LAS is an award-winning provider of bespoke elearning design and development, consultancy and training services in the UK and internationally. We help organisations grow and evolve through digital learning experiences.
Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over fifteen years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning seven years ago.
By Tess Robinson
Posted 27 October 2017
Life feels like it moves pretty fast these days.
Technology has changed the way we live, communicate and learn. Knowledge becomes obsolete more quickly - there’s a constant need to refresh, to stay on top. The way that we learn is responding to this. It’s now less about a single one-time intervention and much more about a continual, evolving process. This process is delivered using a range of media and delivery methods and is increasingly consumed in the flow of work. In other words, the blend. Or as we like to call it, the Next Generation Blend.
Sounds great right? But how can a blend get to the heart of that elusive learning holy grail – behaviour change?
Following these 7 key steps will help you with your quest:
1. First, develop a deep understanding of your audience and the culture in which they are operating. This will inform what elements of a blend will be appropriate or inappropriate.
2. Pick your moment. Behaviour change requires planning, both in terms of the learning itself, how you communicate it and when.
3. Embed new behaviours, not by trying to change the old ones, but by giving opportunities to practice the new behaviours in the course of day–to-day work by providing refreshers, resources and feedback.
4. Focus on one behaviour at a time. A blend will allow you to do this in a number of different ways and come at it from different angles. This gives learners lots of opportunities to practice the desired behaviours, to access support materials and draw on collective experience amongst other things.
5. Model the desired behaviour. Have your leaders display these new behaviours visibly themselves or demonstrate what best practice looks like. This could take the form of short videos and a checklist, accessed from a mobile phone, that helps people to then model these behaviours in the course of their work.
6. Contextualise the learning. This is where the blend really shines. Being able to take potentially abstract concepts and show how they can be practically used in the day-to-day is a vital component of behaviour change. If it doesn’t feel relevant and it’s not clear how making a change will improve things for the learner and for the organisation, they won’t buy into it. Scenarios, a learning reinforcement game or a performance support tool can all help to put the behaviour into context.
7. Understand that learning is not always linear. If you think about how you learn you’ll find that knowledge is rarely acquired in a linear manner. Humans generally prefer to dig around and uncover things for themselves. A well-designed blend should be a journey of discovery. It may be set out along a learning pathway, but doesn’t necessarily need to be undertaken in order. It allows you to unfold the learning in your own way. Passing over the things you already know and diving in more depth into things you are less familiar with. If learners feel that they have control over their learning, it will be better received and will be more likely to stick.
Learning for the 21st century is very much a holistic affair. To really embed behaviour change and create impact for your organisation, an in-depth understanding of culture, context and how people learn, together with a range of media and delivery methods is essential. Learning needs to be fully integrated into the workflow through a combination of online, offline and feedback.