of formal, instructor-led techniques. Mimetic learning represents one of these highly natural ways of learning. While it’s hardly the solution for every learning need, it could help to solve some of the common organisational problems related to knowledge transfer and upskilling people on their jobs. The great thing is, that just like community-based learning or user-generated content strategies, facilitating people learning by “just being there” can be quite a low investment-high impact initiative. If you’d like to do that, or enable other methods of informal learning, feel free to contact us. Let’s try and solve your problem together.

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How to Facilitate Community-based Learning?

How to facilitate community-based learning cover

How to Facilitate Community-based Learning?

The general job of L&D could be defined as transferring knowledge from those who have learned to those who need to learn. However, a challenge is that no matter the resources available, an L&D team is never able to accommodate all the learning needs in an organisation. The business needs and skills required at work are simply too complex – and changing rapidly. But could we do more without adding traditional resources? Community-based learning is a strategy that aims to connect organisational experts to learners and cut away the clutter in between. So, let’s look at how leveraging learning communities could benefit your organisation.

What is community-based learning?

Like mentioned, a community-based learning approach aims to connect organisational experts to the learners directly. On one hand, this allows willing experts to share their knowledge in a convenient manner. On the other hand, it enables the L&D to “crowdsource” a large part of its traditional work. A practical application of this could be employees sharing their own expertise to colleagues through a medium of their choosing.

How does this benefit the L&D team?

The benefits of community-driven learning can be manifold. Generally, effective strategies follow a particular division of labour. The L&D function tends to handle high-intensity, high-cost initiatives, whereas the community contributions tend to be more “long tail”. Regardless, organisations employing community-based learning strategies may see the benefits such as:

  • Much broader offerings of learning, without huge increases in direct cost
  • Better visibility to changing learning needs in the organisation
  • Increased collaboration opportunities, as people become aware of each other’s work and projects
  • The ability for the L&D team to focus on high-impact activities

How can we facilitate community-based learning in an organisation?

While there are many solutions to a problem, and you should always take your organisational culture into account, we’ve seen two distinct enablers for community-driven learning.

Firstly, since the idea is to match subject matter experts (SMEs) with interested learners, you need a some sort of marketplace. Within that marketplace, SMEs can share their knowledge and offer their expertise to others. The actual “delivery” of learning can take many forms (workshops, short talks, digital content etc.), but the important thing is to make it available. If the employees don’t know that the opportunity exists, they can’t take up on it.

Secondly, you need to embrace user-generated content. Combining the above marketplace method with easy tools for content development can really enable a great offering with good efficiency. From a resource constraint perspective, it doesn’t necessarily make sense for the L&D team to intervene even in the instructional design phase, if you can guarantee an acceptable base level of quality. By enabling the SMEs to freely generate and publish digital learning content, you unlock significant scalability. There are a lot of platforms out there enabling the users to seamlessly and quickly generate content. Then, naturally, if such community-generated learning program becomes a resound success, the L&D team might step in to optimise and add to the learning experience.

Final thoughts

Overall, community-based learning as a strategy has a lot to offer. However, implementing it successfully requires the L&D team to relinquish some of its control. Fundamentally, it’s about enabling learning by connecting people. And the funny thing is, that these more informal and collaborative learning activities might even be much more effective than conventional classroom training or eLearning courses. If you’d like to give community-based learning a try, or find ways of leveraging user-generated content in your learning strategy, we can help. Just contact us here.

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How to Use Social Analytics in Organisational Learning?

How to use social analytics in organisational learning

How to Use Social Analytics in Organisational Learning?

Nowadays, the HR and L&D functions of organisations are increasingly data-driven. Many employ analytics to aid in decision making processes and to try to analyse e.g. the effectiveness of learning initiatives. While there’s a lot of ways to use learning analytics, we found that organisations are underutilising a particular type of data. While digital learning platforms increasingly come with social features (walls, blogs, news feeds, etc.), not many are yet paying attention to how people use these social elements, and the potential implications for the organisation. Thus, here are three cases for using social analytics in organisational learning.

