Close your classrooms and embrace modern L&D methods


How does mass customisation reflect the needs of individual learners? Just to reflect on the contradiction in terms. Social media and technology give people access to an overload of information - ...

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The provision of good learning and development opportunities is an imperative for retaining and engaging talented people. A dynamic and ever-changing business environment means we need employees who are motivated, resilient and change-ready.

Though we have long recognised problems with the traditional classroom method, it continues to be the favoured model for most corporate training. L&D professionals find it hard to demonstrate the value of traditional training courses to their CEOs and FDs, who know that traditional training fails to embed learning in any way that adds real value. By and large we only retain 10% of what we are told and then don’t use it at work anyway.

We know it doesn’t work and we need a new way, a more tech-savvy and 21st century route to helping employees learn and grow.

Engaged staff want development opportunities and training resources but they want them on their own terms. They want to pick and choose what they study and when; they want teaching that looks like social media and that uses gamification techniques to provide resources in a friendly, versatile and flexible offering; a system where users share, collaborate and communicate to create tailored learning packages.

A modern cloud-based learning environment should allow you to provide training that is:

  • Personalised, so you can tailor packages of information and resources for individuals and groups;
  • In a safe environment where learners collaborate and interact with other users online, accessing quality materials while pacing their learning and tracking progress;
  • Inquiry-based, so that learners can share and comment on information and experiences; raise issues and questions that are relevant to their workplace needs and problems; and work with each other to discuss, advise, share and resolve;
  • Collaborative. We learn much more from working with each other on a problem than we ever learn from being told what to do;
  • Interdisciplinary – learning something outside their own field isn’t a disadvantage to anyone, lifelong learning is a bonus;
  • Networked, so as many people as possible can use the resources as often and wherever they want. Close the classrooms and let your people learn while they travel, eat lunch, or in their own time.

Ditch the sheep dip approach. Cloud-based collaborative software is not as expensive as you might think and allows the mass customisation of L&D that reflects the needs of individual learners as well as organisational objectives. You can use video to prep students for online sessions and forums; run diagnostics and feedback real time; record sessions for review and follow-up; enable Q&A sessions and valuable knowledge management initiatives.

The great benefits of such technology are that you can take advantage of online resources such as TED talks and YouTube clips that give access to management gurus you couldn’t afford for a live appearance. You can maintain an online library of materials to add depth and breadth to the training offering, and you can tap in-house expertise by using your own people to teach each other.

Participation is key, there’s not much point in restricting access to materials. While you might direct people to resources that are relevant, the use of social media and game type designs creates engaging and creative ways of hooking in learners. You’ll get much more value from your training effort and encourage your people to collaborate, play to their strengths and build an agile and creative workforce.

Michael Moran is founder and CEO of 10Eighty, a strengths-based consultancy specialising in organisational and people performance


How does mass customisation reflect the needs of individual learners? Just to reflect on the contradiction in terms. Social media and technology give people access to an overload of information - tailoring that to individual needs sounds like the right rhetoric, but how does that work in practice? How do you distil what people need to learn to be successful at work, at the pace of change? Looking at 70-20-10 principles of how people learn, there is a huge investment already by companies in on-line learning resources - but how does that translate into how people actually learn or develop at work? Most training is about 'tick-in-the-box' to giving people access to learning resources, but it says little about companies who truly offer people great development opportunities or manage people's talent potential.

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