Learning On The Job: It's The Culture, Stupid!

Learning On The Job: It's The Culture, Stupid!
Summary: Today it is crucial to anchor learning where it has the greatest impact: on the job. This requires an agile learning culture and new tools that allow the bringing together of learning and working.

Shaking Up The 70:20:10 Model

Companies have not had to prepare their employees faster and more frequently for new products and projects, new skills, and know-how than now. This is why it is crucial to anchor learning where it has the greatest impact: on the job. It is essential to combine learning with daily work with an agile approach and, not least, to create a new learning culture.

The future is bright. Eventually, those responsible for training in companies will manage to solve their biggest problems (i.e., increasing the relevance of in-house training and according it the importance it deserves). To get there though, it might not need a miracle but would certainly require a lot of persuasion, persistence, and more than a little help from new methods and tools.

The 2020 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report names prioritizing corporate learning and creating a learning culture as the two biggest perceived challenges in corporate training environments. But this is steadily changing. Companies are rethinking and managers are increasingly recognizing the relevance of in-company training as a key factor; it’s not going to transform overnight, but we are getting there. Learning will be an essential part of corporate cultures eventually, and it is necessary.

A silo, two silos...and another silo.

Learning On The Job: It's The Culture, Stupid!
Sebastian Grochowicz/Unsplash.com

LMSs Are Often Self-Contained Units That Would Benefit From Better Networking

And then there is this other change that we are witnessing: LMSs these days are often hidden behind login barriers and not networked with the rest of the company's IT as much as it should be. In the future, learning systems will no longer be learning silos (i.e., these self-contained units).

LMSs will continue to be the self-sufficient, strong, coherent systems that they are today. The same is true for in-house training academies. Eventually though, they will evolve to have better networking on an organizational and technical level, creating a digital learning ecosystem. Right now they are lacking in this regard, to the detriment of the learning culture and the learners.

Currently, learning content is imported into the silos, and the learners log in; open a door here, a door there until they reach the content. Then they begin learning, finally taking it to the workplace and applying what they have learned. The latter is often referred to as learning transfer in technical terms. The whole thing could function well, but it unfortunately doesn’t very frequently. The good news is that there are already approaches and tools available in the market that can address this.

Focus On The 70%

The aim of learning managers and Instructional Designers should be to create learning technologies that make the walls of the silos more porous in order to ultimately tear them down. Learning should be more directly linked to the day-to-day work of the learner, more related to the work, projects, and the skills that organizations demand. The goal must be to rethink "learning by doing" and shake up the 70:20:10 model.

At a time in which training for new skills and competencies (up- and re-skilling) is seen as a crucial part of in-company training, it is important to support the 10% of further education in courses and training, and the 20% of feedback and cooperation with colleagues, but it is most crucial now more than ever to better support the lion's share of learning, namely the 70% learning-on-the-job segment, rather than just hope that training will transfer to the workplace.

Shaking Up The 70:20:10 Model
Stephanie Harvey/Unsplash.com

The Lion's Share Of Learning: The 70% Learning-On-The-Job Segment

To do this, adopting an agile learning approach helps. Learning managers should make use of intelligent tools and algorithms that make learning content available to employees when they need it most: at work and in the context of their immediate projects. But these new technological adoptions and content must not be hosted in the silos mentioned earlier. They have to be rethought and tied-in directly to the working world of the learners.

Learning On The Job (Example)

An employee of a call center is to give advice on a new product group and aims to achieve up-sales within the scope of these discussions. As part of the preparation, product training is imparted on the new product group in a blended learning scenario. Back at work, the learning software analyzes the call center requests, identifying those aspects of the new product that require intensive advice and providing the employee with in-depth learning content accordingly, directly on their smartphone, in manageable nuggets and with a design that makes learning possible during the consultation. The learning software can also then track the rate in up-sales, and using machine learning, learn from this result, and send in-depth content that will help achieve the desired goal—with insights on motivation, training, and support.

It's The Culture, Stupid!

Besides new tools, a new learning culture associated with agile learning must be instated. That is, continuously developing common learning objectives which contribute directly and in interactive cycles to learning and company results...an environment in which working and learning are more closely interwoven than they are today, where those worlds constantly react to one another and adapt.

This would change the way in which educational programs and learning contribute to the success of a company, with increased relevance of the learning content, while redefining coaching too. With the right tools, coaching will transform into an integral part of daily work and not limited just to courses and seminars, be they blended, online, or physically in a classroom.

New learning tools and technologies should aim to support such learning scenarios, and use smart features that support learners, trainers, and coaches alike. Intelligent algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence can help deliver the right content at the right time, with business and company goals defining the triggers. In an agile learning culture, push notifications inform learners about relevant content based on their goals and progress, while keeping trainers abreast about what they need to know about their trainees: Who needs support? Who could benefit from a face-to-face conversation?

Bringing learning and work closer together creates measures that contribute to personal and corporate goals alike, allowing companies to review the impact of corporate learning more directly. This gives businesses the opportunity to better monitor the effectiveness and, as it is called, the impact of learning measures—in the short, medium, and long term. On the surface, it seems like the advent of a new learning culture that is more efficient, but the underlying objective always remains the same—another step toward making learning more relevant by making it happen where it matters most: on the job.