There is no doubt that technological breakthroughs have changed the way we work and conduct business. While there are up and downsides to living in a digital age, few people ever want to abandon technological achievements and return to the “good old days.”
Yet, despite all these breakthroughs, many companies continue to keep their learning mission, objectives, and strategies the same. That’s like keeping a very detailed plan on how to implement and manage landline phones without addressing cellphones, tablets, wirelessness networks, and VOIP (Voice Over IP).
When should you consider updating your learning mission, objectives and strategies? If you share some of these common characteristics for training that needs resuscitation, then the time to update is now:
- Classroom events are the primary source for delivering training.
- Self-pace learning courses, if offered, only replicates the classroom event lectures, including the length it takes to complete the training.
- Content for both classroom and online training is encapsulated as a series of sequential slides, like Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
- Documents and training materials are decentralized, perhaps kept on individual departmental servers.
- Sources for printed documents are outdated but available for distribution.
- Training courses are created based on “just-in-case” scenarios.
- Follow-up materials to encourage employees to retain gained knowledge are limited if any.
The bullet items listed above are “symptoms” of an outdated learning program. When left alone, without any adjustments to changing requirements and conditions, downstream products, such as learning content, lose their effectiveness. Addressing a single characteristic listed above, without adjusting the learning program, is like treating a fever but not eliminating the source of the virus.
Learning mission, objectives, and strategies provide the context for your learning program, its effectiveness, and overall outcome. These require constant tuning to ensure your training empowers learners to perform at higher levels while maintaining a healthy work environment.
- Learning Mission/Vision Statement – This statement is a concise summary of the values that guide your learning program, setting the tone for creating objectives and strategies.
- Here is a general statement with areas you fill in:
- “The mission of (name of the program) is to (primary purpose) by providing (function or activities) to (audience) that (summary outcome).”
- Here is an example of MaxIT’s missions statement:
- “The mission of our learning program is to build top performers by providing an updated learning system and content to companies and their employees that encourage, enables and challenges them to meet or exceed performance levels in their roles.”
- Here is a general statement with areas you fill in:
- Learning Objectives – Learning programs should have overall objectives of envisioned outcomes that support the mission/vision statement. Objectives state clearly what the employee will be able to do once they participate in your learning program.
- Use action words to express employee behavioral changes and improved performance, with details on how they demonstrate their newly acquired skills. Below is a helpful graphic of words to use and/or avoid when writing objectives.
Examples always help, so here is one objective: “Employees who successfully complete their assigned training are able to identify required duties assigned to their job title, apply newly acquired skills to properly engage customers, provide effective support, listen and resolves issues in a timely fashion.”
- Learning Strategies – Strategies are approaches or delivery methods used to meet objectives and targets. Some jobs require longer, in-depth training that can only be presented in a classroom setting. Online courses may satisfy learning requirements for others. Many positions need a hybrid approach of both classroom, online training and real-world experiences. Every post would love follow-up materials to fine tune skills acquired through their learning program.
Everything is viewed through the lens of your learning mission and objectives, from the learning system to the training content. For example, if your mission is to “produce top performers,” then only those services and events that support and promote the goal of producing top performers are kept in place. Everything else is either adjusted, replaced or discarded, as required.
For learning administrators, building top performers requires a new type of active delivery or learning system. Replace your current system if the learner experience isn’t engaging, simple for employees but powerful for administrators. The system should track everything while supporting more than standard online courses (AICC or SCORM formats).
Here are some additional features or options your learning system should be able to do:
- Assign PDF and Office files as learning documents, complete with history tracking.
- Build collections of training (standard online courses, documents, and videos) as learning paths, which can be assigned to job titles or other ad hoc groups, complete with due dates and automated email notifications.
- Provide a Course Home Page as a central learning hub to display lessons, courses and/or documents in a predefined order. A link to a specific Course Home Page should be accessible from an email invitation, without having to log into the learning system, making easier to consume and complete online training.
For employees, becoming top performers require a user experience that offers easy access, updates progress, nudges when necessary, and available on any device. But that just describes what a proper delivery system can do. Once logged in, the learning environment should offer the following:
- Tiles that provide the learner their current status for assigned training, whether in progress and/or completed.
- A quick search for individual lessons or a collection of courses (Learning Path) using keywords.
- Pre-defined learning paths of related lessons displayed sequentially as determined by subject matter experts, with one-click self-enrollment option.
- A Course Home Page as a learning hub that displays links to prerequisite requirements, post activities workflows, such as assessments and surveys, as well as a next lesson link to encourage “binge learning” without leaving the Course Home Page.
There are promises of more technological breakthroughs in the horizon, including 5G technology, augmented reality (VR) and blockchain that will change the digital landscape forever. The time is NOW to review and redo your learning infrastructure and delivery.
Call to Action – Build a Learning Culture
Reviewing and revamping your learning is a futile exercise if the outcome isn’t about creating and fostering a learning culture. Companies that make learning a priority and provide the opportunities, methods, and environment for employees to increase their knowledge and skills win, at all levels.
One of the MaxIT 1500+ micro-learning lessons, entitled “Developing a Learning Culture,” identifies how company leaders help employees make learning a priority, as well as what to do and avoid when it comes to delivering training. With a proper learning culture, employees get recognized for acquired skills and improved performance. They demonstrate their willingness to share their knowledge with their team.
What are the benefits for establishing and maintaining a healthy learning environment? Here are some presented in this lesson:
- Your company attracts top talent.
- Workers become self-sufficient and productive.
- Healthy internal competition creates an exciting work environment.
- Qualified candidates are ready for promotions.
- Increased employee engagement improves employee retention, reducing costly turnovers.
A learning culture requires deliberate action. MaxIT is ready to help. There are 100+ Learning Paths found with Ability Platform. Each collection of related video-based lessons is organized for you by subject matter experts, so you can start immediately to improve your skills.
Remember, MaxIT’s mission is for you and your company to become top performers in your industry. Don’t have access to the 100+ Learning Paths? Then register for a Free 7-Day Trial and start with the “Developing a Learning Culture,” one of six lessons in the Developing Your Culture learning path.
This is a must-see collection of micro-learning lessons for those still debating whether they should review and adjust their learning solutions. Register now, see it for free and take that first step to improve your learning culture, on us.