A new learning mindset: How to train your team in today's workplace

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“Real learning … is behavior change. Anyone has ‘learned’ if they can do something that they couldn’t do previously, or can do it better, faster or with fewer errors. That applies to learning wherever and however it occurs—whether in a formal, directed setting such as a classroom or program, or as part of the workflow.”

As Charles Jennings, a leading thinker in L&D, states above, learning is simply being able to do something you couldn’t do before. However, teams and businesses are learning differently nowadays—or at least they should be.

Now, organizations need workers to share their learning, so the business can adapt quickly, innovate and respond to new demands and technology. The challenge for individuals on your team then becomes finding ways to keep pace, with new trends and their day-to-day. Forward-thinking companies support these processes and recognize that learning is part of the job. They understand that a large proportion of learning needs to take place on the job, not away from the workplace. Hence, the new learning mindset. But what’s more important is how companies are going about it.

Learning trends businesses need to embrace

Shift from training to self-directed learning

It used to be that people were told what to learn and they were taught, usually in the same way, by the same person. However, we’re now moving beyond the limitations of such a standardized, one size fits all approach. And knowing how to learn in this new and connected workplace is increasingly important both to individuals and their organizations.

More responsibility is placed on team members to identify what they need to know in order to do their job well, and managers should support and help guide this.

Enabling employees in their self-directed learning requires a shift away from instructor-planned, off-job training events toward a more fluid process of integrated learning. Expert instructional content is still a vital component in a wider learning strategy, but we now think less about delivery and more about accessibility. Rather than delivering new instructional content as a routine part of a department wide training program, we can now develop more personalized approaches. This makes very specialized content accessible to an individual at the time that the person needs to use it. This brings us to our next trend.

Learning at the point of need

The state of training, especially tech training, has changed. And what we need are systems and people who can help us ask the right kinds of questions at the right time. We don’t need teachers or trainers who give us answers to questions we may never encounter. We need mentors, coaches and tools that help us find the answers at the time we need them. We need access to peers who are working with the same problems and can help us out in the moment. And we need access to experts in our field through training tools that allow us to find just-in-time answers simply by searching a library of information—but it’s got to be the right library of information.

For team members, learning at the point of need means improved retention of information, a better use of time and an increase in team collaboration and community. This leads to higher job satisfaction and sense of ownership over the learning process. For the organization, learning at the point of need improves workplace performance and productivity as part of a strategic response to the 70:20:10 framework. What’s the 70:20:10 framework? Read on. 

The 70:20:10 framework

The 70:20:10 framework argues that improving workplace performance happens through three kinds of activity:    

  • 70% is experiential learning: learning and developing through day-to-day tasks, challenges and practices.
  • 20% is social learning: learning and developing with and through others
  • 10% is formal learning: learning and developing through structured modules, courses and programs

By implementing this strategy, the 70:20:10 Forum experienced the following:

  • High performance culture
  • Increased productivity
  • Organization agility and resilience
  • Amplified employee engagement
  • Strategic and responsive learning function
  • Improved impact and efficiency of learning

Creating an ecosystem for workplace learning

The new world of workplace learning is about redefining relationships, creating new opportunities and supporting employees.

To do this we need to practice different ways of learning: experiential, social and formal. Rather than traditional training —that’s delivered “top-down,” is instructor-led and driven by static content—many organizations are now looking at the whole work environment in which learning takes place. Efforts are more concerned with developing and supporting an environment that encourages and rewards learning.

As the organization grows and changes, so must the learning environment. So the leadership challenge becomes how best to nurture an ecosystem that allows workers to define their own learning needs and to develop their learning capabilities in ways that will bring added value to the business. Learn more about how to create an effective ecosystem for workplace learning with our whitepaper. 

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