LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over twenty years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning ten years ago.
By Tess Robinson
Posted November 2019
In a previous life I worked for a university. They were huge fans of the three day face-to-face workshop. They were always very intense and lecture-like and we always got given a big A4 binder of information to take away to demonstrate what a lot we had learned. I can’t deny that I loved time away from the office, especially the free lunch, but I also admit that the minute I got back to my desk, that folder was tucked away in a drawer never to be seen again. I very rarely applied what I had learned to my everyday work, despite my best intentions.
Fast forward ten years and this still happens in organisations on a daily basis. The difference now is that the pace of change is faster. It’s no longer enough just to give your employees a folder of slide print-outs and cross your fingers that they’ll implement it. Organisations need to be on their toes. Developing skills and ensuring they are used is essential to that. L&D departments also increasingly find themselves under pressure to demonstrate impact. To do that, learning simply can’t just be a one-off, stick-the-folder-in-the-drawer event, it needs to be built into the workflow as well.
This is not to say that face-to-face isn’t valuable. You could argue that it is the premium learning experience. However, any learning event is worthless if that learning isn’t then put into practice.This is the part that a lot of organisations struggle with.
There are many ways that you can support your learners in making sure they implement their learning and change their behaviours accordingly. Here are 5 ways for starters…
1. Make sure the learning is really relevant to your audience and they can see clear benefits from it. How will it help them to do their jobs better, be more successful or make life easier for them? If your people are investing time to learn something new, they need to be able to see that they will get a return on it.
2. Put in place processes so learners need to evidence the impact from their learning.Don’t make these too onerous. A really simple way to do this is to ask workshop attendees to meet with their line manager afterwards and identify three things from the workshop that they are going to implement. These should then be reviewed at intervals. Getting line managers on board is vital. Their involvement is one of the keys to success. Their encouragement and support will really help people become accountable in putting their learning into practice.
3. Instead of a one-off workshop, create a blend – a mixture of face-to-face and online learning. Blending the learning enables it to be spaced out, increasing the chances of it being remembered and implemented. Technology can also be used to provide nudges or spaced repetition to embed the learning further.
4. Use technology to create a learning community around the topic and continue relationships made in the workshop. This enables learners to support each other. This can be as easy as setting up a WhatsApp group for the cohort. Bear in mind that some moderation will be needed. Technology can also be used to allow remote access to experts so questions can be asked as learners attempt to implement what they have learned.
5. Allow time for reflection, what worked well and what didn’t. This could be in the form of a group follow-up webinar or google hang-out or you could use a platform to do this, either as a group or individually. Again, this can be fed into conversations with line managers.
It’s relatively easy to dip your toe in the water of learning implementation. Try a few things out and measure, measure, measure. Your data will show the effectiveness of your actions and will help you decide what to focus on for most impact.