1. Measuring interactions between learners

If we want to understand learning on a holistic level, it’s important to also understand it granularly. Hence, one good use of social analytics is to analyse interaction between the learners. Some example data points for these interactions could be:

  • How many times was a particular piece of content or user submission liked/shared?
  • The number of comments that a post or a piece of content attracted
  • How often/for how long are users interacting with each other?

The first two examples above could help you to understand what kind of content works the best or sparks the most discussion. The latter one could help in understanding how people collaborate with each other.

2. Measuring the quality of interactions and organisational influence

Naturally, quantitative data only gets us so far and it’s important to understand the quality of the “social” as well. Empty comments that don’t contribute to the discussion are not likely to create value. Hence, organisations could consider using semantic analysis, powered by NLP algorithms to gauge “what” is being talked about, and whether the social discourse is contributions or just mere commenting. The benefits of semantic analysis are two-fold. It may, again, help you to spot problem areas in your content (e.g. when learners need to clarify concepts to each other). But perhaps more importantly, it can provide you information on who are the “contributors” in your organisation.

Also, it’s important to understand “who” are interacting and “how” they interact. This level of analysis could be helpful in determining organisational influence. Who are the individuals with networks across the organisation, or liked by their peers, or helping everyone. These people may even go unnoticed if not for the social analytics, but maybe they could be among the future leadership potential in the organisation. Even if not, there’s a good chance that these may be local opinion leaders that you could utilise to execute your strategy in the future.

3. Sourcing ideas and innovation from the ground up

Finally, a potentially highly impactful application of social analytics is in sourcing information, ideas and innovation from within your own organisation. Often, the people doing a particular job have a lot of ideas on how to improve. It’s just that these ideas rarely reach the top, due to organisational layers, bureaucracy, culture etc. Could we help in that?

With social analytics, you could effectively set up hidden knowledge collection tool. By analysing discussions/sharing/likes around content or user submissions, you could establish a direct flow of information from the line of duty all the way to the decision makers in the upper echelon’s of the organisation. The decision makers would see what kind of work practices/ideas/methods gain the most traction, and then find ways of replicating them across the organisation. On a technical level, such flows are not hard to set up. Mostly, you just need quantitative data, or a combination of quantitative and semantics, depending on the case.

Final words

All in all, there’s a lot of under-utilised value in social analytics for workplace learning and organisational development purposes. As learning is fundamentally a social experience, this data helps in understanding the learning that is taking place. So, as you’ll get deeper into the world of learning data, don’t just focus on the traditional metrics like course completions etc. A more social data set might provide much better insights. And if you need help in social learning or hidden knowledge collection, we can help. Just contact us here.

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5 Lessons from Cognitive Science for Corporate Learning

Cognitive Science for Corporate Learning

5 Lessons from Cognitive Science for Corporate Learning

Design matters. That’s true for many things, corporate learning being one of them. However, the research foundations of learning design can sometimes seem ambiguous. There’s also a lot of invalid information and “myths” (e.g. “learning styles”) floating around. While there’s a lot of talk about neuroscience, that’s still too new of a field for us to comprehend. Therefore, it might be useful to remind ourselves of the things we already do know. Thus, here are 5 lessons from cognitive science for corporate learning design.

1. Make connections with the learners’ prior experience and knowledge

First of all, it’s important that we enable the brain to form the new connections required for learning. Thus, we should guide the learners into putting the newly learnt into context with what they already know. But it’s also possible to flip that around. With a proper use of learning analytics, we can understand that knowledge and those experiences beforehand, and then design the learning accordingly. These types of personalised learning experiences come naturally with a higher contextual value and effect.

