Cut through the noise
Shift your mindset. If you are responsible for developing teams’ skills, change the definition of your role from “creating learning events” to that of “building development continuums.” When you do, you will be able to enhance learning outcomes and regain lost training time. Building a development continuum requires designing a complete learning solution—one that prepares learners for the core course, provides multiple touchpoints to the body of content, integrates on-the-job application, provides support to learners after the core event, and taps into the frequently overlooked role played by learners’ managers.
Have you ever committed to do something for a friend only to have it slip your mind? Then, days or weeks later, a passing comment, commercial, or other trigger reminds you of it? And, even though you had every intention of following through, without the trigger it wouldn’t have happened?
Learners experience the same phenomenon—even in the best-case scenario, in which they appreciate the learning opportunity, arrive motivated, value the course material, and intend to use it. When they return to work, they get hit by all that transpired while they were in training and often lose sight of their implementation plans. Learning boosters can refocus them on their action plans and implementation strategies.
Which learning strategies provide the greatest return with limited training time? Which engage learners, but also enable personal reflection? Cause learners to work hard, but also play with purpose? Allow learners to fail in a safe setting, but also set learners up for success? These are not conflicting opposites. They are the mix of learning strategies that provide the greatest return in a limited amount of time—and, frankly, in any amount of time. How does an instructional designer remain true to these tenets?
It isn’t easy to create effective learning events. If it were easy, there would be little need for instructional designers—everyone would build their own learning events. So, your Word of the Day is andragogy, which was popularized by Malcolm Knowles in The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (Knowles 1984).
What do you already know of andragogy?
Do you recognize this post’s title as lyrics from Darius Ruker’s “For The First Time”? Maybe you are even in singing it in your head right now. I often sing the line to myself – mostly for the encouragement it provides me.
Personally, I want to live a life in which I have a quick and recent answer to “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” They don’t have to be grand-adventure-type answers, but they do need to provide me with new experiences, memories, or perspectives. Possibly even take me in new directions.
In preparing for a series starting this week, Staying Centered Through Conflict™, I wrote a note to the participants. Part of it read: “For me, conflict tends to arise in two categories: critical needs and inconsequential stuff. Our sessions will provide tools for managing the critical needs. The conflict that we classify as inconsequential stuff is perhaps best managed by recognizing it for what it is – annoying, a nuisance – and ignoring it. Our effort is so much better directed towards other things.”
In Same Training, Half the Time, I invite readers to expand on this excerpt from the book – a list of challenges that are driving increased demands on learning. Please share additional reasons from your experience in the comments of this post.
In my work with learning and development leaders, I commonly encounter professionals working hard to enhance other employees’ skills and develop them for the future of their positions. Yet, so often, that same effort isn’t invested in preparing themselves for the future. So, beyond mastering the fundamentals of the field, what is a L&D leader to do?
Here are five ideas to achieve more by doing less based on two themes I consistently hear from learning professionals.