Flipped Learning In A Corporate Context: How To Reinforce Behavioral Change And Performance
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Reinforcing Behavioral Change And Performance Using Flipped Learning In A Corporate Context

One of the main challenges in corporate L&D today is sustaining behavioral change and performance. Ultimately, most learning activities are done to facilitate some sort of behavioral change. Yet, when it comes to applying the knowledge and skills learned from a blend of learning activities, the learners often feel left alone. They haven’t got enough practice, exposure or opportunities to actually start behaving in a new way. A lot of these are attributable to the tendency in the corporate L&D space to focus too heavily on knowledge delivery. When undergoing the paradigm shift from knowledge-focus to a performance-focus, adopting an approach of flipped learning in a corporate context provides a good method of approaching things.

What Is Flipped Learning In A Nutshell?

Flipped learning is an approach that the education world has been adopting for the past 10+ years with great success. Initially, the approach was developed on the notion that direct instruction does not work terribly well in a group setting, while activities and ‘homework’ seemed to produce more results with the social group context. Therefore, educators started experimenting with bringing direct instruction (‘lectures’) in the individual learning space, whereas practice, discussion, reflection (‘homework’) were brought back to the classroom.

Fast forward to the corporate world in 2018, where learning has largely taken a blended and increasingly digital approach. Many organizations are equipped with all the latest tools when it comes to Learning and Development. Yet, almost equally many are struggling in translating the learning to actual changes in behavior and improved performance as a result. In most cases, the fundamental problem is the way the learning experiences are structured. An overly knowledge and content–focused approach has been chosen over a more learner-centered design. Potential solution? Try flipping the learning paradigm.

Designing Experiences Of Flipped Learning In A Corporate Context

The overarching goal of flipped learning in a corporate context would be to deliver knowledge in a scalable way at the point of need while maximizing the behavioral and performance impact through the efficient use of the "expensive resources" (face-to-face). Here's how you could get started:

Firstly, it’s important to take a two-fold approach to the learning "content". You should start by identifying what types of instructional, knowledge-focused content you have. These may include videos, presentations, storyboards, webinar recordings, manuals, documents, and handbooks. You should curate these types of content into a self-paced digital learning experience where learners can consume the knowledge at their own pace. Ultimately, you should use digital means for delivering all knowledge-based content and baseline subject matter.

Secondly, as the learners now no longer need to attend face-to-face training to gain knowledge, it’s important to figure out when they do come to the "classroom". Instead of delivering knowledge, face-to-face training activities should consist of deeper discussions, simulations, group activities, and practical activities. Naturally, the activities should be based on the behavioral goals you want to achieve with learning. If you’re doing sales training, the behavioral objective might be to adopt a new selling approach in hopes of increasing sales by X%. In such an example, the activities might consist of sales meeting simulations, group practice pitching, workshops, and personalized coaching. Similarly, for technical training, you should use the face-to-face time to get the learners’ hands dirty and let them experience tools and methods in practice.

Thirdly, learning should naturally be facilitated after the face-to-face session as well. Due to resource constraints and requirements for scalability and efficiency, this is where it often pays for corporates to move back to digital platforms. You can use different digital learning tools for feedback, as well as engaging in instructor-led facilitation, collaboration, and social learning. It’s important to engage the learners open time to keep the things learned on their minds, establishing that cognitive presence. Furthermore, you should also give the learners access to performance support; resources to engage with when having problems executing the behavioral change.

This cycle can be continued and expanded upon, depending on the training topics and success of the learning initiatives. The important thing is to create a risk-free environment for the learners to practice, engage, and experience especially during the face-to-face sessions.

What Are The Potential Benefits Of A Flipped Learning Approach In Corporate Context?

Ok, you’ve got this far. Now let’s look at why this would actually work in the corporate context. Here are a few benefits we are seeing with a flipped learning approach:

  1. The focus is on performance
    The face-to-face activities and post-session facilitation should be all about reinforcing behavioral change and providing tools for increasing performance, which is what ultimately matters. Less time wasted on nice-to-know things and knowledge-not-being-applied.
  2. Increasing the scalability and efficiency of learning activities
    By transitioning the knowledge delivery component into digital formats, you can do more with less. Learners can take the first steps of the learning journey at their convenience.
  3. Increasing efficacy and efficiency of face-to-face learning
    Expensive face-to-face training hours are used in practical activities helping to reinforce behavioral change rather than delivering knowledge passively. You’ll be able to deliver greater impact with potentially fewer resources.
  4. Increased learner-centricity
    In a flipped learning approach, learners are able to consume and digest knowledge at their own pace. Furthermore, the new activity-based, face-to-face sessions provide better opportunities for more personalized learning support, as time is not wasted on lecturing.
  5. Encouraging active learning
    Flipped learning approach generally encourages and facilitates a more active involvement and engagement of learners, which translates to improved learning results.

All in all, flipped learning is an approach that makes a lot of sense in today’s corporate L&D. Increase in knowledge alone has little ROI if it doesn’t translate into behavior and performance. Flipped learning provides a way of delivering activities to support the behavioral change while retaining efficiency thanks to the blended delivery.

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