I studied music theory and jazz music in high school. I was no Miles Davis but I was a decent trumpet player. However, to suggest that ten years later that I’d still be as good without having practiced or even picked up a trumpet in that time would just be untrue. Conversely, it’d be wrong to say I had hit my absolute peak in musical ability before turning 20, and should have treated my high school years as a one-and-done musical learning experience.
And yet, when it comes to training, that one-and-done mentality seems to prevail. Learning shouldn’t be treated as an event we pencil into our schedules once a month for completion’s sake, but should be a continual process. To understand how this learning lifecycle can help make training more effective, let’s examine the steps in this process.
Stages in the Learning Lifecycle
One of the biggest challenges for any training is getting your learners to buy into the “why.” We cannot dictate training necessity to learners; they must be motivated to seek new knowledge and commit to learning and using it. This involves recognizing needs and establishing baseline performance from which to improve and objective knowledge goals to aim for. Having a clear knowledge goal will help learners understand what they’ll get out of training.
Once your learners are ready to start training, you cannot simply do a didactic dump of information into their heads. Their training must be self-motivated and applicable to their work, should provide them the opportunity to assess and practice their new skills, and should be based in an organic environment of giving and receiving feedback. In the learner’s mind, they should be able to immediately connect what they’ve learned today to how they’ll use it tomorrow. And allowing them to discover and maximize on new skills helps make that happen.
You owe it to your learners to help these new skills stick. A lot of training tends to exist in a vacuum with little or no follow-up strategy, which is where the “why” factor is frequently lost on the learner. Provide your learners with opportunities to transfer new skills to their job. Make your office a community of practice where employees learn new things each day, outside of formal training sessions. As you do, you’ll reinforce what’s been learned, and learners will discover new skills for their jobs, starting the learning lifecycle anew.
Applying Microlearning to the Learning Lifecycle
One way to give your curriculum flexibility across the learner lifecycle is by incorporating microlearning assets. Click the image below to learn how you can bring microlearning into different training techniques and build knowledge across the learning lifecycle.
Need more examples? Check out these 7 awesome microlearning examples from inside and outside the training world.