When someone comes in and says, “We need training on …”
You should ask, “How critical is the need for knowledge?”
This past week, we had the pleasure of hosting our final webinar of the year. Over the course of an hour, our Principal Learning Strategist JD Dillon walked attendees through six simple steps to building a modern learning ecosystem. To get a sense of how the framework is broken down you can catch the webinar on-demand at any time or take a look through the slides.
JD’s framework describes what’s involved in building a modern learning ecosystem. And, in using this framework to solve practical workplace problems, JD takes inspiration from Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson by applying the idea of criticality. Here’s a scenario common to probably all learning leaders to highlight the importance of this framework:
Someone walks up to you and says, “we need training on…” How do you respond? Let’s take a look at the six steps and see how we can use them to approach this situation in a simple, yet structured, way:
When faced with this scenario, the first question JD would advise you to ask is, “How critical is the need for knowledge?”
The rule-of-thumb is: the more critical the need for knowledge, the more structure you will need to support your employees learning that knowledge, and the more components of the framework you will need. Here’s a quick outline of each step of the framework, starting at the bottom:
- Shared knowledge: This is the knowledge that learning leaders often ignore or else don’t effectively capitalize on: the information in each employee’s head. All training programs should start with how to make this knowledge available to the entire workforce, not only to help preserve it, but also so it’s available for access when it’s needed.
- Performance support: This level of structure provides support for those who “raise their hand” to ask for help. This includes support tools, coaching, or putting them in touch with a subject matter expert.
- Continued Reinforcement: The most important thing that happens in training is what happens after This step focuses on how we help people retain information long-term through a continued reinforcement strategy.
- Management Support: Similar to performance support, this level of structure provides support for managers around coaching and mentoring their team.
- On-Demand Training: This more structured level provides training that is available to the learner when they choose to take it.
- Formal: This is the level that learning leaders are most familiar with: a highly-designed, push-type of experience. The bread and butter of L&D.
- Regardless of whether the need is critical or not, you should always start at the bottom of the framework and work your way up. This way you can ensure that knowledge not only grows but also is sustained and shared over time.
Think of your business for a moment and visualize some of the most critical pieces of knowledge your employees need to have. Now go back to the framework and identify how you are currently supporting the growth, sharing and sustainability of this knowledge over time. Do you see any gaps in your ecosystem?