To educate, learn or train? That is the question!

Should we in L&D be focussed on improving job performance and hence all learning is focussed on that or should we be looking for people to be inspired to learn more and be more self-directed?

I spent some time in July writing my book, “How not to waste your money on training” and during the week I had a few philosophical moments. One was about the difference between education, training and learning. I often speak to L&D professionals about the difference between a training needs analysis and a learning needs analysis. How the former always leads to training whereas the latter leads to something broader than just training; it could be learning in many different forms.

In a similar way I was thinking about how my degree in chemical engineering and fuel technology was a good education. It prepared me for the world of work and also began a lifelong desire to learn more. When I moved from engineering to IT training with IBM we were called “instructors” and I worked in the IBM Education Centre in St. John’s Wood. Was what people received when they came to us there, an education? I am not so sure. I would hope the delegates were more prepared for their world of work and that they were inspired to learn more. But how broad was that inspiration? Did they become self-motivated learners keen to go beyond the traditional training course to further develop themselves?

This leads me to the present day; my title changed from instructor to trainer to L&D professional/facilitator. How do I define though whether I am educating, training or helping people to learn?

A few years after I gained my Certificate in Training Practice, I began working with trainers, delivering the CIPD Certificate in Training Practice, then the Certificate in Learning and Development Practice. Through my accelerated learning programmes, I further worked with L&D professionals to help them learn more about an approach that has been taking shape over many years. An approach that helps me focus on organisational needs as well as learner requirements. Programmes that took 8 months of weekly 4 hour sessions, were delivered in 8 one day sessions moving to a well-known learning provider. Now I deliver a 6-week programme, which includes a 2 day workshop and I cannot possibly ‘cover’ all I used to.

Leading by example and walking-the -talk have been driving forces in our organisation “How to Accelerate Learning”. Facilitation is practiced and runs like an invisible thread through the programmes. Inspiring resources and innovative ways of learning through gamification, create a different feel to the programme, leaving many people “inspired” – their words not ours. Even hardened trainers with years of experience under their belts talk of how different it feels.

This has not always been a deliberate intention, but a on occasions, a happy and accidental one. One that we persist with because of the results we achieve and the feedback we get. We put effort into:

  • Drilling deeper into needs to see if learning is the appropriate course of action
  • Delivering learning via a blend of activities not just training
  • Helping people to gain confidence in stepping out of their comfort zone – to experience new ways to help people learn
  • Using unusual materials and resources to inspire a different approach
  • Following up the learning so it is not just a one-time event

So, I don’t feel like it is training in the traditional sense; not like when I was a VM Instructor. Nor do I feel that it is just learning because of the feedback we get. So are we educating and is that now the remit of L&D?

 

Imagine if …. #6

 

This is the approach that we take at How to Accelerate Learning. Many other people do too (without calling it that!). In this blog series we will be looking at each of the 6 parts of the Learning Loop approach. So imagine …. what if, YOU were to take this approach:

Number 6: Learning interventions are underpinned by accelerated learning principles

I have been using accelerated learning principles for quite a number of years now and probably even before I knew what it was.

Accelerated learning brings together many models and theories which are practical and give results. Elliot Masie saw an improvement of 300% in the retention of information, switching from traditional to accelerated learning principles. I worked with an L&D team in Atos and Debbie Meddins, the manager reported a cut of 30% in trainer prep time.

So imagine if, your trainers took less time to prepare and the learning was more sticky? What might that mean:

  • More time to develop relationships with stakeholders to keep your finger on the pulse of the organisation
  • More time to explore new learning methodologies and a wider variety (see my #100ways2learn if you are stuck)
  • More time to develop new skills and create more of a learning culture
  • Fewer refresher courses and more credibility in L&D
  • Performance improvements that are more sustainable and noticeable

Would you like to know more about this approach? Then you have some choices:

OOPs I designed it again

HTAL - 14OOPS I designed it again – how to avoid reinventing the wheel in learning design

Would you like to make design of learning interventions easy? Would you like to be able to reuse activities so that design becomes much more modular? Would you like to design multiple programmes quickly and tailor for specific groups of performers? So in this article I will introduce to you a methodology not dissimilar to something used in programming, which helps you to achieve this.

Some of you may already know this but my first degree was in Chemical Engineering and Fuel Technology. As part of my degree we learnt how to program in Fortran and basic. This was to be very helpful when 6 years later I made a career change and became an IT trainer.

Just lately I have been making connections with a certain type of programming and how I have been developing the Learning Loop, a brand new way to do Train-the-trainer. When I first launched the Learning Loop Programme, I promised it to be:

  • Tailored to the individuals attending
  • Activity led and not content driven
  • Suitable for L&D people of any level of skill or experience
  • Creative and business focused

Object Oriented Programming (OOP) requires a different mind set. Instead of using the traditional approach to programming, where you start at the beginning and work your way through to writing the (sometimes unwieldy) programme, you start to recognize parts that are reusable and generic. Thus coding becomes more about using those generic parts and then adding the odd bit of customized code. This principal can also be applied to designing learning interventions.

