Never before has it been so easy to create, implement, or measure effective learning in your workplace. If you’re trying to inaugurate an L&D program at your office—or better yet, if you’re exploring how you could do it yourself—here are five learning philosophies to steer you in the right direction.
Training is an important function of any L&D program. People need to know how to do their jobs. But training is not the use case around which you should seek to build your learning program. That distinction goes to long-term development. Think of training as the preparation it takes to hit short-term performance goals. Development, meanwhile, is all-encompassing career growth. It’s how work gets done smarter, both tomorrow and in the future. Development also helps engage and retain the best people, since it’s the most coveted job perk today—more than cash bonuses or retirement benefits. Training, onboarding, compliance, and performance support are important uses of L&D. But development is your north star.
There’s a misconception out there that it’s difficult to assess the efficacy of an L&D program. Reject that idea. Learning is essential to employee performance improvement, and employee performance is judged by whether goals are hit or not. Therefore, you can assess the efficacy of your learning program the same way you already assess employee performance. Ask tough questions: are people hitting their goals easier now than before? In what areas has performance improved and not improved? Hold your learning program accountable to the same standards to which you hold your people. The effects will be transformative.
People don’t have to enjoy a learning experience in order to benefit from it. But if they don’t enjoy it, how likely are they to seek out learning on their own? Not very. That’s why continual performance improvement, which requires continual learning, only happens when you have high learner engagement. There’s so much out there for people to learn, all of it evolving so rapidly, that learning needs to attract people in order to occur with the necessary regularity. Bottom line: continual performance improvement only happens when people are excited to learn.
One of the most important functions of your new L&D program isn’t teaching people how to do things, but teaching them “how things are done around here.” From the onboarding process through managerial training, learning should be a driver and promoter of organizational culture. Culture matters to learning in a number of ways: culture makes work more meaningful (which makes people strive to perform it better), it establishes an ethic of learning inside the company, and it helps people feel positive about the prospect of long-term development in your office.
Your employees are busy people. They don’t have time for long content. Moreover, you don’t have the time or budget to plan elaborate, immersive learning interventions to ensure retention. With a learning approach built on microlearning—the process of learning with small, focused bursts of content—you not only cater to your learners’ short-attention habits; you also unlock a host of effective practice techniques like spacing, interleaving, and repetition. Power your program on the strength of microlearning. Learn more about microlearning here.
A learning program that harmonizes these five philosophies is one that will work and one that will scale. People will feel empowered, they’ll see the road ahead of them, and they’ll be speaking the same language. Don’t just set up a learning program. Set it up for success.
Want to learn more?
To learn more about Microlearning, download our guide Microlearning: The Modern Strategy for the Modern Workplace and start integrating Microlearning into your learning and development strategy.