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Sticky Learning

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A recent Sydney Morning Herald article was rightly critical of the ‘corporate sheep dipping’ approach to online compliance training in organisations. This means having employees complete an online module, click a few questions (or keep clicking until the right answer appears) and the employee is now considered to be trained in appropriate workplace behaviour. Or are they? 

It’s not possible for such content to do anything other than tick a box to show employees have been informed.  It is an example of a poor use of technology with an eye to managing risk rather than using creativity and innovation to properly engage and educate staff.

So how do organisations move beyond the ‘sheep dip’ and into a culture of genuine growth and learning?

Create a learning culture

The first step toward delivering meaningful learning has to be the creation of a learning culture within an organisation and it needs to come from the top. The organisations that do it best have a mandate for innovation.  

In an organisation that values learning and encourages genuine engagement, staff are more likely to value, seek out and benefit from that learning and feed those benefits back into the organisation’s culture.  The best organisations will always attract the best talent.  

Check out this great article from the Harvard Business Review that looks at the link between successful organisations and and a culture of learning and how to foster that culture.  And if you happen to part of an organisation that is not quite there yet, perhaps it’s time to start the conversation.

Create ‘sticky’ learning

Teachers have long understood the need to apply learning in different ways. How would you teach a child to count to 10? Count apples, count fingers, have them repeat it, have them teach a younger sibling. It is the same task applied in different ways to cement understanding. 

Questions, feedback, well organised content and small chunks of learning have long been recognized by behavioural psychologists as key components to effective learning. 

Having staff sit through an hour long lunchtime session with little or no engagement, or watching the same session in an hour long video format meets none of these criteria. And whilst those faces look like they might be listening they are just as likely to be planning the dinner menu.

So why not apply tested learning principles in the workplace and take a leaf out of the primary teacher’s play book? Keep your training sessions interactive, whether they are live or online. Once the training session is complete, have your learners share learning with a team, become subject matter experts, or complete follow up applied learning tasks. Turn learners into teachers and have them compile a video to summarise and share the learning experience. There are so many creative ways to apply learning and keep it developing. 

Use technology but get creative

We have previously blogged about the flip the classroom model where learners undertake online training prior to a live classroom experience.  This then makes the live training all about troubleshooting and applied learning.  It makes for an enriched ‘classroom’ experience. 

Salman Khan’s Ted Talk here. Khan’s key focus is on not leaving anyone behind.  Everyone will learn at a different pace, will come to the table with different experience and knowledge and may be reluctant to reveal gaps in that knowledge. 

Blended learning provides the opportunity to ‘top up’ learning before or after a live session.  So students can complete content before the session but also access resources after the session.  Heard of Wootube? This is an example of the power of video as a follow up learning tool (and highly recommended if you are a parent trying to help your primary schooler with their maths homework!)

Technology doesn’t need to replace all live learning but it can certainly enhance and extend that learning.  

We now have so much in our learning design tool kit, with endless ideas, research and resources at our fingertips and incredible technology in our back pockets! 

VidVersity enables organisations to create video learning people love. A brilliant tool which enables video to be uploaded into shorter ‘chapters’. Add questions, links, quizzes, notes, documents and PowerPoint slides.

Contact us at VidVersity for a demo or join our mailing list here to learn about us.

Written by Liz Kollias former lawyer who has worked in the online learning space for the last 10 years.

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