In the business world, learning and development programs are often viewed as a one-and-done solution to learner needs. Employees take a course, absorb the information, complete a quiz, and then move on with their work. While quick, easy to access training is a great way for learners to engage with information, it often takes more for behavior change to take root. In fact, learning is maximized not by the training itself, but by the work done after to ensure knowledge retention and proficient application of new skills. For L&D, that might mean developing post-training performance that drives continuous learning. Businesses that foster continuous learning habits have a competitive edge and often see better ROI for their training initiatives. Here are some things to consider when building a training program and company culture that encourages continuous learning.
Simply making an effort to make training more pleasant can go a long way in ensuring employees come back for more. Spend some time researching how your company culture supports or discourages learning. Are training sessions dreaded by employees? Is training delivered in large, bland chunks? If so, work on making your training more accessible, engaging, and time conscious.
One of the most important factors in encouraging continuous learning is making training accessible. Employees who have access to training at the click of a button (or tap of a mobile screen) are more likely to engage with training solutions and continue to invest in their education. Mobile learning and microlearning are great ways to make your training programs accessible and can help foster a culture that encourages continuous learning. Both of these L&D solutions allow learners to choose when and how they learn, which have been proven to be a critical part of learning retention and engagement. Employees are more likely to engage with solutions that fit their lifestyle, and designing solutions that are accessible on multiple devices will only lead to more engagement.
While accessibility can often lead to more engaging content, they do not always go hand-in-hand. To encourage a culture of continuous learning, it is important that you spend time curating learning solutions that are engaging for your learners. In recent years, classroom-style learning has taken a back seat to new, more engaging L&D solutions, and now that nearly all work is remote, it is necessary that companies take steps to upgrade their learning solutions. The truth is, pure instructor-led training was never very engaging, and it is even less so in a remote environment. The so-called new age of L&D—mobile learning, microlearning, blended learning, and branched learning have the ability to make content more engaging than it ever was before. These solutions all focus on a learner-centered design that promote engagement and spark interest. If you want to support a culture of continuous learning, we suggest checking out these new L&D solutions to keep learners engaged.
Microlearning: Bite-sized learning solutions that allow for the most flexibility among learning solutions.
Mobile learning: Learning solutions that are accessible on mobile phones, tablets, and other portable multimedia devices.
Blended learning: A combination of independent and instructor-led training, with a focus on individual learner outcomes.
Branched learning: Open, user-choice training that guides the learner through the course but does allows for maximum learner freedom and exploration.
One final consideration when fostering a continuous learning culture is respecting employee time. Employee burnout is at an all-time high with the current state of remote work, and it is necessary that companies ensure they are creating learning solutions that respect the limits of digital work. Often times, L&D projects fail because learners dread sitting in front of a screen for hours, clicking through module after module. To create employee buy in, put yourself in their shoes and create learning solutions that do not add to the already draining digital workspace. Do this, and your employees will be more inclined to invest in your training programs and their own professional development.