2. Facilitate the whole cycle of learning

The second lesson from cognitive science for corporate learning is that we should always facilitate the full cycle of learning: absorbing information, active testing, reflection and creation. Hence, learning must not be just passive slide decks and multiple choice questions. Rather, we should be encouraging and inviting reflection at all stages. We’d also probably be better off ditching some of the mundane multiple choice trivia questions for something a bit more intellectually stimulating. Finally, we should ensure there are opportunities to ‘create’ and put the newly learnt into practice. With the modern type of learning in the workflow, that already happens more naturally, but not all learning can take place like that.

3. Put your attention on attention

In cognitive science, attention as a cognitive process acts as a prerequisite for everything else. Without attention there can be no perception, learning etc. Thus, it’s important that we gain and hold our learners’ attention, and also help to refocus it where necessary. This is what the discussion about learning engagement is all about. To combat the loss of attention, you should design learning that is interactive and interesting. To achieve that, you could use mediums like animations, interactive videos or simulations and take advantage of methods like storytelling. You should also make sure your learning materials direct the learner adequately on where to focus.

4. Enable social engagement and interaction

However, that one type of engagement is probably not enough. Rather, you should also find ways to incorporate social engagement in your learning design. Discussions, sharing, mimicking and shared experiences are all integral components of the learning process. In a classroom setting, enabling these means shifting the focus from the trainer to the learners. In a digital environment, it means shifting focus from delivered content to co-created information. Overall, there are a lot of tools out there to facilitate this type of interactivity and social presence in learning. Look into it!

5. Engage a maximum number of senses – start with visual

While the notion of learning styles has largely been proven false, there are some things that seem to hold true when it comes to learning design. Research in cognitive science and aligned fields indicates that multi-sensory learning improves efficacy. The more senses you can activate, the better the learning results – roughly speaking. Furthermore, it seems that the visual element is of great significance. Thus, you should look into many more mediums than just conventional classroom instruction or those “eLearning slide decks”. You can start small and gradually make your learning experiences more visual and then go on as far as activating touch and motion with e.g. augmented reality.

Overall, we should pay more attention to cognitive science in corporate learning. By understanding what makes learning work, we already get so much closer to designing great learning experiences. And remember, if you think you might need help in any of this, we’re here for you. Just drop us a note.

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How to Support 70:20:10 with Learning Technology?

How to use technology with 70:20:10?

How to Support 70:20:10 with Learning Technology?

If you have a job in professional- or corporate learning, chances are you’ve come across the 70:20:10 framework. Hopefully, you have even explored the framework’s meaning and perhaps even implemented in your own learning strategy. The companies who do tend to be successful! Whatever your experience, the framework is today more relevant than ever. The advent of technology, on one hand, enables us to facilitate a 70:20:10 strategy much better. On the other hand, it also forces us in that direction. Thus, we thought it would be good to look at how technologies can help you to get there.

Quick recap of the 70:20:10

The framework is prevalent and big. So big that there’s even an institute for it. The framework indicates that workplace learning takes place in 3 different ways:

  • Formal learning such as training sessions and eLearning courses (the “10)
  • Social learning, such as discussions, coaching, mentoring and personal relationships (the “20”).
  • Experiential learning, such as on-the-job learning, challenging assignments and discovery within workflows (the “70”)

While you can argue about the validity of the specific numbers until the day’s end, there’s a good consensus that the 70:20:10 provides a good approximation. Fundamentally, the framework orients us toward more performance focused learning activities.

But how could we use technology to support these 3 different aspects? Let’s take a look.

1. Using technology to support formal learning

Now this is probably evident to everyone out there, but we’ll spell it out anyway. We’ve been using technology to support and deliver formal learning experiences for a long time. Just think all those eLearning courses you have gone through. There are countless ways of doing it and it doesn’t have to be all digital. You should probably consider blended learning and flipped learning as well.

