Often in elearning and learning design we can get focused on making sure people learn the content but can easily forget about how we can motivate our audience to do something new as a result of their learning. Learning is only the first part of the puzzle, doing something different as result of that learning is where the difference is made. Not only is it important to help people learn it’s also important that they are motivated to then implement that new learning.
What sort of things do we need to consider to make sure change occurs as a result of our learning design?
Make sure there is the opportunity to put what was learnt into practice within a reasonable timeframe. This combats the forgetting curve and improves return on investment.
One time I was sent on a Microsoft Project course by a business (without requesting it) and although I appreciated the opportunity to learn about this software they might as well just have burnt the money. After the course I repeatedly queried when I would receive the software only to find out there was no budget to actually give me the software! It was a negative return on investment.
2 Business support
Just because a request has come from the business doesn’t mean the desired change is actually supported by the business. Check if there is anything working against the learning and performance outcomes of the planned learning solution. Is there already leadership and manager buy-in, will they support the change? Are targets and measures aligned to the performance outcomes? Are there sufficient processes, tools, and structures in place?
If there are things in the business working against or conflicting with the training or learning it’s likely that the benefits will be short-lived as people return to business as usual.
3 Action plan
Ask for commitment from your learners on how they will implement their learning in the workplace. No learning is useful unless it is actually applied.
This may be as simple as asking your learners to jot down (or type into your elearning course) one thing they will start doing, one thing they will keep doing, and one thing they will stop doing and the timeframes for these. Even better if their goal setting is visible to their managers. After all, if staff are given time to complete an elearning or other learning solution wouldn’t it be better if they use what they learnt…
4 Time to practice
Learning is a journey and opportunities for trial and error are important. Check if your target audience will have time to practice their new skills or knowledge on the job. Perhaps they could even be given on-the-job tasks or assignments and their managers are involved in their learning and performance improvement (this one also links back to business support).
Elearning or any type of learning design is not a magic wand for change. For any learning solution to be truly successful must take into account what happens after the learning intervention and how progression and performance improvement continues.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, why not add a comment? How do you make change happen beyond elearning?