Take the Long Road – Ensuring Organisational Learning Programmes Endure

Business / Resilience / Training

Take the Long Road – Ensuring Organisational Learning Programmes Endure

Every organisation understands the importance of training and knowledge enrichment through various programs, in order to keep their people updated with relevant skills and information. Introducing such training programs and workshops for knowledge capture and sharing of good practices is only going to be fruitful when the learners are able to capture the essence of it. Quite often it is seen that organisations spend huge amounts of learning programs that end up being scrapped eventually as they couldn’t add value to the lives and careers of their employees, or because the knowledge imparted could not be fully absorbed by them.

Making an organisational learning program stick requires you to first find answers to some important questions yourself as a provider. All organisations are faced with some common challenges when it comes to sustaining their organisational learning programs and when you overcome these challenges, you have a model that can flourish over time.

Some of the common questions that you may want to ask yourself before introducing or designing a learning program are these.

What aspects of learning are you focusing upon?

The conventional method for imparting knowledge or skills was through formal training. With the passage of time, however, organizations have developed a fresher outlook towards training and learning. Formal training is now considered as just one aspect of learning. Sitting for hours in training sessions and workshops doesn’t ensure that people will retain what they learnt. Or even that they have been able to fully understand the ideas shared and will be able to put them to use. Modern methods stress more on interactive and practical learning to improve retention and help people in application of the knowledge gained.

Which key issues are you addressing through your learning program?

Most of the time, organisational learning programs end up being just generic lectures on the best practices or idealistic theories to be followed by employees for the organisation’s growth. The real world scenario is not always that simple or ideal. The challenges that the learner faces in their day-to-day work and the organization’s priorities may require a very different kind of solution. Unless the content of a learning program is addressing the challenges of your employees or your organisation, there is very little chance that anyone will benefit from it. What ideas the books, case studies or the leaders of the past considered most important doesn’t matter as much as the practical challenges faced by the learners today’s work culture.

Does your organisation truly support the learning culture?

Yes, all organisations support continuous learning. But do they really provide an environment where this learning can be implemented? Many leaders do face resistance when trying to apply what they learned as the organisation’s culture and policies do not align with the new ideas. An organisation that is not open to change cannot promote and support a learning culture. So, to have a learning program that sticks, you may first need to look inside and find out where these bottlenecks in the organisation are that prevent knowledge from flowing freely.

These are some of the challenges every organisation faces in imparting quality learning programs. After this thorough introspection, the next stage involves designing a learning program that has the potential to sustain. For this, here are some key factors to consider.

Do not limit learning to classroom training

Most leaders acknowledge the role of on-the-job training in molding their careers. Classroom training is one aspect of learning which cannot be completely done away with but extending the learning program to the work-space can prove to be very beneficial. Learning to tackle on-the-job challenges under someone’s guidance can be crucial developmental experiences.

Encourage and promote good ideas

Good ideas usually spring up when people are faced with practical challenges at work. One way to ensure that an organisation provides a good learning environment is by encouraging its members to recognize good ideas and share them for others to adapt and implement. This culture of can help in shaping up a healthy learning process that will also be fruitful and practically viable.

Make learning interactive

Learning needs to involve both the one imparting the knowledge and the one capturing it. Passive learning processes such as listening to a speaker in a one sided lecture or reading information out of a brochure can be monotonous and are less likely to stick. It is important to engage the learners through applied practice or interactions based on what they learnt from a session. Focus more on skill building, goal setting and experiential activities that will require the learners to be actively involved, thus improving their retention of knowledge.

Create an environment of support outside of the classroom

As already mentioned, organisation that don’t truly support a learning culture beyond the classroom cannot expect to have a learning program that will prove useful. It is important that your organization reinforces and supports the new knowledge that the learners have gained and encourages them to practically this knowledge at the workplace over time. New learners are already hesitant and unsure about applying new skills to their work. When the organizational structure welcomes new concepts and practices, employees will be better equipped to transfer the knowledge at the workplace.

Provide at-work learning partners

Don’t let learning be limited to trainers or knowledge partners alone. Provide your employees with learning opportunities at work under the valuable guidance of mentors and leaders of the organisation. There cannot be better knowledge providers than those who have themselves faced every challenge that running the organisation throws at them and gone on to become leaders. Build trust in your employees so that they are not hesitant to approach their superiors or the HR or internal coaches for continued guidance and learning.

For having a successful organisational learning program that sticks, it is important to first identify the needs of the learners and the organisation. Then you can go on to create an environment that will ensure long term implementation of a learning program that engages, intrigues and enriches the learners.

To learn more about creating effective learning programs and coaching, click here.

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