However, the thing to learn from the 70:20:10 framework is that the formal training activities shouldn’t happen in isolation either. Rather, they should be integrated into the larger workflow and built to support performance in various aspects. To enable this, you should consider learner-centric design methodologies to learning.

2. How to support social learning with technology?

When we jump to the 20 of the 70:20:10, things get a little more interesting. Traditionally, eLearning has done a terrible job in augmenting any social behaviours that normally take place in a classroom. However, that has changed with the advent of social media and the subsequently developed digital learning capabilities. Nowadays, most learning technologies come with social features that enable your employees to interact with each other.

Fundamentally, it’s about getting your employees to share and communicate in a natural and seamless way. Different learning technologies provide a great way to facilitate informal discussions and collaborate. You can also look into things like peer-to-peer learning and digital coaching. The technologies to support all these things out there, just make sure you determine carefully how you align them with the business. It’s all about the performance in the end.

3. How to support learning on-the-job with technology?

Learning on-the-job, or learning in the workflow is not traditionally something that L&D has done an excellent job on. That’s partly because the rules of the game are totally different. It’s not about courses. It’s not about classroom sessions. Rather, workflow learning is all about helping people succeed and improve their performance in a non-obtrusive manner.

Instead of intensive, lengthy activities or learning sessions, this 70% of the 70:20:10 consists of performance support resources, just-in-time learning and actual work projects (incl. stretch projects). All of this is focused on performance, hence results are easier to monitor. Data analytics also play a big part in capturing all this information, from point of need activity to behaviours and finally performance. Therefore, there is no role for traditional corporate learning objectives. Rather, the learning and the objectives needs to be designed with the business with clear performance impact goals.

Final words

Overall, the 70:20:10 is a valuable and relevant framework. If nothing else, implementing it should take you towards more performance-focused learning. Because if you cannot show the impact your learning has on the business, you cannot really demonstrate the value of the L&D function either. Then, you get cut out very quickly.

Today, technology is a great enabler for these new ways of learning at the workplace. While much of the informal learning (the 70 and 20 in 70:20:10) takes place naturally, you can really supercharge the effects with a bit of smart facilitation!

If you’d like to explore the idea of moving to performance-focused learning in the workflow, we can help you. Just contact us here.

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How to Incentivise Corporate Learning? 5 Quick Ideas

How to incentivise corporate learning?

How to Incentivise Corporate Learning? 5 Quick Ideas

While designing engaging learning experiences goes a long way, it’s likely that you may need a bit more to get engagement from your audience. You need to create the “pull” – whatever it is that keeps your learners coming back. Trying to push learning to unmotivated learners is a project doomed to fail. Even if you manage to activate them, the retention will be abysmal compared to their motivated peers. Thus, it’s important to create incentives that motivate all kinds of learners across the board. Here are 5 quick ideas on how to incentivise corporate learning.

1. Reward learning “streaks”

Learning in short bursts, over a period of time and multiple touch points generally gives out better results in the context of corporate learning. Thus, that’s the kind of behaviour you should try to encourage with your corporate learning incentives. Instead of rewarding the ‘fastest’ or the one who does the ‘most’ during a day, reward coming back. By rewarding learning streaks, e.g. consecutive active days, you’re encouraging recurring positive behaviour. By keeping the streak qualification thresholds low and the rewards real, you’ll avoid overwhelming your learners.

2. Give meaningful public recognition

Another way to incentivise corporate learning beyond the minimum required could be public recognition. After all, who doesn’t cherish to opportunity to showcase one’s achievements? However, the prevalent ways of social recognition, like badges and certificates are a bit dull. Yes, they do work to an extent, but they easily become such a commodity that they lose meaning. Thus, instead of quantity, you should rather focus on the quantity of the public recognition. This could take the form of e.g. a “learner of the month” type of recognition. The learner who has developed/worked/created/improved/contributed the most, could be showcased on intra-company newsletters, social media etc. The professional branding value of something like this would definitely interest a good number of your employees.

