By Lynn Gallin
Effective learning cannot be treated as an event; it must be treated as an ongoing, daily process.
More than a century ago, German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus pioneered an experimental study of memory. He discovered that if a learner does not apply newly acquired knowledge within six hours, he will only retain 50 percent of what he learned. Ebbinghaus also found that if the knowledge is not applied within 30 days, the learner will likely forget a whopping 90 percent of what he learned.
Continuous learning is at the foundation of what makes a great leader; but how can leaders be committed to always refining skills and learning new competencies when they’re so strapped for time? The average worker only has 24 minutes during the work week to devote to his or her development.
With such time constraints, it is critical for today’s organizations to deliver relevant, contextual learning opportunities in the moment of need, to empower employees to drive their own development and reach their goals. By embedding continuous learning into the core of organizational culture, business leaders can build a self-developing organization that consistently motivates current managers and future leaders.
To ensure that a continuous learning program resonates with learners, consider the following strategies:
Learning at the Moment of Need
One of the biggest contributing factors to a successful learning program is how a user accesses content. Training opportunities must be available just-in-time and today’s busy manager must be able to quickly apply the newly acquired knowledge on the job. Studies show that people absorb new information better if it is delivered in small, easily digested blocks. Segmenting content increases learner retention and rapidly builds leadership skills. Elearning technology provides organizations the tools to prompt employees, whether at a desk or in the field through mobile capabilities, to invest a few minutes in learning, reflection and on-the-job application.
A first-time manager will likely need to learn different development content than a mid-level manager or an executive. It’s important to target relevant content to each learner.By leveraging big data, elearning solutions can help an organization predict and prescribe content. By combining these capabilities with competency-aligned content, organizations can deliver a highly-personalized learning program to increase employee enablement, leadership development and succession planning.
Lynn Gallin is a Senior Product Marketing Manager – Leadership at Skillsoft.