What's Your Most Effective Style of Workplace Learning?

Last updated: 01-06-2020

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What's Your Most Effective Style of Workplace Learning?

What’s your 2020 vision to attract, develop, engage, and retain your talent this year?

2019 was abig year for workplace learning, but now it’s time to look forward and take your organization’s talent to the next level. And there is no better path to leading and engaging your talent than with a viable 2020 learning plan.

For organizations to keep up in today’s fast-paced world, learning initiatives must be the foundation of their talent development strategy. Learning and development programs keep individuals growing and organizations performing at their best. Employees are more engaged when they’re encouraged to learn and grow, not just perform. And companies are more competitive when talent stays ahead of the innovation curve and has room for consistent growth. Learning and development plans not only engage current employees, they’re a critical factor in attracting them as well. 42% of employees say learning and development is the most important benefit when deciding where to work.

However, simply offering the opportunity for workplace learning doesn’t go far enough in ensuring that learning is happening continually and effectively in your organization. Training and development can come in many forms, and one size never fits all. You must understand the modes of learning that are available to you today, how they apply the learning to a given context or role, and which is the best to develop the knowledge and skills your training.

Micro Learning utilizes brief learning units and short-term activities, and is typically managed in an autonomous, self-paced delivery. It’s a holistic, skill-based approach to workplace learning, meaning it involves focused strategies designed for specific skills training based around a need within a certain job function or role. The content is usually delivered in units that can be started and finished in several minutes, and is most useful when an individual needs to learn a new skill in the flow of their work, or needs to be able to spread out their learning into manageable timesets in the quest for a certification or broader skill-set.

Macro Learning is used when the subject matter is a larger, more theoretical concept. Macro Learning takes a few hours or may span a couple days, depending on the depth of the subject matter expertise you’re trying to achieve. This might include learning broad skills like:

Macro Learning can be given through workshops, experiential learning, seminars, online courses, or coaching sessions. More often than not, Macro Learning is delivered through instructor or expert-led sessions. It’s a useful form of workplace learning for employees at any level of the company, in any stage of their career.

Informal learning allows individuals to learn from various sources as they are driven by their personal interests and preferences, or as is most relevant to their role or project. They learn at their own pace, and there isn’t necessarily structured content or curriculum involved. Individuals can learn at any time and anywhere — including from coworkers, senior staff, coaches, or even from a blog subscription — and there is no set methodology. Informal workplace learning is a great opportunity for individuals to satisfy their curiosity while learning valuable skills in the process. It widens their knowledge base, and adds value to their job while encouraging initiative and self-management. A culture of informal learning within an organization encourages greater collaboration and boost employee engagement by cultivating autonomous learning.

Traditional workplace learning is a structured curriculum that’s delivered through a pre-defined, company-approved curriculum. These programs may be online or led by a classroom instructor in-person, or some blend of both methods. But traditional learning requires specialized expertise and access to instructional designers, visual and UX designers, technology experts, and more. There is a greater cost to these programs, and they require more time to develop and deploy, but the scale and level of content included in traditional learning still creates value for an organization.

Cross-functional learning expands workplace learning beyond an individual’s role or department into different departments, job positions, and responsibilities. Cross-company learning helps HR teams identify gaps across a broader scope. For example, managers company-wide may need assistance in improving things like:

Curriculum can be designed around a shared skills gap analysis, and deployed to each role across the management level throughout the company. As a result, the curriculum can effectively level-up, down, or across any context of leadership, including the individual contributor. Cross-functional learning helps create a common language around common skills and aligns effectively with other types of learning modes at a micro or macro level.

While an effective learning plan is a great asset for organization, make sure learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Create learning experiences that align with individual and team goals. If an individual wants to take their performance to the next level or improve upon the desired outcomes they are pursuing, design learning experiences that help them more effectively pursue their goals.

Once individuals have identified skill gaps and aligned learning to their goals, it may be helpful to develop a learning goal to keep the individual on track toward developing the necessary skills to improve performance. The right set of goals for workplace learning and development is critical to implementing training that works. Once clear goals are set for learning expectations — whether those be to meet company objectives or to satisfy a voracious learner — your goal structure can help guide learning, ensure its completion, and establish best practices. Select the types of goals that are best applied to the styles of workplace learning the individual will experience, and apply what they learn in real-time. Doing so will ensure that the investment you make on content and curriculum is always ingested at optimal effectiveness, and implemented immediately, supplying leadership with instant return on investment. The result is employees who are more highly skilled, more deeply engaged, and a culture of learning that is more dedicated to the pursuit of excellence.

We’d love to show you more about the ways Inspire Software can supercharge your workplace learning through expert curriculum and goal-setting that puts it into practice, in real-time.

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