How To Create Studying Journeys
What is a learning journey?
Traditional training was often viewed as a one-off event: a Exercise class, a Webinar, a Learning module. However, if the goal of the training is to change behavior that will lead to improved employee performance, the training should instead be viewed as a learning journey; a series of learning events consisting of a mix of formal and informal interventions, nudges and follow-ups that instill new knowledge and behavior in employees.
Formal education is one of the key elements of a learning ecosystem that typically facilitates learning. When you add informal training (some initiated by L&D teams, others initiated by individuals and coached by executives) you create a learning journey.
Why should you invest in learning journeys?
Learning is the key to a thriving business.
In the animal kingdom of North America, the coyote may have proven to be the most adaptive and therefore thrived. When Meriwether Lewis first met a coyote on his famous expedition in the early 19th century, he was perhaps the first of European descent to see one. He tried to kill it and collect it as a new specimen. However, he and his men were unsuccessful; an experience that thousands of American hunters have since shared. The coyote has learned to adapt to the constant changes in its ecosystem and to thrive and is now widely found in large cities like San Francisco, California and Salt Lake City, Utah.
In business, the coyotes are the ones who can learn; they can adapt to changing circumstances and thrive. Businesses should find and develop coyotes in their organizations – employees who actively participate in their own learning trips and contribute to the journey of their employees.
From a business perspective, learning journeys offer highly customized programs that are structured around key business goals and objectives. Managers should provide these insights to prepare their organization for future challenges.
Not only does this help future-proof your business by driving incremental and disruptive innovation, it also improves employee engagement. Employees look for organizations that value learning and promote professional development.
Organizations benefit from employees who continuously strive for improvement.
From the point of view of the staff, the learning journey acts as a GPS guiding learners in their efforts through formal and informal learning to perfect their art through the acquisition of new skills and abilities in business fields and technological mastery. These GPSs guide the learner through motivation, awareness, learning consumption and knowledge application.
Learning journeys encompass formal and informal learning – opportunities to acquire skills for a specific role or area of technology. They are highly relevant for individuals and support them in their career aspirations.
What do you need to consider when creating an effective learning journey?
The following points are crucial when creating a study trip:
Look at the bigger picture and remember that despite the fog, the future is omnipresent. Learning takes place over time and should never be something employees stop, nor should companies ever rest on their former laurels.
The employees go through the following phases of a learning journey:
Before employees can begin a learning journey, they need to know what is available, how the organization will support them, and what lies ahead.
While some employees are only motivated for the sake of learning, others look for additional extrinsic motivations. Organizations should put in place systems to reward progress in the learning process and encourage employees to begin and continue the learning process.
- Participate and try out
During the entire learning journey, employees need a safe space to use, process, apply and experiment with the new knowledge they acquire during the learning journey. Experimentation and the feedback loop are key to achieving behavior change.
- Continuous connections
Design study trips that go beyond just formal training events. Develop guides for managers to follow with employees, implement strategies for social and mobile learning, and enable employees to control much of their informal learning.
What are the key aspects that will help you design effective learning journeys?
Use the following aspects when developing study trips:
- Start with the end in your head
Too often planning is shortened in L&D, a response to develop content as quickly as possible to please business stakeholders. Remember what Albert Einstein said about planning: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”
- Involve everyone involved
Include the most important stakeholders during the initiation phase and ensure that everyone involved in the process has the information they need. Managers should ask themselves the following questions: What do I know? Who needs to know Did i tell you?
Start with introductions that will help them understand the bigger picture of the learning journey. Include a representation of the current state, the desired future state, and the differences between these two states. Use microlearning tips that get straight to the point.
- Invest in immersive techniques
At more formal training events along the learning journey, ensure effective knowledge acquisition by employing strategies that include higher-level processing:
- Stimulate prior knowledge that learners can use to build new information
- Present content in the most appropriate modality
- Model learning strategies to help students absorb new information
- Include as much application and practice as possible with healthy feedback loops
- Rate performance and provide additional feedback to learners
- Once the learners are back on the job, use informal learning and coaching nudges to reinforce the application of the new knowledge on the job. Use performance support systems so learners can quickly find and share information they need in the workflow.
- Change of reward behavior
While punitive rewards can be effective in the short term, study trips should provide employees with as much sense, autonomy, and control as possible for effective long-term behavior change. When employees receive fair and competitive wages, purpose, autonomy, and mastery are more effective motivational methods than even bonus models.
To make it work: EI Design’s learning and achievement ecosystem-based approach to creating effective learning journeys
EI Design has developed a highly effective model for creating effective learning journeys in a learning and achievement ecosystem. It is a cyclical model that includes:
- Draw attention to learning opportunities
- Explain what the employees will benefit from the study trip (what’s in it for me)
- Leverage immersive formal learning events that use gamification, virtual and augmented reality, scenario-based learning, and branching scenarios
- Support formal events with performance tools and give people in the workflow access to information – exactly what they need, when they need it
- Reinforce learning after formal events with safe places to practice and get feedback on their performance
- Offer social learning so that learners can collaborate with others on the learning journey and share knowledge and experiences
Effective behavior changes occur over time when the desired skills and behaviors are reinforced through a mix of formal and informal training. Learning is not a one-time event. Professionals seek mastery of their craft, striving for autonomy and purpose. Learning journeys, carefully designed and shared with employees, are a powerful way to enable behavioral changes that are in line with company goals and initiatives.
I hope this article provides the insight you need to learn how to leverage our unique learning and performance ecosystem to create effective learning pathways and improve employee performance.
EI Design is a leading provider of learning and performance support solutions that thrives on transforming learning and keeping it relevant, effective and continuous.
Originally published on www.eidesign.net.