How many times have you had to watch a learning video and found yourself switching off?

Or found your mind wandering whilst sitting in a workshop, a lecture or even (small gasp) a meeting designed to teach you a new skill?

And, how many times have you left that learning environment and not been able to make the changes you were taught, or even remember what was said?

Only 5-10% of people can…


Making L&D Social: The research  

The majority of companies force feed their employees content and information as their main form of learning and development. Yet, research shows that this is not the best way for adults to learn.

We are told that the majority of learning comes experientially… the 70%… but, often we are told that this 70 % (Cough Cough Jennings) is inaccessible due to its social, non-formal nature. So, companies tend to bypass it and focus on the 20% and the 10%, using content based systems or traditional face to face manager/employee coaching methods.

So why do employers insist on supporting formal learning through the use of a content- based LMS? After all, 74% of companies are currently using one.

Research contradicts the value of this approach. And, if you want to do more formal coaching (which, let’s face it, is better than just content), it’s traditionally time consuming and incredibly expensive.

Now, I’m not saying that we should exclude content from professional learning because how on earth are you supposed to learn something new without the theory?

But, how do we keep employees engaged and learning without boring them to death and utilise the evolutionary 70% social learning environment?  

‘IT’S IMPOSSIBLE.’ I hear you cry.

 It’s really not.

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How to access the social learning environment

The first step is to move learning into the workplace and empower your employees to take hold of their own learning.

You can do this by using video capture rather than video content. If we give employees the opportunity to self-reflect and be coached on the real practice of their new skill, the ability for employees to embed that skill increases to 95% (Joyce and Showers, 2012).

By giving your employees the opportunity to record themselves in the workplace, they can measure their own performance and reflect upon their own learning by ACTUALLY seeing what they’re doing.

So, rather than just being told what to do and attempting to implement it, or forgetting about it completely, (the content, eLearning, blah blah). Employees can learn a new skill, then reflect on how well they’ve implemented that skill and allow you to start measuring and assessing the workplace learning environment. This contextualizes feedback and provides a cheaper more accessible coaching environment that can be completed over distance.

Now this is where it gets really interesting. Imagine you can share the video with a colleague, manager, or someone who is just really good at the job, and get them to feedback on the real practice example?


You can. We’ve arrived in the social learning environment.

Now we’ve tapped into the in-house expertise and found a way to empower employees to truly develop and show the progress they are making. And, by making it social, we’ve found that employees like to do it – enhancing social capital and developing a company learning culture.

Employees begin to take pride in their learning as it is reinforced with progress they can SEE they are making.


Have you used the social learning environment for your learning and development? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Get your free copy of our white paper, Vision for Learning Organisations, to explore how you can embed more effective social learning in your organisation.

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The problem with formality: making L&D social
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