With effective leadership development, employees at all levels can become better individual contributors and managers. But to get them there, you’ll need to figure out what behaviors they need to change and what will motivate them to do so. You’ll also need to provide a learner journey that helps them retain new knowledge and put it into practice. So, how can you create an effective learner path for your leadership development?
The Leadership Journey
Planning Your Journey
Before you begin planning your learner path, you’ll need to identify the gaps between your learners’ current behaviors and the behaviors you want them to have in the future. A needs analysis consisting of data gathered from your employees followed by an effective training plan will be helpful. These analyses can consist of interviews, site visits, focus groups, and surveys of information about your employees’ knowledge base, behaviors and skills, and motivation. In other words, a needs analysis can help you discover what your employees know, how they act, and what will motivate them to change.
Once you have a sense of which behaviors your learners need to change, you can begin planning out your learner path using performance mapping. Performance mapping takes information about learner knowledge, behavior, and motivation as well as information about what needs to change to increase performance and transforms it into training-specific learning objectives. Those learning objectives then define the training and performance management plan. From there, you can start to figure out an effective learner path.
The Learner Path
Now that you’ve analyzed your learners’ needs and figured out your learning objectives, it’s time to start breaking down your goals into smaller pieces to plan out your training and your learner journey. The most effective learner path will have a blended learning approach comprised of multiple training modalities such as web-based training, instructor-led training, mentoring, social learning, and self-driven reinforcement activities.
While considering your learner journey, it’s also vital to divide information into small, digestible pieces. Regardless of the size or timeframe of your training, remember to let your employees learn, practice, apply, and repeat.
- Learn: Provide information about a specific topic or skill.
- Practice: Let your learner practice their new skill in a safe environment, such as a simulation.
- Apply: Encourage your learner to apply their new skill in a real-life work environment.
- Repeat: Once your learner has mastered a more basic topic or skill, she can move on to more complex information and repeat the process.
When designing the leadership training for Communities in Schools (CIS), AllenComm created a learner path that used multiple modalities and divided information into smaller doses. The CIS training used both instructor-led and interactive web-based training so their budding leaders would encounter information in multiple ways, allowing greater retention of ideas. Additionally, the CIS leadership training allowed learners to practice new concepts in scenarios during the training then provided clear ways to implement new ideas at work.
When designing a learner journey, first plan ahead for your learner path: analyze your employees’ needs and build a performance map to define your learning objectives. Then ensure your learner journey includes a blended learning approach and divide information into small digestible pieces. Let your employees learn, practice, apply, and repeat. With an effective learner journey, you’ll help transform good managers into great leaders.