Designing Meaningful Learning
Not all learning is created equal. School life is a great reminder of this inequality. Back in the day, some teachers created learning environments where intellectual curiosity and active engagement thrived. Thus, we gradually fell in love with the subject matter they taught so enthusiastically. Whereas other teachers, well, we remember them… I guess… because of…you know what I mean. That’s why we fondly remember Mr. Smith but regret knowing Ms. Jones.
Working life can be eerily similar. Unfortunately, too often, in a professional setting, we might feel as if we are still in school, stuck with these infamous teachers that we would want to forget. Sometimes, mind numbing meetings and disengaging “skill sharpening” sessions seem the norm rather than the exception.
One of the main problems with some of today’s corporate learning environments is its short-sighted nature. As companies push hard for profits, the expectation is for employees to highly perform without offering the tools and training needed to succeed. It’s like asking a turtle to beat Andre De Grasse at the 100 metres. Just not happening.
Then this might happen: the company will offer a poorly designed and ineffective training program, alas wasting valuable resources, time and money, and ends with employees not better skilled at moving business forward. In this case, it’s like spending weeks on ill-training a turtle to beat an eager rabbit. Just not happening.
Therefore, taking the time to design and deliver a program that suits specific needs is crucial.
Yes, it takes time and money but the investment will pay off many times over in the longer run and in more ways than one can imagine.
The foundation of a great training program has key features that can’t be overlooked.
In sum, a great training program:
· meets the learner’s needs
· requires thinking and challenges preconceptions
· delivers in small chunks, cognizant of each intellectual process
· connects to what one does
· offers choices for the learner to explore what he wishes to improve
· delivers learning in a well-thought out manner
· draws in the learner’s experiences and skills
· has a clear purpose
Most importantly, we must never lose sight that a great training program applies to employees’ real life. In other words, it makes completing employees’ jobs easier, better and faster.