In preparing this series of posts on common training mistakes, we asked our Twitter followers what they thought were the biggest elearning mistakes that companies make. Tricia Ransom came up with a particularly insightful response: “Training,” she reminded us, “is not a one-time event.” Treating it as such stumps many a well-meaning training and development professional.
Rather than thinking about training as just a course, webinar or job aid, think of it as the ongoing process of making micro-adjustments to employee performance—and more importantly, it’s the process of curating and providing the resources for employees to improve their own performance over time. Training needs to be a comprehensive approach to personal development that includes mentorship, connection to training content, opportunities to share and discuss the material with colleagues, and resources for self-directed learning.
Make Learning a Career-Long Priority
Supporting life-long learning in your organization means widening your gaze from specific problem solving to creating a culture that supports learning and sharing. Here are a few steps for getting started.
Recognize learning. Make sure your organization does more than give employees a pat on the back or a certificate for learning new skills. A commitment to learning new skills should be matched by a commitment to giving them opportunities to grow on the job and take on more responsibility.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. When an employee takes on new responsibilities, build in multiple opportunities for the employee to check in with the content expert or manager on this skill. Research reveals that people retain information better if they are reintroduced to it several times, so make that part of your process. Consider using technology tools to automate sending content refreshers to employees to help promote application and integration of new skills.
Another great way to turn a learner into an expert is to challenge them to teach the material or concept to someone else. This is also a great way to promote information sharing and communication.
Make content and conversation available. “Content curation” may sound like a fad, but it’s more than that. As content migrates online, training and learning managers have an essential role as curators—librarians of institutional knowledge. Part of making sure that training is not just a one-time event is making sure that employees have the access to the resources they will need to refresh their understanding, access new resources and engage with their colleagues. Performance support groups, internal wikis and social networks are other great ways to support the implementation of new skills and abilities over time.
In conclusion, take this series of posts on the most common mistakes in training as an opportunity to take a good look at what your organization is doing and what you can do better. Many of these changes don’t require big budgets—just thoughtful evaluation of how to make improvements to your existing workflow. More suggestions? Join in the comments.
About the Author
Kelly Meeker is the Community Manager at OpenSesame, the elearning content marketplace, where she creates, curates and shares with the learning and development community. Find her on her blog at www.OpenSesame.com/blog, on Twitter (@OpenSesame) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.