3. Use content easter eggs

Easter eggs are a concept used in the gaming world, and “an easter egg” is something hidden within the actual experience. To incentivise corporate learning, you could use content easter eggs to keep your learners coming back and keep a sense of mystery and buzz around it. You could hide e.g. funny videos, company specific memes, internal jokes or cultural artefacts within the content. Or if you want to stay serious, it could be even another layer of the actual learning content. By letting learners explore, stumble upon these kinds of things, share them and talk about them could help to create a lot of buzz around your corporate learning activities. Psychologically, knowing that there is something to be found will evoke us to search for it, even if we don’t know what exactly it is.

4. Use other hidden rewards

In similar fashion to the content easter eggs above, you can also incentivise learning through other hidden rewards. Instead of content, you could hide in artefacts that could with real-life benefits. For instance, you could stumble upon lunch coupons, half-days off, small gift cards, items to personalise one’s workspace etc. All of these are small things that don’t cost much but can go a long-way in keeping your learners coming back. Furthermore, as you’re the one controlling it, you can introduce things on the fly, e.g. to support company initiatives.

5. The house always wins – so how about a raffle?

If you find that small value incentives don’t work as well as you thought, you could revert the method. Study of human psychology has taught us that we prefer very low chances to earning high rewards than higher chances to earning lower rewards. You could use this psychological finding to your advantage and incentivise corporate learning through a ‘raffle’ or a ‘lottery’. For all the learning activities you choose, you could let your learners earn entries to a raffle or a lottery ballot. The more you learn, the more you earn. At the end of each month, or a year, or whatever time suits you, you could then raffle a major reward. Again, making it easy to participate (quick learning activities) and giving the chance of a good reward (e.g. a holiday trip paid by the company), you can create a lot of recurring engagement.

Overall, there a lot of cheap ways to incentivise learning in an organisation. While rewards are a necessity, they don’t have to be financial. By giving it a bit of thought and taking a few lessons from social learning and gamification, you can go a long way. If you need further help in designing corporate learning incentives, we are happy to help. Just drop us a note here.

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Social Learning Tips to Enable More Meaningful Discussions

Social learning tips enable better discussions

Social Learning Tips to Enable More Meaningful Discussions

Learning is largely a social process, whether we acknowledge it or not. Furthermore, your learners are social by nature. Thus, you should cater to that quality and enable learners to interact with each other during learning experiences. However, you shouldn’t expect any of this to happen automatically. Rather, it’s something that you need to enable and facilitate through technology and design. There are however a few good practices that we’ve compiled that you should look into. So, here are 3 social learning tips to facilitate better interactions.

Social learning tip #1: Encourage participation and contributions

Firstly, you should always encourage participation and contributions in your learning experiences. For instance, you can create initial engagement by having the learners introduce themselves and submit testimonials of their own experience with the topic. Overall, user-generated content can be a valuable driver to the overall learning activity. You should also think about different collaborative learning activities that your employees could engage in to bring a practical aspect to their learning.

You shouldn’t be afraid of constructive criticism either. By creating a safe discuss for argumentations and discussions, you’ll show that the discussions are not just for going through the motions. Similarly, you should never punish for inactivity on “being social” or introduce very strict success metrics of social learning. Commenting just for the sake of increasing one’s comment count doesn’t really contribute to anything.

Social learning tip #2: Keep the discussions with the content

No matter what kind of tools or social learning platforms you may use, you should try to integrate the social aspect into the natural flow of the program. Instead of having a separate forum or space for discussions, you should keep the interactions near the content. Annotations or different types of “social overlays/feeds” are a great way to do this. As your learners don’t have to move to a different “portal” or “page” to share their opinion, the discussions become more spontaneous. This results in a much more fruitful, relevant and to-the-point commentary, instead of manufactured posts on general topics.

If you’re using a lot of content with a playback content, such as videos or animations, it might be beneficial to time stamp the discussions. This way, comments e.g. on a video will appear as the video progresses. This even further improves the relevance and context of discussions.

