Evolving Learning Design & Development
Learning has now become the integral part of all type’s organization and irrespective of their size of business. When, I started my sales man journey twenty-five years back, my learning had evolved through observation and guided by the seniors. Moreover, we did have very less product lines and also the timelines were at ease.
Thanks to active Globalization, the industry had moved toward volume game, multi products and so on and so forth, the need for Learning systems also aroused actively.
Little more than seven years in the L&D space, I had got the opportunity to work and learn from Indian and Global teams. With that little experience, I am sharing about learning strategy, 3 E’s Learning experience process, Feedback and the Need for Data in this article.
1. Learning Strategy:
Novice Learners (New): How do we approach to help / support learners? There is misconception that the adult learners will be able to learn new skills or knowledge efficiently and effectively. For an example, if an adult learner has to learn to play Guitar for the first time, then he needs to learn from basics and in a structured approach.
Once he had learned to play to certain desired expectation, then he can think of further improvement based on his / her future. So, in my opinion and as per the research, we need to have structured learning process for all the new learners, even they may be experienced and adult.
The structure may start from On Boarding process and followed by the structured Learning process created by the organizations.
What is Structured learning? It is not about lecturing. We can focus based on either on Goals or steps but we need to consider, how people learn, when they are relatively novus. They need flow, need context, they need to understand how it relevant for them so we need to set the stage, need to give them examples or model themes, they need to practice in a guided manner so we need to provide lot of scaffolding, need to provide proper feedback. As they go, as they progress, we slowly take the scaffolding away and move towards independent practice and evaluate their progress as they go. As per research, this type of flow is very effective.
Why it will be effective? Even though they are adult learners, they are still novus (New) learners for the organization. So, it is very important because people need the structure to able to make progress. If we ask them to learn by themselves, they will learn but would take lot of time to figure it out. It will not be efficient and it is not fair to them. We need to help them focus and understand why they doing what they are doing and where they moving in the learning tour. This is where you are and this where need to be…it helps them to understand. And they will not be learning without structure and feedback will help them to learn efficient and effectively.
The structure needs to be designed by the organization by the people and for the people with a support of a Facilitator.
Experienced Learners: The experienced learners in the organization need to be challenged. Give the problem to the learners, let them loose and solve it. Basically, through trial and error. And this approach needs to be adopted for experienced learners and not for novus learners.
Learning tasks: A task that is actually exists in real life. The key aspect that the training interventions fail because it is not applied and monitored. So, it is important to create a real task according to the learning objective for the experienced learners.
This task that needs to be complete on the job. Important is to learning transfer need to apply on the job. When we design a Learning Experience, we should better design around the Authentic task. What real life looks like! The intensity or the design of the task may vary between New and Experienced learners. Thanks to the authors of the book Evidence informed learning Design.
Performance Problem: A individual or group of people are not performing certain task (correctly or insufficiently). First, we need to identify what is causing that performance problem. There could be multiple reasons that is causing performance problem (Bad management or insufficient processes or there can be incentives). Learning alone will not solve the performance problem.
However, if found Learning a new skill or knowledge is required for improving the performance from the current to the desired state, then we need learning interventions.
Learning Culture: Organization learning culture or cultivated learning culture is very simple approach. It can be in either direction (Vertical or horizontal). The culture evolves from the Story telling approach. Sharing of success or failure stories within the organization or engaging internal vendors is very important for each person in the organization to learn continuously and contribute. The organization need to build such culture to achieve continuous improvement and growth. This may be also termed as employee engagement.
2. Design - Experiences for achieving the desired results:
Thanks to the authors of the book Evidence informed learning Design, they had written about, The three Star Learning experiences (3 E’s):
Effective: The learning needs to produce the desired result on the Job.
Efficient: To learn more and or more deeply in the same or less amount of time
Enjoyable: The learners experience success, feeling of accomplishment at each stage and improve the efficacy remain motivated to keep learning. Enjoyable means, it is not fun.
How do we balance the 3 E’s and What are the aspects required? It needs to be discussed with the organizations and had to be created based on their vision and mission.
Getting feedback from the learners about the content, delivery, process and other aspects is important for the learning and development team for their improvement but the Feedback is the most important technique and process, when it comes to learners. Continuous feedback is important for the learners to know their distance between the desired state and current state.
What not going to get there for them is PRAISE. Positive feedback like well-done is very important but they should know what they had done well and what they need to work on. Especially, Learner’s development feedback focusing on the Learning process is critical for learning.
In Healthcare medicine prescriptions, they work with highest level of Evidence based – Quantitative data, practical experience and the patient needs. The distinguisher is in the level of evidence.
Learning Strategy: We need to use more objective evidence to make informed decisions. Data driven learning systems. The data need to be Learners focus and it need to capture both the effectiveness and efficiency. The data would help for the organization, learners and L&D team for developing their Goals and organization strategy.
In my opinion that, the data, experience and learners need are all important for continuous improvement. And the learners should know their own data to gain deeper control over their progress and development.
While there should be clear privacy and data protection considerations that have to be put in place before data can be so easily moved between leaners and L&D team, the benefits to learner and L&D are clear.
The learning should enjoyable. It is not having fun….It is the satisfaction that, I learnt a new knowledge or skill. Even receiving a Certificate after passing a test or solving a problem will give satisfaction and enjoyment to the learners. And at the same time, the learning need to be efficient and effective. We neither put too much content to get the efficiency (infotainment) nor emphasis more on effectiveness. Imbalance will not yield the desired result. The data will help the learners and the L&D to continuously improve. Also, it is very important that we need keep a check on our progress through well designed feedback system. Giving or receiving Feedback is an art and everyone one in the system need to practice this art. Learning an Art is an art.
Please feel free to write back to me for any clarifications.