Employee training often consists of long, comprehensive seminars containing multiple videos and required readings. This content quickly becomes outdated. How often is yours updated?
The way we learn is similar to the concept of information retrieval, which means that people calculate the probability of a source giving them an answer against the time spent finding that answer. If they know someone has the answer, they are more likely to upset the person instead of looking elsewhere.
This pattern and training coincides with the forgetting curve, a concept that explains the sharp drop in retention if we don’t reinforce what we’ve learned.
The biggest takeaway from research on how we learn as adults is that relevant information should be presented when it is needed and in small chunks. This is where “just-in-time learning” comes in.
Just-in-time learning aims to deliver consumable information when your employee needs it. Remember that most adults prefer to learn by doing, and we can all struggle with selective attention. Information should be conveyed in a way that is not overwhelming.
Let’s review five steps that can contribute to successful workplace learning.
1. Make training relevant and timely.
Your employees want to learn information that will help them. Focus on how the information will benefit them to be more successful in their roles. Rather than bombarding your new hires with hours of information, deliver small doses of microcontent when they need it.
2. Consider the value of your employees’ time.
Take into account the hourly wages of your employees and the time they spend in training. If you calculate their hourly rate versus training hours, how much do your courses cost if the employee doesn’t get value and retain their knowledge? If your employees feel the training is a waste of time, they will multi-task throughout the course. Make sure the benefit is clear to your employees and that you develop your training with specific, measurable goals.
3. Involve your employees in the learning process.
Are your employees actively participating in the training or are they passive participants? Involving your employees in the training process is much more effective. Peers respect their peers and colleagues communicate better with each other than with senior management or an instructor. More importantly, when your employees are involved in the process, they own the outcome.
4. Balance learning with physical needs.
For your training to be successful, your employees must be mentally and physically healthy. If you’re hosting intensive in-person training, plan plenty of brain breaks, time to walk or stretch, healthy snacks, and ways to stay hydrated.
5. Structure your learning program with a multifaceted approach.
The need for your employees to retrain and upskill will continue to be important to your team’s success, especially as your organization strives to thrive through change. When it comes to learning, there is no silver bullet. Build a versatile and broad learning strategy to benefit the majority of your employees.
Learning on the job today is broken, but it doesn’t have to be! With these five steps, your employees will be more engaged, prepared and primed for success.