The problems of sustaining learning and development
It wasn’t too long ago that I was faced with the idea that training doesn’t work. Of course it works, I told myself. But the nagging feeling that maybe everything I was doing was wrong or insufficient continues to bother me.
If you’ve been in learning and development for a while, you’ll come to the conclusion that the answer to employee development is all about training. However, there are other areas that are not necessarily about training that can still develop employees effectively. One of them includes the use of innovation to create future-oriented think tank projects. Another might include the use of facilitation and coaching to take performance to a higher level.
In all these strategies for the development of people within organizations, business training has become one of the most sought after, but it is also plagued by multiple problems. First, most participants are not even told why they are attending a training. This is a problem. The key is in the ability to frame once the need of an employee. Whether or not it is a 360 degree assessment or simply part of a development process, it is essential that learning and development professionals and employers in general highlight why it is important for training to take place.
Now, what is done is to train at least the second problem. Memory. Not everyone can remember what was discussed in a training session. If you were to record and transcribe an entire eight hour training program, it would only add up to 160 pages of somewhat repetitive information. From a bird’s eye view, it is very likely that such information could have been for him and treated with greater precision. I know this because I often transcribe hours of my own lectures thinking that I would have gotten great nuggets of information. What I often find is that due to diversions, interjections, humor, relationship building, much of the information is lost. What could be done in three hours instead in eight. This requires greater precision in the design of the programs. Over the years, I have found that deliberate design and collaboration with learning and development professionals make the program that much better on any given day. What will be even better is that this design is covered in greater detail. This leads to the question: are we spending more time when corporations are already trying to cut training hours? Our opinion, we believe that online learning is going to be the next big wave in change that has already occurred.
Digitization and blended learning solutions are often the way to go so that people can not only have an external brain on the computer, but also be able to remember information and improve that understanding through discussion within some kind of platform. Forums, wikis, blogs, these are all approaches that have been used before within organizations to manage knowledge that is so vast and disparate. Besides this, I would like to recommend something else.
If you have not heard of gamification, you will have missed the opportunity to use human motivation in digital learning processes. One of the most exciting ways one can reward learning is through the use of complex games. For example, you can simply encourage basic activities like logging in daily. From a more advanced perspective, it might be better if the participants could provide a meaningful contribution within those discussions, fully and manually assessed by their instructor. From an even more advanced perspective, participants will need to submit videos or discussions in the form of a thesis that will allow their instructor to determine that they have the correct prerequisites to achieve a better understanding of the concept, or even a higher level of proficiency. The only way to do this is to have a system that allows communication between the instructor and a large number of geographically dispersed employees.
These days, learning management systems cannot achieve these types of results cost-effectively. Instead, a new form of learning management system is beginning to evolve. These LMS are solely intended to host content and enable the consumption of such content. You could even say that the course promotes itself by trying to sell itself through different touch points within the system. Furthermore, advanced gamification processes can be used to encourage participation, contribution and even presentations. This type of work sample is not only useful in determining who is valued as a problem solver within the organization, it is also useful in the hiring and selection process. After all, we all know that resumes make up less than 10% of valid new hires!
From recruiting and hiring to learning and development, new systems are needed to create more productive approaches to employee development. This implies the need for a better and more robust LMS. It includes the need for online coaching, performance feedback, as well as monitoring accountability. These are not available in traditional LMS. The future is sailing well for technology: There are many new forms of technology that investigate corporate social interaction and key motivations such as power, affiliation, and achievement, as described all those years ago by psychologist David McClelland. Perhaps, the new phase of learning and development needs to include design from the perspective of psychological motivation, using the concept of gamification and high-quality contextualized e-learning.