Friday, March 15, 2013

Why we need more FOCUS during learning moments

As a learning consultant I am often confronted with the quantity dilemma : On one side organizations want intense learning moments and urge me to "train" their people in leadership, change management, communication, timemanagement and project management and all of these preferably in a 2 day program. On the other hand participants in these trainings can only really "learn" in between 1 and 5 things (if not less) in these 2 days. 

At the end of a training I always ask for their take-aways from the training. Some participants give me a list of 10 or even more items they learned and want to apply as from tomorrow onwards. 

Unfortunately this is way too much. People don't change that radically in such a short timespan. Or they need more time with a clear schedule (what will I learn when and how) or we need to create more focus and learn them only 1 to 3 things at a time. 

Learning to ski
I love to ski and despite my long experience, I take a 2 hour training every year again. The ski monitor always starts with some easy skiing while he observes me. After these first 10 minutes, they tell me what I do right and how I can improve. Not a list of 15 items, but only 1 or 2 focus items. At the end of the ski-training, my ski abilities are improved. 
Why ? Because we focus on a small number of improvement points (although there is still more than enough room for improvement)

Translate this into business life
I believe one of the most important jobs for Learning & Development Managers should be to help employees to create learning paths. Step by step. Where do I have to start ? What should I be able of by when ? How will we evaluate the employee acquired the right competence ? 

Especially when people start in a new job, we need to help them to create a step by step introduction program. What should you be able of after your first month, after three months, after 6 months, ... After every stage, we should evaluate and check if any further support is needed. 

Unfortunately too many people require there new employees to be up and running and 100% competent after one week (preferably in their first day).

This doesn't fly ! We need focus and we need a step-by-step approach. 

Not only during introduction program, but after every good learning moment. Ask participants what they learned and want to apply and then help them to create focus. What is the one item they want to start with, then what, ... 

To round up 
Give people more focus when they learn and be patient. 

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