Many employees are very focused on their work.
They put in the hours, get the results their bosses want, and they start over again at the beginning of a new year.
Ask them to put aside a certain numbers of hours a year for training courses and their first reaction would be “Does this affect my productivity at work?”.
This is usually quickly followed up by “I’m already very good at what I do… why do I still need training?”.
But with the rapidly evolving work environment these days, skills we have today may be irrelevant within just a few years.
In fact, roles that may seem indispensable today could well be redundant tomorrow.
Training courses have never been more relevant or important in today’s context.
Here are some ways in which I think companies can make the learning journey more interesting and relevant to employees.
Make Learning Short and Sharp
Micro-learning is the in-thing now in learning and development. And it is not hard to see why.
It is essentially a way of teaching and delivering lessons to students in small and very specific bursts. Rather than one-hour long lectures, a ‘class’ can just last all of five minutes, usually less.
Because people’s attention span has shortened drastically due to technology, lessons that are short and sweet will be increasingly popular.
This is especially important as more millennials join the workforce. This generation, whose average attention span is said to be a mere 90 seconds, would be looking at micro-learning more than traditional modes of learning.
Axonify, a micro-learning platform based in Canada, did an online study of 350,000 of its users recently.
Its 2018 Micro-learning Global Benchmark Report found that 75 per cent of employees took micro-learning classes two or three times a week.
The report concluded that micro-learning causes students to form habits of learning because the sessions fit seamlessly into their ‘agile’ work environment.
Whenever they have little pockets of free time, employees can start a class, almost like having a coffee break.
The Axonify report said that those who used micro-learning retained 85 per cent of what they learned, much higher than the retention rate of traditional courses.
Micro-learning also allows users to manage their own training by letting them ‘pull’ information as and when they need it, rather than ‘push’ information to them that management think they need.
This also helps users to remember better as they are likely to have applied the new knowledge immediately to an actual task in their work.
Make Learning Personal
The one-size-fits-all module of learning no longer works. Instead, it is now about individuals customising or personalising their own training.
After all, even within a group of 10 or 20 bankers of a certain age group or seniority, each of them would have different levels of knowledge of a topic.
This of course works on the assumption that the individual knows best what they are weak at or what they need to improve on.
But more importantly, personalising training also means that our employees get to learn at their own pace.
Often, it is difficult to get a group of people away from their jobs for even half a day, much less a day. This is especially so for private bankers, where markets and client demands can pull them away or distract them from the course.
It may be better to give them access to online learning modules which they can ‘attend’ as and when they have a lull in their work.
That is why Bank of Singapore recently tied up with Coursera for Business to offer our employees access to more than 3,000 online courses that cover a whole range of skills – from their core skills such as investment management to softer skills in personal development and leadership as well.
They can also access these in real-time, meaning they can take the lesson any time they want when they are in a more conducive mood or situation to learn.
In this way, our colleagues can take ownership of their own learning and development, picking courses they find most useful for them both professionally and personally and going at their own pace.
Make Learning a Game
We all know we should make learning fun. But can we make learning a game?
The gamification of learning is a method of learning that uses game elements in a learning environment.
Taken literally, it could mean that courses are conducted as a game for students to play and learn in the process.
But even including elements such as earning badges, points and leaderboards to a lesson is considered gamification.
Most adults now play at least one game app on their tablet or mobile phone so gamifying education tools can be a really good way to encourage more people to take up courses. It also changes the perception that training is tedious and boring.
It may seem a bit too gimmicky, but gamification in learning and development has been shown to produce results in terms of embedding new knowledge in students.
At Deloitte’s Leadership Academy, gamification of its courses has seen more participants complete their programmes, more time spent on the site and 37 per cent more people returning to the site every week.
At Deloitte, courses are termed as missions that participants have to complete to progress in the ‘game’. And the completion of each course earns them a badge.
Special badges are given for specific tasks. For example, if an entire department finishes a certain course in a week, they all get a special badge.
This way, learning is made fun and colleagues can encourage each other to participate. It builds up individual’s skill sets and also builds team bonding in the process.
There has never been a more exciting time in Learning & Development. With so much change in society now, we have to also change our ways of teaching and learning so that lessons get through to our employees.
That is the best way we can continue to thrive as employees, but also as an organisation as a whole.Disclaimer applicable to recommendation
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