Social learning tip #3: Initiate discussions and ask for comments

As you might guess from the previous section, totally free-form discussion is hard to evoke. Learners may refrain from commenting feeling that their experiences or thoughts might not be relevant or “right”. If that happens, you won’t be getting a lot of contributions.

Therefore, it pays to guide the discussions ever so slightly. While you shouldn’t censor discussions or restrict topics, you can discreetly point your learners to the items and topics you’d like them to discuss. For instance, deploy a few sample questions to start discussions at any point where you want to activate social interaction. However, remember to focus on quality as empty discussions are pointless. Thus, ask the learners for their own reflections and experiences on the learning topic instead of mundane things like whether they liked the content or not. Sharing of real opinions, ideas and experiences brings a lot more value not only to you, but even more importantly to the other learners.

Overall, you should attempt to make social interactions a seamless part of the learning experience. Forced and manufactured interactions don’t really serve a purpose. If you need help in designing better social learning experiences, contact us for more social learning tips and advise.

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How to Enable Peer-to-peer Learning in Corporate Environment?

peer-to-peer learning in corporate environment

How to Enable Peer-to-peer Learning in Corporate Environment?

Regardless of context, learning is much more of a social effort than we tend to think. People learn from each other, whether through mistakes, experiences, stories, testimonials or even straight-up coaching. While corporate learning remains largely a top down effort, you could save your L&D team a lot of trouble by enabling your employees to mentor and teach each other. As organisations are increasingly dispersed and filled with busy people, the issue might seem too big to tackle effectively. But that’s not the reality in most cases. And to demonstrate that, here are four different ways of facilitating peer-to-peer learning in your organisation.

1. Social learning platforms enable peer learning

In the past couple of years, social learning platforms have really risen up in the workplace ecosystem. While functionalities differ slightly, the logic and value proposition is real and clear. For a long time, the field of eLearning has completely neglected one of the most valuable aspects to the learning experience: interacting with other people. While this happens naturally in a classroom, often there hasn’t been even an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning while engaging with activities in a digital environment. Luckily, that has changed.

Social learning platforms enable discussions and sharing – the things peer-to-peer learning is all about – across geographies and organisational barriers. In the context of workplace learning, ultimately it’s not about the content. It’s about finding ways to implement the learning on the job. That’s where a community of peers can help a lot. Consider topics like leadership or managing a team. The topics tend to be quite abstract, but when you have someone sharing with you their experience of implementing such practices, you remove a lot of the barriers to implementation.

2. Skills Market Places for peer-to-peer coaching

In organisations, there are a lot of “hidden” skills that companies are not necessarily aware of. Nowadays as people change jobs and careers more frequently than ever, it’s more important than ever to tap into the increasingly diverse experience that our employees have. Establishing Skills Market Places can be a good way to support peer-to-peer learning and skills transfer organically within an organisation.

The idea of the skills market place is a rather simple: connecting people with specific skills to those who want to learn such skills. The people who have in-demand skills and are willing to teach others can indicate the subject matter that they’re good at. Similarly, people wanting to learn new skills indicate the type of skills they are looking to learn. Just drop in a bit of magic (and maybe a bit of tech to make things smoother!) and enable these groups of people to find each other. Let the employees manage the process, take control and engage in ways they see fit. Have them report back and analyse your data. As a side product, you’re much more likely to get an accurate view of your organisation’s skills map.

3. User-generated content is an untapped opportunity for peer learning in the workplace

As with the example of skills market places above, there’s a lot of valuable, tacit knowledge just sitting out there. Instead of sticking to the age-old and largely ineffective top-down training mantra, why not rethink the learning process? After all, it’s the employees who are the best experts at their jobs. They also know the organisational, functional, cultural and interpersonal barriers to implementing change and new behaviours in the organisation – something that even the management often has hard time grasping. Thus, they can generate content with unparalleled level of context and relevance.

