What do we need to change in today’s workplace to allow learning to truly transform organizations? Here are two challenging elements based on current trends in workplace learning.
Culture of Delivery
Poll a group of people in the workplace about what learning looks like and a good portion will describe death by PowerPoint.
This is because learning is seen very much as something an expert dumps in the lap of the learner. However, that’s not what learning is. In fact, we know that lectures and one-way delivery end up resulting in very little learning. For deeper meaning to occur, companies need to invest not in presentations, but in professionally facilitated experiences that enable their staff to form mental models they remember. They also need to get people thinking before and after the training to ensure that mental model stays fresh in the mind.
Culture of Cutting Time
Managers want training in shorter and shorter chunks. The demands of the workplace are increasingly complex and stressful, so any time out of the office is a serious cost. Therefore, having staff listen to presentations for an hour and not have the time for structured learning sabotages the investment when the learning program could be substantially improved by adding a few extra hours to allow the learning to be consolidated.
Culture of Un-Fun
We know that learning takes place when people have fun, stress is low, and the environment encourages discovery. Want proof? What do you remember most about the last time you went to a really lousy training class? Probably laughing with other participants. We need to make learning memorable and emotionally positive. Make classrooms cheerful and open rather than dull and quiet. Encourage lots of informal learning opportunities. Give more control to the learners to shape their experience.