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Five popular myths about training that need to be ignored

by Susan Dumas - October 13, 2016

We support L&D teams to make a bigger impact on their business. Being clear on what good practice looks like is one of the ways to do that. Whether you are just exploring digital learning for the first time, delivering classroom training, creating your own eLearning or buying in the services of an eLearning provider - there is a right way and a wrong way to think about learning! 

Understanding the modern worker

If you work as part of a training or Learning & Development team, you'll probably already know:

  • Employee engagement is declining world-wide 
  • We receive at least 5 times more information each day than we did in the 1980s
  • Workplaces are getting more complex ; virtual teams, mix of freelance and permanent staff and ever changing business models
  • Technology has reduced the barriers to compete globally but increased the expectations of employees to be 'always-on'

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Here are our top 5 training and learning myths - maybe you have additional myths?

1. You can’t trust people to plan, manage and execute their own learning

So, you are an adult. You probably run your own home, own a vehicle of some sort, own several expensive devices and manage many complex things outside of the workplace. How did you learn to do all of this? You learned because you had to; you talked to friends, family, you observed people, you read books, trawled the internet and Youtube is your best friend!

According to Towards Maturity research; Preparing for the Future of Learning In-Focus Report April 2016,
A Changing Perspective for L&D Leaders:

“At best, only one in three L&D professionals are successfully shifting culture to a more
self-directed learning model.”

If we can manage our lives perfectly well outside the workplace, why does that change when we come into our jobs? Mostly because the workplace for many of us is a follow-on and an extension of school. Our school lives were structured around lessons and classrooms, set times to learn and set amounts of information to take in. But the world of work is no longer like that. We need people to be able to adapt and learn in more flexible ways, and to be able to keep their own skills relevant and up-to-date. 

So the job for L&D is to support, help and inspire staff to be self-directed in their learning, then stand back and let people get on with it.

2. Classroom is the gold standard for learning

Following on from #1, there are so many more ways to learn than getting people together in a classroom. Since the early 2000s, tools like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have made it so much easier for people to find networks of like-minded professionals to keep up-to-date.

The classroom isn’t dead – it is still useful for many different types of learning experiences. But offering your staff a range of learning resources that they can access or ‘pull’ when they need them, makes much more sense in today’s fast-paced world. Classroom training should be one part of your overall learning strategy. 

The ‘resources not courses’ is a new mantra for 21st century learning. And many of the most successful global companies are taking this approach. There is also a new wave of free online resources, where you can learn about everything from behavioural economics to how to knit your first sweater in 24 hours!

The skill of content curation is becoming a must have for L&D. How do you find relevant (free, if possible), online resources that will help you staff fulfil core learning needs. Many organisations are trying out MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses. Many of the largest Universities are putting their content, with optional teaching support online for free. The optional teaching support normally comes with a certificate of completion, which you can pay for and add to your CV.

Check out some popular MOOCs

Business and Management MOOC list

From some of the larger US Universities
Top 10 US free MOCs

Other online content sources
Khan Academy – from basic maths, to science and a growing number of business courses
Free online business courses – Alison
Design, web development, software development, business – Lynda.com

3. eLearning is boring and puts people off learning

Poor eLearning IS boring. But not all eLearning is poor! Take a look at our Success stories

At Logicearth, we would argue that the concept of eLearning is misunderstood. eLearning as we know it now, has been hijacked mostly as poor quality click-next text and graphics to tick the box of compliance training. But eLearning should be seen in a more holistic sense. eLearning to us means - anytime, anywhere, anyplace learning which is facilitated BY technology. So it can be eLearning content, but it could be a webinar, a podcast, a skype call, an interactive infographic or a really good explainer animation.

If you are bringing eLearning into your organisation for the first time, demand more from your eLearning providers. Challenge them to give you the best of what modern eLearning can offer, which should include much, much more than eLearning courses.

4. All learning should be ‘trackable’ on the Learning Management System (LMS)

For many organisations, their ‘modernisation of training’ journey starts with LMS procurement. It is understandable that this happens.

If you are in a large organisation, an LMS does make it easy for you to store, administer and make accessible any learning resources that your staff need. Despite many of our protestations against so-called compliance training, most organisations, for regulatory purposes, still need to record who has completed vital training in areas such as Data Protection, Health and Safety and other topics. But this doesn’t mean that everything needs to be tracked or be part of the LMS. 

Think about your job roles. Ask yourself:

What are the learning experiences needed to support someone from novice to master in a particular job role?

If you are not sure, talk to a range of people of that scale in that role. From there it is easy to create specific Job Support pages on your LMS, with contributions from many people in the role. The page could have a mix of short videos – possible interviews from high performers in the role, specific technical content pertinent to the role, internal policies etc.

You could also ‘bolt-on’ a community to support this page. Imagine a new recruit being able to post a question directly to someone experienced in the role. This reduces the barriers to knowledge sharing and encourages a culture of learning, community and collaboration.

The point is that the modern LMS should offer much more than tracking courses. You can see an example of this in our LMS social platform ‘LearningSocial’



5. Using social media and the Internet as tools for learning is a distraction

The core issue here is trust. Do you trust your staff to use the tools they need to do their job, or do you need to issue specific guidelines to restrict their use? There are many arguments for and against access to these tools, but in a 2014 survey, social media led to better relationships at work:

More than three-quarters of the people surveyed use social media at work,
and 61% say it has led to better relationships.

And given that we know the brain cycles from highest attention to lowest attention approximately every 90 minutes, having a short break to check something on Twitter or LinkedIn along with other options of taking a screen break makes sense.

As we move more and more into the ‘gig economy’ where many of us will have mixed teams of freelance and permanent staff, social media is an ideal tool to stay connected – as well as learn about the skills of others. We all know the phrase – tapping into the collective wisdom, so if you ban access to that wisdom, what will that mean for your organisation?

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Learning is about supporting and empowering the individual

People change the world, not organisations! OK so I made that one up, but you can see where I am going. Making it easier and more interesting for people to develop their own skills is better for your staff and your organisation. Trust, access to good resources, tools and helping staff to see the progression that is available in their roles is key.

For the L&D professional, understanding the modern context of business and what staff really need to learn is vital.

We explain more about how we can help L&D teams here.  

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