As learning goes more into the workflow and shifts to on-demand resources, this type of user-generated content becomes increasingly valuable. It doesn’t necessarily need all the fancy bells and whistles. Often, the high context and relevance more than makes up for the extensive design work that we tend to opt for. Of course, it doesn’t have to be anarchy either, the L&D professionals should still keep control, facilitate the process and curate the content. But overall, the opportunity itself is too great to miss.

4. Collaboration tools enable peer-to-peer learning in the workflow

The fact remains that learning doesn’t only happens in classrooms or within learning platforms. Collaboration tools and platforms (e.g. Slack) are a true example of that. While not designed for learning, they provide a shared platform for employees to engage with each other. Discussion rooms, virtual workspaces, private chats along with the performance support are a great example of facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Whenever an employee encounters a problem with a project they’re working on, collaboration tools provide seamless and easy things to engage in the oldest modalities of learning – asking.

Sure, there are many ways to collaborate within the workplace. But when the workforce is increasingly flexible, short-tenured or even project-based, these kind of platforms increase in importance. We need to learn more than ever, but at the same time, it’s imperative to stay productive and not waste time in just-in-case type of learning activities. These tools not only help your people to work more efficiently, but also provide a great platform for learning from each other on the job, at the point of need.

Are you enabling peer-to-peer learning in your organisation? Are your digital learning resources and experiences still “unsocial”? We can help you with that. Just leave us a message here and we’ll get back to you.

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Rapid Skills Acquisition – Can Employees Learn Faster?

Rapid skills acquisition - train your employees faster

Rapid Skills Acquisition – Can Employees Learn Faster?

No one becomes a master overnight in anything. But when considering the context of workplace learning, do we really have to become masters? In most cases, the answer is no. When we introduce new skills and competency frameworks in the workplace, the bar is not that high. As long as the employee builds adequate knowledge to do the job better, the learning departments is happy. So, let’s look at rapid skills acquisition – the art of becoming competent in the least amount of time. Here are some fundamental factors that are important in rapid skills development. Additionally, we’ll outline ideas on how you can use a multichannel learning strategy to support your employees in the learning process.

If you want to read about rapid skills acquisition in more detail, we highly recommend you to look up Josh Kaufman and his book ‘The First 20 Hours’, from which this article also borrows from.  Here’s his shorter TEDx talk.

1. Setting the scope and aligning expectations

Skills are often very complex. Rather than being a large unity that you learn at once, they are more often comprised of small sub-skills that you can pick up gradually. Thus, it’s important to narrow down on the very specific (often sub-) skills that you want to learn. If your scope is too broad or lacks focus, you’re spreading your time over too many topics. However, rapid skills acquisition and learning do remain a very personal effort. Thus, we should look into the ways of personalised learning rather than trying to define skill-sets and competencies as an organisation.

In addition, it’s also beneficial to have access to experts to help in benchmarking the skill development path. An expert can help the novice to set expectations: how much could and should they learn in a given time frame? What constitutes competency on the topic? What’s the required level for working proficiency? Thanks to the digitalisation, expert access is easy. If you have experts within your own organisation, you could connect them to learners e.g. via social learning tools. If they are outside, you could curate a pool of experts and provide access to their material.

2. Building a resource library and diving in deep

For rapid skills acquisition – like any kind of learning – you need a baseline of knowledge and theoretical frameworks. Hence, you should compile a small library of learning resources that support your individual scope and goals. Consuming expert and high level material from early on can help in identifying the right learning paths to follow. Also, it will likely help to reduce a lot of the mistakes related to “learning the wrong thing”.

In the context of organisations, you could provide your employees with learning platforms that use artificial intelligence to curate content. Based on his preferences, experience etc. the learner would get an automatically curated library of content. If your learning platform can’t do that, you could (besides contacting us of course!) build something similar manually. Vetting and curating content helps your learners to identify the proper resources, reducing their downtime and increasing efficiency.

