There’s a lot written and spoken about what modern learning looks like. This ranges from how to develop better e-learning, how to use digital resources for learning and how to evaluate learning solutions effectively. What is clear from all of the opinions and thought pieces that people write about is that there is no right answer. There are insights we can learn from, but no one has a model that has answered all of L&D’s problems.
It can be easy to get lost in the writing and the conference circuit of all the things that we should be doing as L&D practitioners but don’t. And a certain part of me wonders, is the doctor taking their own medicine?
So here are 6 things that encompass effective learning solution design for the modern workplace.
Classroom Based Training
For as much as social technologies and digital technologies are changing the way people consume content, there is still very much a role for classroom based training. In fact, it’s role has become more focused now that we can curate and provide a range of content and resources on topics in ways we never could before.
The key is to ensure the classroom based training delivers something that isn’t possible through other means. When people are together in a training room, they want to hear from an expert, they want to gain insights, and they want to debate and discuss with one another in a way they couldn’t normally. The strength of classroom based training lies in the skill of the facilitator to deliver content that is otherwise inaccessible.
Curate digital resources and content
Most of you will be used to using an on-demand service like Netflix or Lynda.com or something like that. What they do amazingly well is that they give you access to everything about a topic or a programme and you choose how to consume that content.
Take that same thinking and apply it to the resources and content that would be useful to your learners. They are very used to reading digital content from blogs to news articles to videos to podcasts to infographics to all sorts. Curating these around topics of interest creates far better relevance for your learners and allows them to create insights and develop their knowledge independent of your direct input. Even better, give access to your learners to curate these learning resources as well as what you provide. Co-creation of content rocks.
Use smartphones in the classroom
Remember those days of when trainers / presenters / conference organisers would say things like “please put your mobile phones on silent or turn them off”. Imagine hearing that in modern learning environments – most people would challenge and question why. People are very comfortable using their smartphones for a variety of purposes, and instead of labelling them as objects which harbour the devil, why not embrace their usage?
It’s easy enough to do this by including their usage in things like:
- Asking people to search for content about specific knowledge pieces e.g. search for the GROW model when on a coaching session
- Asking people to take photos of flipcharts and slides to capture their own insights and learning
- Using a collaboration tool like Slack where people can comment and add their insights and learning as they’re having them
Create on the job learning aids
Most people have immediate needs for content and information that they can use to support their performance at work. They don’t want to wait for a learning course or complete an e-learning module to be better at their job. The simplest way for this to happen is creating on the job learning aids that gives people the information they need to get on and do their job.
And what’s the easiest form of job aid we know of? Checklists. And if you need something which captures nuance? Infographics.
In doing this, we help people access information quickly and with relevance without the need to take them away from their day job.
Get your business leaders to create their own digital learning
You know who’s great at producing high quality e-learning? Instructional Designers, UX Designers, and e-learning specialists. You know who’s great at producing high quality e-learning that’s relevant to your business? The people in your business.
Modern technology allows for people to create their own e-learning content with such ease that it doesn’t matter if it’s flashy and looks great. What’s better is if the content is relevant to support the job you need to do and develops your knowledge.
People do need guidance on how to do this. What does digital learning looks like? If it’s via e-learning, what are good principles to know and understand? How long should the content take to consume? How do they use the platform to do this?
Facilitate don’t present
A lot of people we work with are intelligent, smart people, and they’re capable of making their own insights about topics that they’re presented with. With this in mind, adapt your training delivery to move from a place of presenting knowledge to a place of facilitating insight.
Give people information, make sure they understand it and then create an environment where people can discuss and debate amongst themselves so that they use their big brains. By doing this you recognise them as individuals, acknowledge their experience and knowledge and craft your skills as being a facilitator of knowledge.
Use this piece as a way to help you think about the multitude of ways that you can add value beyond typical and traditional learning solutions and interventions. There are more options available than I’ve written about – I’ve just chosen some areas where we can definitely adapt and learn more about what those things offer. Please do share your comments on this piece and let me know how it helps you think about what you could do or indeed already do.
Sukh Pabial is a learning and organisational development leader. He is a guest writer for the Creative Huddle blog and runs his own consultancy, Challenging Frontiers.
Photo credit: Nicolas Vigier