Getting the Learning Solution Right

Developing a learning solution that meets the requirements of your client, learners and stakeholders can be challenging. While all seeking an outcome that benefits the organisation, their priorities will often differ.

Best practice learning solutions “link learning to performance, while managing costs and maximizing value” and should be part of a broader talent and performance strategy; as behaviour change–which is what all learning should be about–doesn’t happen in a one-off event, it happens over time.

The options for learning solutions have changed significantly with the onset of the Internet and mobile applications. No longer are we confined to face-to-face, on-the-job or workbook-based learning solutions that required extensive physical resources and time.  Learning is now blended, and becoming increasingly complex, with the majority of corporate learning solutions incorporating some form of online, mobile or social learning aspect.

Despite the rapid changes in technology, there are three solutions that are still most commonly employed:

  • Face to face/classroom training
  • blended
  • e-learning

With research showing a marked (three-fold) increase in e-learning and online instruction over the previous decade.  (The 2009 State of the Industry Report, ASTD).  There is value in each type of learning solution.

So what factors should we consider when selecting the most appropriate learning solution?

Face facing solutions favour learning where the ability to share and transfer complex information is needed; or where the building of relationships will add to the learning experience. Experiential learning and skills practice are enhanced in this environment also.

Face to face learning also enables group cohesion, team development and the building of trust; something that may be continued with a blended approach, but which—it could be argued—certainly benefits more from face to face solutions.

Elearning programs allow for the connection of learners in different locations and support the interaction of remote teams; and offers the flexibility of 24/7 availability. In current environments, wholly elearning solutions, however, still favour policy and procedural information, that requires little learner interaction and allows for repeat reuse to build knowledge and skills.  Elearning solutions still favour learner led information, where they have the ability to control the pace and personalise the content.

As elearning solutions develop with the introduction of mobile learning solutions, more blended approaches are being developed, that takes the best of both approaches. With blended approaches comes the opportunity to combine instructor and learner led delivery, the ability to address a wide range of learning styles. Blended approaches combine the flexibility and convenience of e-learning solutions with the ability to share complex information.

Knowing the type of solution your information suits, however only provides half the picture.  When developing a solution that will meet the needs of your stakeholder and your learners, it is important to also consider the following, to ensure you gain stickiness in your training:

  • The learning outcomes required.
    • Are we building knowledge, skill, culture, or a combination?
    • Is the topic complex/programmatic or does it involve basic concepts and policies?
  • The gap between the current context and the desired learning outcome
    • Is the information new, or will is it designed to refresh or increase understanding?
  • Your audience and their readiness for learning
    • Does the audience see the value in the training? Are they engaged?
    • What is the current learning context?
    • What are their learning preferences and access to learning tools?

and finally

  • The organisation’s readiness and support for the learning solution.
    • Can it support the learning outcome (technology? culture?).
    • Is there sufficient internal buy-in and sponsorship for training

The success of your learning solution will depend not only on the quality of the content you deliver, it will depend on the engagement of your learners and the organisation.

For example, face-to-face / classroom training may be more suited to highly complex or programmatic topics/information; where skill development requires practice; the content may be divisive or where connection and culture-building are your key outcomes. Blending learning is likely to be more effective when the client’s learning strategy supports this approach with systems and networks in place to capture the on the job learning moments; and e-learning is well suited to policy, compliance and general concepts that require broad distribution, or where the learner will benefit from self-paced learning.

Understanding these BEFORE developing the learning solution will likely increase the success and stickiness of your solution.

 

Are you looking for tips on building world-class learning solutions?

Then join us in Brisbane at the Learning Success Blueprint Summit 21 – 22 June 2018. Go to www.learningsuccessblueprint.com for more details.

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