Being active in the field of L&D for quite some time, I’ve taken part in several learning seminars but the ATD international Conference and Expo has remained a dream. For a smaller satisfaction, I’ve registered myself for the regional summit here in India. To my surprise, the event turned out to be a lot bigger, better, and beneficial than I imagined it to be. I’ll not expand on the entire event, even though the reporter inside me desires to do so. I’ll take you through some key takeaways from the event that witnessed the participation of some big names in the industry.
One of the featured speakers began his speech with an open question for the audience asking to guess what percentage of training they conduct every year, will be actually used on job. There were many guesses ranging from 0 to 70%. However, it was revealed that nearly 75% of the trainings have never been used on job. This didn’t surprise many in the audience since if it were any better; we wouldn’t have been there at the summit, looking for a better solution. Many statistics were presented as evidence to support this statement and most of it seemed true. The entire event concentrated on identifying the root cause for the gaps in talent development and proposing possible solutions to upskill the workforce to the desired level.
One of the common reasons expressed for the failure of training initiatives was that learners often do not see the need or necessity of the training they have to undergo. They clearly feel that the training has been pushed upon them for no big reason. This type of learning is termed as push type which is obviously named after the perspective of the learner towards the training initiative. The speakers have stated a possible reason for this. Here in India, the learning journey is usually linear beginning with school and ending at college or a university. People feel that they are done with their learning needs once they step into a professional career. Therefore, when we get to them with a new training initiative, it will only appear as an unnecessary burden being pushed upon them.
There were many discussions held at the event to help transform this push type learning to a learning type that doesn’t need an effort to be taken to the learner but instead, draws the learners towards it. In short, a pull type learning that attracts the learners onboard a journey towards betterment. I’ve picked up three ideas we need to try looking at to bring in this transformation.
1. Context First, Gamification Next
It felt genuinely exciting when people in the industry started discussing about and even started implementing advanced instructional strategies such as gamification to support their training needs. But somewhere in this run towards being one of the early adapters of futuristic strategies, are we not ignoring our objective of tailoring our trainings to suit the learners? The answer is yes in most of the cases. Regardless of the strategy we use, it is of the utmost importance that we keep the learner context in mind while planning our trainings.
A learner centric training program is the key to bring the training one step closer to the learner. During the planning and execution of training, every decision that you take will have a direct impact on the learner and his future actions. Hence the learner context always needs to be the first thing on your mind followed by your instructional strategies that support your very cause.
2. Using LMS to Map the Learning to the Career
Since the rise of Learning Management Systems (LMS), managing and monitoring the training needs has become easier. The LMS usually consists of learning maps that the learner or the employer can view to see where they stand in the learning cycle. One of the interesting ideas that was discussed in the summit was to create learning maps in the LMS which in turn can be mapped to the career growth of the learner. That is, create learning maps that will not only display the learning journey of the learner, but will also show how he/she has progressed in the career simultaneously with the help of these trainings. This adds motivational value to the learner encouraging him/her to pursue the training in a positive mood. After all, it is the designations and pay scales we are all worried about, aren’t we?
3. Game Based Learning Vs. Gamified Training
Many companies have now inclined towards gamification. But gamification remains to be a strategy used internally in the training program. This is usually termed as game-based learning. But have we ever thought of gamifying the way the training is conducted? Isn’t that interesting? This was one of the fascinating ideas I carried back from the summit.
Applying gamification at a higher level can produce results we haven’t seen before. For example, let’s consider you are developing an e-learning program to train the huge sales force of a multi-national company. You could create a game here (probably on the LMS) to gamify your training. Since the company has its presence in several countries, create a digital showcase which displays the learning progress of each of its branches on a map. Display the achievements of each division and offer some rewards such as trophies for the ones that outperform. This creates a kind of competition between the learners and will boost their motivation levels to a great extent.
Few more ideas to develop pull type learning include making the current learners share their experiences from training with the current and future learners and many more. It was a great experience being a part of the conference and I look forward to attend many more in the future. Hope you had a nice read.
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