Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Avoiding the Death Valley in Workplace Learning

 Taruna Goel Photography
Taruna Goel Photography

Are you designing and delivering training but find that little or no learning is taking place. Are you trapped in the 'death valley' of workplace learning? Here are a few thoughts and ideas on how, as learning professionals, we can avoid the death valley in workplace learning and instead help sprout the seeds of learning, performance and change:

  • Let individuals take the accountability and responsibility for their own learning. Enable individuals to pull content at their moment of need rather than push content. Integrate learning into work.
  • Encourage individuals to unlearn before they learn. Support them as they let go of knowledge that has served them well. Help them find new knowledge and new ways of interpreting their existing knowledge.
  • Help individuals learn how to learn and enable them to be more self-directed in their efforts. Remind them that self-directed learning is more about autonomy and less about independence.
  • Help individuals move along their maturity continuum and support and guide them as they move from dependence to interdependence.
  • Don't rely only on courses and classroom training to create learning opportunities. Curate and share meaningful and relevant resources including websites, blogs, videos and a community of other individuals who are keen to learn and share.
  • Design structured reflective practices as a part of the learning experience. Relate reflection activities to performance outcomes and contextualize the activities to the learning process.
  • Step away from the know what mindset and start with the know how and know who mindset as a way to design useful learning experiences. Maximize the opportunities to learn by doing.
  • Defocus from smiley sheets, tracking LMS visits and checking off boxes and move towards measuring the real impact of learning by evaluating if and how the work performance has changed.
  • Say "Yes to the Mess" and be open to possibilities and the creative power of teams. Improvise with what you have and believe that something new and creative will emerge.
  • Promote a culture of continuous learning, trying out new things, experimenting with new ideas and embracing failure. Show individuals how to fail well.
  • Remind individuals about all the informal learning that takes place outside the classroom and help them make their own informal learning more visible by recognizing it, assessing it and encouraging them to share it with others.
  • Design and plan for transfer of learning to real-life to enable individuals to use the learning immediately and in the future.
  • Be an empathetic provocateur and question individuals in a supportive way. See yourself as both a facilitator and a partner in their learning journey.
  • Nurture and develop yourself as the seed for learning conversations and a integral node through which individuals can connect with content, peers and experts and develop their own personal learning network.