Start Strong Before Learners Enter the Training Environment
Learning is not a one-and-done process that can be accomplished in a single training course. Talent development professionals have emphasized this for many years. But do business clients understand this?
In “Focus on Moments That Matter in Employees’ Learning Journeys,” Marek Hyla, Ariel Wrona, Grzegorz Plezia, and Natalia Kmieć-Braun lead readers through six moments that matter in corporate learning: learning inception, immersion in the development environment, interaction with the master, integration with learning content, practice of new skills, and successful implementation of new behaviors.
Partnering for SuccessIt’s key to understand that talent development professionals can’t make learning happen alone; they can’t facilitate learning solely with the learner either. Rather, managers, leaders, peers, and even customers need to be involved.
This process begins with learning inception. “The learning inception moment onboards and prepares participants to start their learning journey,” the authors outline. They go on to say, “It involves activities that influence their motivation toward learning by creating a perception of meaningfulness of the entire experience based on relevance, timeliness, and instant applicability of new behaviors on the job.”
Learners gain a sense of purpose from managers, who help explain how the learner will benefit from their job; senior leaders, who stress a learning culture; and peers, who support and assist their co-workers when feasible.
Learning Environment, Actors, and ContentTo enhance learning, an L&D leader must take many factors into consideration, from the space and temperature of the training room (if applicable), to how learners interact with each other, to the pace of training and skill level of learners.
It’s important to ask:
- Do learners feel supported vis-à-vis learning-related issues?
- Do they feel their trainer is well prepared and has expertise in what they are teaching?
- Do learners feel they have enough time to internalize learning messages?
Practicing New Skills and Implementing New BehaviorsEmployees, of course, don’t attend a training session—either in person or online—and suddenly become experts at a skill. New skills require learners to revisit material, practice, and fail before they become adept.
As L&D professionals, we should ask:
- Do learners have opportunities to practice new skills in the flow of their daily work?
- Do managers support them in adopting new behaviors?
- Are their teams and organizations supportive of knowledge sharing?
Answering these questions helps us assess if learning is useful and lasting.
New Approach to Learners and LearningIn many fields, we’ve seen new approaches to interacting with customers and clients. L&D professionals can learn from salespeople who consider the customer experience and journey. The authors also pose these sales-inspired questions:
- Why and where are we losing learners along the learning journey?
- How can we make the learning experience more memorable?
- How do we find motivational bridges among various learning interventions?
Learning EffectivenessAs talent development leaders, we’ll be more effective if we consider the entire behavioral change process. We can liken this way of thinking to the notion that employees bring their whole selves to work.
Learners are not going to be their most productive selves if they’re not feeling well or are distressed for personal reasons, nor are they going to learn if they’re tired or worried.
If learners don’t have the support of their managers and peers, they’re not going to turn out their best work products or grow in their roles.
If they don’t feel that their work is valued, they won’t put their heart into it. The same is true for learning.
We have many touchpoints to optimize growth opportunities, but it requires thinking and planning to make each moment matter.