Benefits of a continual learning approach
The future of business skills training
A continual learning program approach to skills development may seem very broad and comprehensive. Is it worth the time and effort required to make it work successfully? There are numerous benefits to applying a continual learning and reinforcement approach:
Improved retention and application
By maximising the relevance of the content to be learned in role-specific, highly tailored content, and by matching the delivery of that content to the way that adult professionals actually learn, a continual learning program greatly improves the retention and use of those best practices. Traditional skills training then diminishes very quickly. Research has shown that learners forget what has been taught, at varying rates (the forgetting curve). This is due to many variables, including the way in which they learn (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and also the context in which this knowledge can be applied. A continual learning approach raises that retention and adoption rate, producing much broader and more consistent application of effective business skills practices, which in turn, results in a much better performing individual. In short, a continual learning program enables the organisation's staff compliment to become a highly successful team – one that sets it apart, not only by what they do, but also by how they engage with each other and the organisation's external partners (suppliers and customers).
Optimisation of time and expense
A continual learning program establishes role-based curriculum for each person in the organisation. As a result, no one will waste any time or money in training on content that is not highly relevant to their success. Further, a continual learning program enables more predictable costs, by providing a fully realised approach that can be adopted over time, for the entire organisation.
Reduced dependency on human factors
The weakest link in any skills training project is the first-line manager. They must not only develop proficiency in the methods, processes and skills being trained, but must also inspect and coach the development of those new competencies. This is a heavy burden to bear, and most line managers do an inadequate job supporting new practices, no matter how much they try to do so. A continual learning program relieves this additional burden on the line managers as the program’s scheduled and on-demand reinforcement components reveal what aspects of training need to be coached and developed – making their job much easier, and the program much more successful.
Unlimited learning experience
All people learn in different ways at different times. A continual learning approach recognises this fundamental aspect of human beings, and provides unlimited access to content required for their success in a variety of media, modalities, and methods. This mix of effective content availability supports improved mastery and development of essential business skills – which ultimately translates into improved organisational efficiency.
Tracks learning and business outcomes
A continual learning approach is a business investment, built first and foremost on how the organisation's staff can best align with the business process, thereby ensuring a measurable ROI and optimised WSP. Built into a continual learning program is formal measurement of key success metrics – before, during, and after exposure to improved functional practices. These metrics include both measurement of learning and retention, as well as key business metrics (KPI).
Looking to start a skills training initiative?
When considering a skills training initiative, companies will have a clear choice to make. Will they continue to invest in event-based, flavour-of-the-month training? Or will they make a legitimate commitment to a continual learning strategy – one that may span multiple years and become ingrained in corporate process and culture, with WSP and KPIs that are aligned to business processes to ensure ROI? The challenge is moving from a collection of good ideas to tangible action, and translating these best practices into a formal program for learning and development. With more than 15 years experience in the business skills training area, CorporateWise has adopted such an approach and believes that the challenges of the future for successful companies demands nothing less for agile excellence.