Monday, June 28, 2010

6 Ways to Improve the Learning Experience, Today

1. Get Married!

You've spent a lot of time courting each other, get married already! The faster new-hires connect knowledge to performance, the faster they learn how to do things the “right” way. Give them a real assignment and let them spend their orientation (honeymoon) phase asking intelligent questions that will really help them. Place them in charge of a new project (with oversight) and let them apply that talent you so coveted on their resume. A daily process of offering content along with application helps employees understand why, when and how their performance is meaningful to you, the organization and customers.

2. Turn Off The Firehose

A highly linear delivery of topics, with a progressive order of learning objectives, is not always the most effective method for creating a compelling learning experience. A more situation-based, organic (but still logical) delivery of content, tools, and challenges can make the experience much more engaging.

3. Challenge Their Creativity

These new hires want to shine. Eager and engaged, they are waiting to tackle a meaningful challenge. Warning students in advance of every potential problem or tough section eliminates a more powerful learning experience. If done correctly, challenging learning moments can make learning more engaging and much more memorable.

4. Let Customers Teach

Use social media to introduce user-generated scenarios. Offer challenges (solving puzzles is inherently pleasurable for the brain) and let students determine the best resources available to solve them.

5. Fill The Gaps (not time)

Your learners must face challenges that are continually just beyond their skill and knowledge level, but which they believe they have the tools (their own ability, combined with the resources and tools) needed to keep acquiring new levels of skill and knowledge. Good, dynamic assessments (like coaching) can offer “just-in-time” support for any person, at any skill level.

6. Learning Happens Everywhere

You can find learning spaces at any number of customer touch points. You control some private spaces, like your office, the training center, the phone system, the lobby or your website. You are not in control of public spaces, such as parking lots, grocery stores, bars, Facebook, customer blogs, Twitter, and other social venues that don’t ask for your permission. Learning can occur in a parking lot or a website, yet he objective is the same: connect the learner to the learning to the performance that creates a better experience. You job is to learn how to use public spaces to help your employees learn.

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