When creating a new Learning Loop for an open workshop or a new client, it always starts with the objectives- making sure they are SMART using Robert Magers’ PCS framework. Once the objectives have been outlined then the design can begin. Initially there would be more design, but now every time I run a new workshop, after writing the objectives I can then reuse a good deal of the activities. The key is in determining the correct level and scope of the learning – whether it is skills, knowledge or attitudinal. Not designing too broadly is also key, then you can mix and match activities from the library you create over time.

HTAL - 13This can be applied to designing multiple leadership programmes for different levels of leader. Write clear learning outcomes from the organisational ones.  Select from your library the generic activities you can use at each level. Select for the higher levels additional learning activities and maybe then also design some new additional ones required to tailor at each level.

If you would like help to use this approach, then get in touch for a free 30 minute telephone consultation today: info@howtoacceleratelearning.co.uk

 

Imagine if …..#3

llapproach-copyThis is the approach that we take at How to Accelerate Learning. Many other people do too (without calling it that!). In this blog series we will be looking at each of the 6 parts of the Learning Loop approach. So imagine …. what if, YOU were to take this approach:

Number 3: L&D use a consultancy approach when asked to design or deliver:

 

I speak to many L&D professionals who work in a “reactive” rather than a “proactive” mode. This sometimes feels to them like they have no choice. A typical scenario may be:

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  • A stakeholder receives bad news
  • Stakeholder thinks they can fix it with some training so they call in L&D
  • Stakeholder tells L&D what they need and when
  • Stakeholder gets more bad news, when the approach is not working as planned

So when you use a consultancy approach, what might you expect? Here are a few things:

  • A detailed conversation about what the situation is that needs addressing
  • A willingness and openness to dig deeper to explore what might be happening (or not happening)
  • Less rush to the solution and more understanding about the real issues that needs to be sorted
  • A partnership approach, seeking advice and working together, rather than being told when and what to do
  • Targeted, business focussed solutions that at times may not have any training included
  • An eagerness for the stakeholder to measure the success, with responsibility for measurement being with them
  • Budgets justified, support offered and resources available

Would you like to more about this approach? Then you have some choices:

Imagine if….#2

llapproach-copyThis is the approach that we take at How to Accelerate Learning. Many other people do too (without calling it that!). In this blog series we will be looking at each of the 6 parts of the Learning Loop approach. So imagine …. what if, YOU were to take this approach:

Number 2: Stakeholder engagement and management skills are developed:

I am often shocked that so many L&D professionals do not fully utilise their stakeholders and engage with them. Some people do not know who all their stakeholders are, or their value and so this short video can help.

Once you have identified and categorised your stakeholders, you can:

  • Spend most time with those that have most influence and also support you
  • Build bridges with those that have influence, but are yet to see your value in L&D
  • Get support when times are tough from those who understand you
  • Learn how to quickly dispatch those who demand a lot of your time, with little in return

So let us imagine if you have the key stakeholders on board, what will that look like:

  • They will approach you with a business case to run a programme, with budgets in place
  • They will work with you to put in place measures that will evaluate the effectiveness of any programmes
  • They will win over those other stakeholders that you need support from
  • There will be an ongoing dialogue with them and regular “temperature checks” to see where you are
  • It will be easier to justify resources because the business case will have been made.
  • They will trust your judgment and ask “how” it should be done, when they present with an issue that needs solving
  • They will trust your approach, even if its new and radical because of the trust between you

If this is true, why don’t we do this all the time…..

Would you like to more about this approach? Then you have some choices:

Imagine if…..

llapproach-copyThis is the approach that we take at How to Accelerate Learning. Many other people do too (without calling it that!). In this blog series we will be looking at each of the 6 parts of the Learning Loop approach. So imagine …. what if, YOU were to take this approach:

Number 1: Everyone understands the whole learning cycle:

Recently I have been working with team leaders in an organisation to help them stop prescribing training as a cure all. This means a whole host of things in reality. To start team leaders have deeper conversations with their team members, when they ask “Can I go on a confidence building course”. They ask questions like “Why do you think you need this?” or “What has happened to your confidence?”. They begin to have more meaningful conversations about their development.

Solutions to performance problems start to look different – they might include spending some time with a colleague, or rethinking a process that is a bit clunky, reading an article or watching a short YouTube clip or a combination of all of them.

When they start to dig deeper and don’t know how to tackle something, they approach L&D, with a solid business case as to why this is important and explore if a learning solution may be the answer.

So what is the impact on the organisation of this approach:

  • It becomes more about performance rather than learning.
  • Money spent on learning is targeted
  • The organisation sees the value learning brings
  • Budgets are approved via business cases
  • Projects are prioritised according to business case

Would you like to more about this approach? Then you have some choices:

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