Michael Allen, in his article, “Training: an Awesome Responsibility,” states that “People expect training to be boring, because that’s what they usually experience. People attend training mostly because they have to or because it’s a break from their routine. They may hope for benefits, but would be surprised if they actually reaped any.” Michael explains that part of the problem is that companies and training developers focus on learning management system (LMS) content, as opposed to considering the learner.
A reality that many employees face is that the company has already invested in a LMS, or platform, like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, etc., and that’s where the training resides. Consequently, employees must work with the chosen corporate platform in order to upskill, reskill, or learn new material. There’s a gap!
This distance between the Learning Management System (LMS) and the learner is the Organizational Learning Gap (OLG). We need to bridge this gap.
Employees may be really interested in the topic, but they can’t get through the material because the nature of the training doesn’t fit their learning preferences or talents. Consequently, they get bored. The worst thing someone can do is to sit there and endure a boring course without learning anything from it. That’s a complete waste of their time. What does an employee do when they are faced with that situation?
Tackle the Course in Small Chunks
One option is to chunk information into five or 10 minute pieces. For example, you turn on the learning management system course and:
- You start to watch it,
- Maybe you read the agenda and the syllabus,
- You have the option of reading the full text,
- Or the option to listen to it (unless that puts you to sleep).
- Watch the video for no more than 10 minutes. In that time, look for a nugget of information. Something that you didn’t know. Something that might pique your curiosity.
Now you’ve got a nugget.
Expand Your Understanding of the Nugget with Online Resources
Here’s another secret to successfully bridging the OLG: There’s absolutely no reason why you have to stick with that platform and acquire all the learning from just one source!
Find the information you’re looking for by digging deeper to discover more interesting presentations of the knowledge you’re trying to acquire. The process of looking for more information solidifies your understanding of the nugget. With the availability of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), platforms like iTunes University, multiple “how to” and informational videos on YouTube, Vimeo, and other video platforms, there are many sources to choose from.
Look for the Helpers in Your Corporate Neighborhood
Mr. Rogers used to introduce the people in his “neighborhood” to teach kids about different professions and how they relate to a kids’ world. We’ve all grown up, but looking for help from our “neighbors” within the company is still a great way to tap into valuable resources.
There are people who love to provide information to others because it’s fulfilling and satisfying to them. And there is almost always another way to learn.
Consider finding someone you work with who has the skill set that you’re trying to acquire. Ask them to show you how that chunk of information works for them. How do they use the information? Have them explain it to you in a way that is more meaningful to the work that you’re actually doing, or want to do.
Most people are willing, if you can be flexible with the timing, and gracious with how you request information. The key is being respectful of that person’s time and energy and actually showing that you are going to act on what they teach you so as not to waste their time.
Here’s an example: I asked one of my colleagues, who is known to be a non-traditional learner, how he went about learning in the workplace. He said, “I seek out someone in the organization who has the skill I need. And I ask them three things:
- to explain what I need to know,
- to show me how to do it,
- and to share their acquired insight.
Take the Next Step Back to the Beginning
Now that you have built upon that nugget of information, you can return to the LMS with a deeper understanding of what you’re trying to learn.
It’s time to go back to the material and get the next nugget of information.
- Go back to the learning platform and listen to another 5 to 10 minutes of the content.
- Ask a question of the material. Think of something you might be curious about, how you might take the information further, or where would you go to get a better understanding,
- Take it upon yourself to go find more information, just as you did with the first chunk.
Don’t be a passive learner held victim by the boring platitudes that are coming from the robotic voice on the screen. Choose the other option and find a nugget that you’re curious about. Take charge of your learning.
With this approach, you will learn what the platform is teaching, and you will go beyond, learning even more in a way that’s based on your interest, your curiosity, and your learning preferences.
Now you’ve got the right tools to learn successfully, break out of ineffective learning patterns, and bridge the organizational learning gap.
Michael Allen, “Training: An Awesome Responsibility”, Training Magazine, trainingmag.com/trgmag-article/training-awesome-responsibility/
Massive Open Online Courses – http://mooc.org/