How Training Consultants Can Build A Culture of Learning
Organizations are exerting much more effort to improve upon their culture, but not everyone gets it right. Generally, corporate culture can be broken down into six components: vision, values, practices, people, narrative, and environment. Each component reflects an important piece what makes an organization successful. The corporate training industry has also emphasized the importance of a culture of learning within an organization. Arguably, these six components apply to a culture of learning as well. Whereas building corporate culture is often the responsibility of the HR department, designing, developing, and deploying a culture of learning falls on internal employee learning and development teams or external training consultants.
So, how can training consultants have an impact on something as complex as a culture? The values and practices that contribute to a culture tend to be well-established ideas and behaviors. So, forming new ideas and shaping the behaviors that are at the foundation of a corporate culture should be well within the skillset of training consultants.
Start with a Needs Analysis
The values and practices that contribute to a culture tend to be well-established ideas and behaviors.
Before starting such a large project, determine the goals of the learning culture initiative and uncover the organizational challenges that are hampering success. Some examples of learning goals might be an increase in optional training content consumption, utilization of training materials, or how often training content is shared between peers.
Finding organizational challenges takes a bit of work. However, by conducting a thorough needs analysis, training consultants can identify current employee behaviors and values that are detrimental to a positive learning culture. Typically, a needs analysis will involve surveys, interviews, focus groups, and data analysis to gather information about the gaps between the current state and the ideal state of the organization.
Design a Long-term Learning Curriculum
The key to creating a culture of learning is to promote continuous learning. Learning should be embedded within the vision, values, and practices of an organization. Instead of the occasional training events, shape employee impressions of their training experience to be more of a consistent experience that continues through the duration of their employment. Yet, designing a long-term learning curriculum is no small feat. It must have three vital components to be successful.
Learning should be embedded within the vision, values, and practices of an organization.
- Flexible Design- As learners navigate your content, the analysis their performance should give insight into how well certain activities work. Use their feedback, content consumption, and performance data to improve your training design. Subsequent learners will benefit from those changes, and the analysis may provide suggestions around how to build future assets and activities.
- Personalized Content- When content is relevant to your learners, it’s more likely they will be engaged. You can personalize learning paths without making completely different courses. For example, allow learners to pre-test out of certain modules and continue onto more difficult subjects.
- Consistent Delivery- To imbed learning within the culture of your organization, learning needs to become commonplace. Through continuous learning strategies, employees will begin to see training as a part of their role at the company.
Increasing Engagement and Motivation
One of the most overlooked roles a training consultant has in creating a culture of learning is to discover the nuances of motivational factors specific to a company, department, or role. Well-crafted learning assets won’t have much of an impact if learners aren’t motivated to consume training content. So, instructional design often employs behavioral or motivational theory methods to capture the attention of learners through gamification or social learning. For example, the theory of operant conditioning describes the process of giving learners rewards for appropriate responses to increase the likelihood that behavior occurs again. This theory is the foundation of gamification for corporate training, but it’s worth mentioning that social engagement can be rewarding on its own. Determine the factors that motivate your specific audience (e.g., raises, time off, branded swag, career development, etc.)
Building a Better Learning Culture
Learning is instrumental to most organizational change, and that includes building a culture of learning. Essentially, the role of a training consultant is to shape the knowledge, behaviors, and values of learners. While changing deeply engrained ideas like values can be tricky, it can be accomplished with a data-driven long-term curriculum.