CATEGORY: Business | AUTHOR: Racheal Smith
Balancing the Learning Experience
Blending Modalities in this Post-Pandemic World
Let’s face it; we are all sick of Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet. We all adapted spectacularly to the pandemic and evolved a way of working and learning online that has changed how we live our lives. Yet, it has also left us fatigued by time in front of a screen. So, when considering what learning solution to present to our colleagues, we think twice about offering an online experience. People crave contact with people, and learning is a social activity.
Therefore, the challenge for learning and development professionals becomes more complex. There is an understanding that online is more convenient and cheaper. However, there is an acceptance that other modalities are more powerful and offer a more significant impact.
Here we explore whether a potential answer can come from acknowledging the power of informal learning. What if everything was learning, and employees didn’t even have to stop their work?
Informality as the balance of learning
When we set everything up as a formal learning activity, it becomes an event. We expect our participants to shift their mindset into learning mode and soak up the wonderful lessons delivered. More likely, the learner struggles to maintain concentration through the learning, is glad when it is over and wants only to attain the certificate of attendance.
Formal learning and development activity allows you to tick a box and say you have delivered the stated training, and then the emphasis is on the employee to action this. It is also easy to mix up your offer here by sometimes getting people into a room together and requiring them to access a tech solution via your LMS.
However, balance in learning truly comes when the learner chooses to shift between a moment of formal learning and carrying this with them informally as they live or work. Ideally, we need the learner to identify themselves when learning is required, undertake the work to improve knowledge, set about putting an experiment together to apply this in practice, and have the reflective mindset to consider if this is working.
The Entelechy Experience
When designing our learning solution, we chose technology as our modality. We have an app, and we have a web platform. We created a self-directed solution, where the learner travels through the steps of our learning journey and pops out the other end a better person than they were before.
Yet, we were brave when creating this app. Typically, an app aims to lock the learner in. Everything they need for their experience is within the confines of the screen — the ultimate imbalance. Humans don’t learn this way.
So, we have created a formal journey and we tell the learner to go away and see how it works out. We encourage five or ten minutes on the app at a time, and we ask the learner to carry the ideas of the app around with them during their day. So, rather than commit to educating learners, we have committed to helping the learner to develop themselves.
Our solution balances the tech with the in-real-life experience, because we do strange things such as telling the learner to speak to someone who knows more about something than them. We suggest they put together an action plan, then put the phone down and put the plan into action. We even have plans to extend the Entelechy experience to events where people meet other people who have a common desire to make the most of their humanity.
When learning isn’t a wholly formal activity, and you commit to nurturing the evolution of a learning mindset, the issue of balance becomes irrelevant. Learning is not categorised as a separate activity but as part of everything our employees do.