What is Holistic Learning?

Written by Grovo

Holistic training is a method that prepares learners to succeed in real performance situations. By weaving together training content from multiple angles and in multiple formats, holistic training gives learners an immersive understanding of a topic. This leads to long-lasting gains in performance and learners who are capable of achieving a desired outcome through multiple approaches.

How does it work?

At the center of holistic training is the concept of performance. A “performance” is any outcome or result that’s achieved by an individual or a team, whether it’s giving a speech, hitting a sales number, or golfing a hole-in-one.

The goal of any good training program is to improve performance. Too often, though, performance gains are followed by quick declines. The reason is that most training does not truly prepare learners because it inadequately considers the realistic contexts in which a performance takes place.

Every performance situation takes place inside a reality within which it feels a certain way to perform. This is simply to say that performing in a real situation is different from practicing it in theory. For example, giving a speech in front of a large audience is different from practicing it in your bedroom. When you give the speech, there are many things that you feel during it that you wouldn’t necessarily encounter in rehearsal. In order to achieve a reliably good speech performance, you need to prepare in more areas than just knowing what to say. Will you be able to project your voice and convey the emotion of the subject? Will you be able to stand tall onstage? Will you handle stage fright? What kind of presentation equipment will you be physically interacting with? All of these and more contribute to the performance.

Holistic learning solves for this by distilling the realistic experience of the live performance into four distinct contexts in which you can design training: the Mission, Intellectual, Psychosocial, and Physical elements of performance. The goal of this training method is to get you performance-ready in each of these contexts:

  • Mission is your reason for doing the performance. It’s what you need to believe in order to execute it well. If you were performance-ready to give your speech in this context, you’ve probably committed yourself to delivering a persuasive and compelling speech. You’re motivated to perform because you believe in your need to do so.

  • Intellectual is the how-to or step-by-step knowledge of how to perform. In the speech example, this might be memorizing what the content of the speech will be.

  • Psychosocial encompasses how you and others will mentally, emotionally, and socially relate to the performance. You need to feel and express things yourself and be aware of — and ideally affect — how others feel about it.

  • Physical is what your body must do in order to perform optimally. To be in a state of performance-readiness in this context for your speech, you need to practice your stage presence and vocal projection, in addition to practicing with whatever equipment you’ll use to give the speech (like a clicker or a podium microphone).

Each of these contexts has further sub-contexts that allow the instructional designer to approach training in each context as comprehensively as possible. For example, the Intellectual context has five sub-contexts: metacognition (or how to learn how to learn), conceptual, how-to, best practices, and “in-practice.”

How does Grovo implement holistic training?

We facilitate holistic training in a few ways. First of all, our content library contains 5,000 video micro lessons built according to our proprietary microlearning methodology. These lessons are short and focused enough to make holistic learning possible. Our platform makes it easy to create, deliver, and track training, including allowing you to upload your own content and blend it with our library. Use our platform to set up instructor-led training (ILT) or “set and forget” training with our platform.

Best of all, Grovo’s account management team—the best in the industry—will dedicate a team to your organization to help you design a holistic program. This includes chunking up your content into bite-sized segments that can be delivered via the holistic method, or creating microcontent from scratch.

Here is an example of a sample learning track of micro lessons for how to “Use Stories to Engage Your Audience.” These would be used to train a learner in the Intellectual context of the topic:

The power of simulated immersion

By recreating a realistic context of the performance in training, holistic learning simulates immersion, thus preparing learners to excel reliably and permanently.

The best part of the holistic method is that it grooms everyone into elite performers, rather than just working for elite learners. By simulating immersion training in a scalable way, every type of learner can improve their performance.

Want to learn more?

Download our guide Microlearning: The Modern Strategy for the Modern Workplace to find out how microlearning fits into your learning and development strategy and enables your employees to thrive.