3. Practice and spaced repetition is key in rapid skills acquisition

In terms of learning new skills, practice goes far beyond passive learning in efficacy. Think about languages for example. You are very unlikely to learn a language without speaking it. However, you can develop very fast through immersion, where you’re exposed to the language and practice on a daily basis – with little to no “passive” learning! Likewise, when developing skills in corporates, what we really should do is to practice. Ironically, that’s where a lot of the L&D fails on the impact side too. When there’s not enough practice, employees don’t apply the newly learnt on the job due to uncertainty of themselves. For practice, there are a lot of potential tools like learning simulations, immersions, virtual- and augmented reality etc. But the best practice of course happens on a real job.

When you’ve settled with the modes of practice, you’ll arrive at another important thing. Practicing spaced repetition is instrumental for rapid skills acquisition. So, instead of trying to get perfect all in one go, you and your employees should spread out the effort. This lets the brain process the new information and form new neural links – and the effect is incredible.

Indeed, employees can learn faster. They just need the right environment for it. And when it comes to practice, a solid 20 hours will get you quite far, just like Josh Kaufman demonstrates.

Would you like your employees to learn faster? If so, are you providing them the right kind of environment to succeed in doing so? We can help you, whether that’s in digital platforms, content curation or learning strategy. Just contact us.

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Game-Based Learning for Corporates – Why and How?

game-based learning

Game-Based Learning for Corporates – Why and How?

Games have been a popular pastime as far as history goes. However, the reach of gaming amplified significantly with the introduction of computers, and later, mobile devices. Games provide a powerful medium to activate, engage and educate. However, game-based learning has only recently emerged in the context of corporate L&D. 

Before going further, it’s important to draw a clear distinction between gamification and game-based learning. Gamification refers to the implementation of game-like features in non-game settings, whereas game-based learning involves actual games. Whereas organisations have adopted gamification successfully across many areas, game learning has a narrower scope of implementation. However, that’s not to undermine it’s impact. Here’s why you should consider game-based learning in your organisation and how you can get started with it. 

Why does game-based learning work? 

  • Games encourage active learning – you cannot progress in games by doing nothing or being passive. 
  • Games motivate the learner – there’s a sense of progress supported by achievements, trophies, competition and social elements. 
  • Learning games provide both structure and freedom. Goals, stories and rules govern the game, but players have the freedom to play as they like. 
  • Games stimulate creativity as different types of tasks may require different solutions, problem solving and inventiveness. 
  • Games provide challenges – players can compete against themselves as well as other players, individually or in teams. 

How can I get started with game-based learning?  

Knowing the basics of games and why game-based learning works, here are a few tips on how to put it into practice. 

Firstly, evaluate the learning needs carefully. Learning games are by no means a solution to all situations. Acknowledging that, it’s highly important to focus on the learning goals and desired outcomes. It’s not difficult to engage employees with brilliant games. But if they fail to produce the desired learning and performance results, they end up being a waste of time. 

Secondly, you should utilise the whole potential games have to offer and not stick to a single “template”. Some games may be for individual completion, whereas others may require users to team up with their colleagues. You can also set games over defined periods of time, e.g. to support strategy implementation or business cycles. Playing the games can also happen both in physical and digital environments: some games may require moving about the office or the city, whereas some may be played exclusively in a virtual environment. 

There’s a lot of opportunity in learning games

Overall, game-based learning provides an endless amount of opportunities to engage and activate corporate learners. However, it’s important to keep the learning at the core of the game experience. Thanks to the long history of games, there’s also an endless amount of “features” you can implement in your learning games. So start exploring the mechanics of popular games and get creative on bringing those features into your corporate learning! 

Are you interested in trying game-based learning in your organisation? We can help you get started in activating and engaging your learners. Just contact us

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