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A resolution for 2020: meaningful learning journeys that stick!

A new year comes with new resolutions: lose those extra pounds, go to the gym more often (after all, you pay that annual subscription for a reason, isn’t it?), read more, spend less time scrolling on Facebook, cultivate more meaningful relationships, save more money, travel more, etc. There’s at least one for every person.

However, all this enthusiasm to create a “better version of you” gradually fades away. You may hit the gym every day or every two days in January, once a week in February and, by the end of March you find yourself following your previous routine: binging of Netflix.

Resolutions don’t seem to stick. Most of us are great at setting ambitious goals, but there’s a lot of room for improvement as far as the implementation process is concerned.

The same goes for learning and development.

We are enthusiastic about absorbing new information, but we also tend to forget it at an astonishing rate. The forgetting curve shows that within a single hour, people forget an average of 50 per cent of the information presented; within 24 hours, they forget an average of 70 per cent, and within a week, an average of 90 per cent of the new information is lost.

What can companies do to maximize their learning programs and make sure that investing in learning and development is actually money well spent?

Turning learning events into learning journeys might be the right solution for both companies and employees.

Creating meaningful learning journeys that stick

A blend of formal and informal learning opportunities spread out for a longer time will allow people to be exposed to the new information several times and to tackle it from different angles. After all, we have different learning needs and preferences and a “one size fits all” approach is not necessarily a good idea when you design programs for reskilling or upskilling. People respond to different methods and more diversity in learning approaches will bring benefits for companies and employees.

Read more: Upskilling the workforce – top tips for SMEs

Let’s see a few strategies that will help you design learning journeys that stick!

  • Identify pre and post learning segments

    Chunking information into the several segments might be helpful as it will allow learners to absorb it at several stages. For instance, an introductory segment can be sent in advance by email, allowing learners to become more familiar with the new topic and more specific parts can be taught during the formal training sessions.

  • Think about how to reinforce the material

    You have wonderful PowerPoint presentations that are catchy and engaging, but make sure that you design tasks that will allow learners to interact with the new information in a different manner as well. A practical approach might be necessary for all those experiential learners in the cohort.

  • Consider content that works with your cohort

    Pay attention to your learners’ reactions and make sure that you adapt to their needs. A complex training program that explains who the company will be affected in the light of a new acquisition will need different inputs for the HR staff and the financial staff. In an advertising agency, account executives and art directors will tackle the business challenges from their point of view, so make sure that you address all needs.

  • Covert skills training into on the job training

    Whenever possible, make learning an experiential journey. Studies have shown that people retain 5 percent of the information given in a lecture and 75 percent by learning and doing. Not to mention that interaction with more experienced colleagues will help new hires to integrate faster in the team.

    Read more: The secret sauce for efficient training: experiential learning

  • Consider what can be delivered in an online environment

    Webinars have the huge advantage of offering flexibility, as people can learn at their own pace in their own time. For instance, pre learning or post learning segments can be delivered via webinar, while the core element of the training can be delivered during face to face sessions or during on the job training programs.

One last tip

Focus on the learning process (which is complex and highly dependent on each individual’s learning style), rather than only on the learning objectives and results will improve. In other words, create a meaningful journey so that learners can remember the destination for a longer time.

This is a resolution that might stick!