One size doesn’t fit all…
Our unique DNA means we’re all wired differently when it comes to our working behaviours and patterns. Some of us are up with the larks to get cracking with our tasks, while others speed up as the day goes on and are quintessential night owls. In theory, as individuals working in an organisation we should be as unmanageable as a herd of cats!
Yet, with one vision, a shared set of objectives and a ‘one team’ mentality, organisations manage to herd us en masse. However, they don’t achieve this with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. They get the message to ‘stick’ using multiple methods and channels. And, this is how it should work when getting employees to learn about new technology.
So, how can you help your employees to learn?
Take the 10% – 20% -70% blended approach
In an ideal world, you’d be able to sit with every individual to understand how they like to learn and create a bespoke training plan to suit them. But, when you need to equip a volume of employees with a set of skills this approach isn’t realistic, especially if you’re restricted by time and budgets.
To accommodate everyone as much as possible, we always recommend delivering blended learning for the most effective delivery, and this should be dependent on audience, context, complexity and importance. By blended learning, we mean take the 10%-20%-70% approach: do 10% through face-to-face, virtual delivery, broadcast and workshops; 20% through guides, surgeries, coaching and desk-side support; and 70% through change champions, team working and in-application help.
Recognise it’s a two-way relationship and adapt, adapt, adapt…
We all have different backgrounds and motivations, which will determine our learning curve and what we want to get out of training. Our responsibility as employees is to be aware of our own learning style and needs and communicate this to the trainer so they can adapt to accommodate us.
Successful trainers know that running a ‘one size fits all’ programme can inhibit learning and adoption of change. They assess how people learn, tap into a learner’s previous experience and observe how a person’s skills evolve over the course, so they can support them with the right approach to learning. If pre-training sessions aren’t doable, proficient trainers will use different modes of communications to serve a range of learners; and they will adapt their methods as they get to know the people they are training.
Throughout the process, accomplished trainers will perform ‘mid-point’ and ‘end-of’ assessments to determine what people are gaining from the course, so they know where individuals should focus their efforts. And, where required during the training course, they may split learners into groups based on motivation, preparation and experience.
Some tactics can help everyone to learn…
- Focus on wellbeing: Neuroscientists have determined that learning functions can be affected by diet, sleep, stress and exercise. So, as learners trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage our stress levels will aid us in processing new information; and a poor diet, lack of exercise and excessive levels of stress or sleep deprivation will hamper us. Trainers can’t manage individuals’ lifestyles, but in the class-room they can support learners by: providing nutritious food and drinks during training breaks; giving people the chance to exercise – stretch their legs and get some fresh air – or even incorporate some gentle exercise into the programme; and, keeping the learning environment as stress free as possible.
- Don’t underestimate the power of the social network: Gallup Management Journal found that 76% of engaged employees agreed with the statement: ‘I have a friend at work who I share new ideas with’. Informal networks are crucial in helping to generate knowledge-related activity. Talking to and sharing ideas with colleagues is a critical part of our learning path in today’s work world, and employers and trainers should not underestimate the value of viral effect learning. This was validated by Dr Nick van Dam, global chief learning officer at McKinsey & Company, at this year’s MERIT Summit when he stated: “The more people talk, the more learning happens.”
How employees engage, learn and adopt is at the heart of what The Inform Team does. We help organisations by discovering how their employees learn and as an output, develop training based on personas that can be tailored to individuals for optimal adoption.