The traditional approach to learning journeys is no longer effective. Learning journeys have usually been designed to solve a leadership challenge over the course of a predefined time—six or 12 months, for example. But at DDI, we know that learning journeys must be comprehensive and continuous throughout a career and adapt to ever-changing leadership challenges. It’s important for organizations to evolve their approach to learning journeys and create learning journeys that support modern leaders in a fast-paced world.
What Is a Learning Journey?
Traditionally, a learning journey has been a unique plan founded on the challenges facing your organization and the most critical skills leaders need to achieve business success. It’s always been an intentional, linear path to meet a business, leadership, or learning need. And it’s sequential.
A learning journey has usually been designed for groups, cohorts, or communities of leaders. It takes place over time and incorporates a strategic mix of learning methods intended to meet the needs of today’s learner. It often begins with a review of relevant organizational and assessment data, business drivers, and the target audience’s development gaps. L&D teams can use this information as the starting point for designing a learning journey.
While many elements of the traditional definition of a learning journey remain true, it shouldn’t be completely linear. Learning journeys should be designed to help leaders solve broad organizational challenges, but it’s time to empower individual leaders to take a unique path, outside of or in addition to the linear one, to meet their personal learning or business needs.
Best Practices for Creating Effective Learning Journeys
Learn how to ensure your learning approach is continuous, personalized, and data driven; includes multiple modalities; and has senior leadership support—and why these best practices matter.
Effective Learning Journeys Are Continuous
Recall the traditional way of thinking about a learning journey: a waterfall of activities that’s a one-and-done event. It’s linear and preplanned from the start. But what we know after years of developing leaders is that the most effective learning experiences are continuous, as the learner gains newskills and discovers new areas they need to develop.
Learning journeys today evolve and adapt without a short-term end date. There may be an intentional starting approach, for example, a journey to upskill leaders to lead their teams in a hybrid workplace. The bulk of the learning may occur over a specific time frame, but there are also interactive, self-guided tools built in to sustain continuous learning.
In addition, a journey like this includes flexibility to start and stop, depending on a leader’s availability, and to choose a learning style that fits their needs.
Effective Learning Journeys Are Blended
We know from decades of surveying and talking with leaders that they prefer to learn using a blend of modalities, including a mix of classroom learning with self-directed options and development assignments. The magic is truly in the mix of modalities that work best for your leaders.
One thing we know as experts in learning and development is that people learn better when there’s variety to keep them engaged.
For more learning journey tips and best practices, read DDI’s blog.