Learning That Sticks, Part 2 of 2
Implement specific mechanisms to increase the impact and value of learning within your organization
In part 1, we talked about three issues that make it difficult for learning to stick: the nature of an ad hoc learning experience that ignores workplace context and the need for learning to be part of a journey; the tendency for the learning experience to be abused; and assumptions about how the value of the learning experience is multiplied within an organization. We spoke about the learning journey, and raised some considerations that should enter into the planning of the journey.
It is detrimental to focus upon training alone, coaching alone, workshops alone, or consulting alone. Using a combination of all of these is the best way to produce learning that sticks — learning that leads to real and lasting changes in behavior, which in turn fuel corporate change and result in tangible value.
In this article, we want to identify and describe specific mechanisms that you can incorporate into the learning journeys of your staff. These are known to successfully increase the impact and value of learning to your organization because they help the learning “stick”. They make it much more likely that the attendee will take the learning on board, and adopt changes in behavior that bring tangible value to your organization.
Tap into Motivation
Motivation applies to both the delegate himself, and the company which approves of a learning experience and sends the delegate. It is not enough for the delegate to ask himself “What do I want to get out of this learning experience?” The delegate’s company should ask that question of the delegate, and ask itself how it plans to capture value from its delegate’s learning experience.
But why stop there? Check out the coaching or training on offer, and make sure that you choose programs and coaches who themselves explicitly tap into your organizational motivations and those of your delegates.
Follow up Action Items
Action items are a wonderful thing. But too often they simply don’t turn into action. If coaching or training is of the variety that focuses on an amazing one-off workshop (or set of two or three amazing workshops), there is no incentive for either the coach/facilitator or the delegate to follow up on the action points that were so enthusiastically jotted down at the end of the workshop.
The learning journey should include a process of accountability that creates opportunities to follow-up on action items, a process that helps delegates change their behavior and the behavior of their colleagues. That process should include the coach/facilitator, as that will give him or her the incentive to provide the best possible material and contextual learning experiences.
Place delegates into Triads
Triads are little working groups of three persons. These three persons can together commit to help keep each other on track. Triads are a great way to provide motivation, accountability and encouragement. It is important that triads continue to meet after workshops or training sessions.
Triads can, for example, help make Action Items successful. Rather than just having the delegate write down some action points for his or her own benefit at the end of a workshop, have the delegates verbalize their action points within their triads, or even in front of all the attendees. Verbalization in many cultures enforces or strengthens commitment.
Incidentally, you can even have delegates write their action points on sticky notes and harvest these in various ways, such as placing them on a wall and photographing them; then have them sent out as future reminders.
Integrate multiple learning opportunities and multiple mechanisms into the learning journey
In conclusion, it is important to remember that tangible value to your company, or lasting corporate change, do not come about as a result of a few people going off to one workshop, no matter how amazing that workshop might be. Learning that sticks and produces changes in behavior that are felt throughout a company come as a result of establishing effective learning journeys.
For example, we believe each workshop should be followed by at least two coaching sessions (either group or one-on-one sessions depending on content and context). It typically takes 21 - 45 days to make changes stick; and during that time, it is important to positively reinforce what has been learned.
Of course, when you go on a journey you have a starting point, and you at least roughly know where you want to end up. But the journey itself may require a number of unique stages before your destination is reached. So, too, the learning journey may require a number of stages, all contributing to the desired result.
From working in over 60 countries on 5 continents we've learned what it takes for wonderful ideas and wonderful workshops to be converted into really practical change. Today’s global and inter-culturally complex world requires a creative blend of learning opportunities and mechanisms to be applied with some inter-cultural understanding and foresight, which we call Inter-Cultural Intelligence.
Contact us to learn more about how KnowledgeWorkx can help you develop Inter-Cultural Intelligence in your organization. You can also start your culture learning journey from our mini-ebook: Inter-Cultural Intelligence: from surviving to thriving in the global space.