People now have to go through constant change in their work environment. How can we make sure learning engages users and meets business needs?
Complex projects mean big changes for the user community so we need to go over and above a normal training course.
Traditional structured learning can fail because it makes assumptions about what delegates need to learn. If this assumption is wrong, then the learner is faced with content that they don’t relate to, and which they know won’t have any relevance for them in their role.
Less push, more facilitation
One way of ensuring that the learning is relevant is to allow learners to shape the content themselves, using a less prescriptive, more facilitative approach – think less classroom more workshop.
This may mean that the objectives of the session are not pre-defined, and creates an atmosphere where the “trainer” takes a step back and allows the learners to lead.
The trainer will need to provide structure to the session, and provide subject matter content as required, but should allow the learners to explore unpredicted avenues.
Sometimes the content may be entirely new to the learners, but it still needs to be made relevant and relatable. In this situation, a good approach may be to allow the learners to create their own realistic scenarios to apply the content to. This will generally involve pre-work with representative users to generate reliable and realistic scenarios which people will encounter in their roles.
In this way, learners feel that they have had the opportunity to apply their own real world applications in a way that makes sense to them, as well as building their confidence that the content (whether system, soft-skills or process) is fit for purpose outside the protected training environment.
This approach does present challenges to the provider. Firstly, to allow the “off-piste” exploration of the subject matter, the trainer must know more than the narrow field of content dictated by a pre-structured session. By inviting this discussion, the trainer’s knowledge and credibility are really put to the test.
Without pre-defined learning objectives, evaluation of learning becomes harder to measure. User satisfaction as a metric should hopefully increase with this approach, and if done well, the required behavior changes should be embedded more effectively.
With this in mind, it may make more sense to implement post-training evaluation which assesses whether the required behaviour change and business benefits have been achieved, with less focus on meeting potentially irrelevant learning objectives.
To Make Change Stick, those of us actually delivering change to people need to meet the challenge of genuinely involving them in change. We need to facilitate collaboration between colleagues and prompt conversation about real scenarios, whilst all the time providing measurable results that show that people have adopted the new and are confident with it.