Workplace training has gained a negative reputation due to many programs consisting of lengthy sessions focused on compliance and regulations. Employees often dislike such sessions and fail to see their relevance to their daily job responsibilities. However, it is crucial for your team to not only complete the required trainings but also retain the knowledge. One effective approach to promote continuous growth among learners is to transition from a training culture to a learning culture.

So, what’s the distinction?

In a training culture, it is assumed that employees acquire skills solely through designated workshops. On the other hand, a learning culture values and encourages ongoing learning by celebrating achievements and providing incentives.

In order to have a significant impact on team development, the L&D (Learning and Development) department must cultivate a learning culture.

Moving from training culture to learning culture

A training culture, in the end, influences actions, molds connections, and has an effect on overall achievements. Below are four measures to transition from a training culture to a culture of learning.

1. Align with leadership.

In an effective learning culture, L&D stakeholders and executives share a common understanding and goal. A majority of executives, over 50%, emphasize the importance of connecting learning initiatives with business results.

When leaders give priority to learning, employees are more motivated and feel a greater sense of responsibility. In fact, 94% of employees express that they would remain with a company for a longer duration if it actively invests in their professional growth.

L&D teams should focus on educating senior management about the advantages of retaining skilled and committed employees. By doing so, it becomes easier to establish alignment between all parties involved.

2. Encourage manager involvement. 

The guidance provided by managers can have a positive impact on the development and motivation of employees. To promote a culture of learning, managers should actively encourage ongoing learning efforts.

Similar to other aspects of running a business, managers should lead by example and exhibit the behaviors they wish to see in their employees. They should personally engage in continuous learning and inquire about their employees’ progress in their learning endeavors during performance evaluations.

This is significant because 56% of employees agree that they would dedicate more time to learning if their managers specifically directed them towards relevant courses for acquiring or enhancing skills.

Although it may require employees to take time away from their usual tasks, motivating them to attend networking events, enroll in courses, or actively participate in social learning activities will cultivate an environment that fosters support, respect, and personal growth.

3. Don’t disregard soft skills.  

To be effective in their job, individuals need technical training to acquire vocational skills. On the other hand, soft skills encompass intangible qualities such as communication, collaboration, and time management. Developing positive behavior and teaching these soft skills is highly valuable in cultivating reliable and proficient employees who can represent an organization effectively.

Currently, organizations prioritize the teaching of soft skills as a key objective, as 92% of executives believe that these skills are equally or even more important than technical skills. By incorporating soft skills into their learning curriculum, companies can create employees who possess a well-rounded skill set.

4. Incorporate technology. 

Investing in a learning platform can offer valuable benefits for L&D teams in terms of managing, personalizing, tracking, and scaling learning activities. Individuals across various roles, including talent developers, executives, and employees, recognize the significant challenge of finding time for learning. By adopting a digital learning solution, it becomes simpler for everyone to access learning materials conveniently in a single, comprehensive platform. However, it is important to note that developing a learning culture takes time and cannot be achieved overnight.

Effective learning platforms go beyond providing access to content; they also offer data and analytics capabilities. These tools enable L&D teams to gain valuable insights into the program, evaluate its strengths, gauge employee engagement, and measure performance. Ultimately, the aim is to create a learning culture within the organization, and these insights contribute to achieving that goal.

Why Continuous Learning Is Essential To A Learning Culture

We’ve all experienced it before—the conference presentation that could easily be described as an overwhelming amount of information or simply a rehash of the book.

We understand that becoming proficient in something requires time and effort. However, we are constantly bombarded with promises of “quick tips,” “top secrets,” or “life hacks” in today’s world.

Not surprisingly, one-day training sessions or short courses often leave us unsatisfied with mediocre outcomes. With the mounting expectations to deliver a high return on investment, who has time to waste on subpar results?

Fortunately, there is a superior approach—continuous learning.

How Does Continuous Learning Work? 

In continuous learning, individuals engage in a process where they constantly review the material until they achieve a high level of proficiency. Unlike conventional learning methods, there are no fixed exam dates or deadlines imposed. Instead of receiving a percentage indicating their level of understanding, learners persistently work on the material until they attain complete mastery.

In this approach, learners begin by taking a diagnostic assessment, which helps identify their current knowledge and areas for improvement. They then follow a personalized learning plan tailored to their specific needs until the next assessment. The goal is to repeat this cycle, starting afresh with a new personalized learning plan that focuses on the areas that require mastery.

5 Tips to Improve Learner Engagement with Continuous Learning

  1. Personalized Learning Plans: Continuous online learning platforms generate customized plans to ensure learners remain engaged. These plans are designed to match each individual’s skill level, providing a suitable challenge while ensuring comprehension. Learners can skip content they have already mastered, resulting in a continuous process of upskilling without boredom.
  2. Adaptive Learning: Adaptive learning takes personalized learning to the next level by focusing on improving the learner’s experience and performance throughout the course. Instead of a pre-test at the beginning, adaptive learning adjusts the course material based on the learner’s progress. It identifies areas that require more attention and provides targeted content, preventing learners from reviewing information they have already mastered.
  3. Microlearning Modules: Incorporating microlearning into continuous learning is essential to accommodate busy professionals. Shorter learning modules have been shown to boost engagement, with 58% of employees expressing a preference for them. Microlearning helps reinforce mastery of course content by delivering daily bite-sized material. It enables instructional designers to structure the material effectively, offering frequent testing opportunities to address any misunderstandings.
  4. Progress Tracking: Seeing progress over time contributes to a sense of happiness and motivation during the learning journey. Continuous learning platforms allow learners to track their growth, much like Duolingo does by indicating mastered or unmastered modules. As learners make progress, they can unlock more challenging lessons. Visualizing progress provides psychological encouragement and keeps learners engaged.
  5. Push Notifications: One advantage of continuous learning over traditional Learning Management Systems is the ability to deliver content directly to users’ mobile devices. Research indicates that adults check their phones approximately 96 times per day, or about once every 10 minutes. Reminder notifications have proven effective in increasing attendance for in-person classes by over 25%. Imagine the impact of push notifications for short 2-5 minute microlearning modules that learners can easily complete on their smartphones.

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