Almost every senior global learning or organizational development executive encounters the same challenges of delivering effective global learning. Even with the billions of dollars invested over the last decade, most global eLearning is not effective, suffers from significant drop out rates and is either not engaging, too long or just plain boring.
Too many organizations focus on learning retention. However, I think the key to great learning is retrieval — being able to retrieve the content or the competency when you need it to make a difference with a colleague or a customer.
The mistakes that most multi-national and global companies make around the goal of creating engaging, effective and efficacious learning include:
Trying to give learners as much as they can, as fast as they can. I describe this as being analogous to drinking through a fire hose. Think of it this way, if you planted a bunch of seeds and wanted them to grow, would you water them with a fire hose? Probably not. If you did, you would probably get lots of flooding, a muddy mess and maybe some patches of growth here and there. But, it you used drip irrigation or a sprinkler to water your seeds consistently over time, you would have nice, even growth and you wouldn’t have to go back later and replace the seeds that were destroyed in the flood. This is similar to the traditional learning and training we see in many companies that takes employees off of the job for large chunks of time and tries to give them all of the information they can pack into a couple days. They often cannot retain all of this information so quickly and won’t be able to effectively put all of their learning into action.
Doing a poor job of converting their instructor led content to an eLearning or mobile learning environment. Almost no one, unless it is mandatory, will watch a boring eLearning module with a talking head for 40, 50, 60 minutes or more. Especially if this content is subtitled or voiced over. It is not because the content isn’t good or helpful. It is because it is delivered in a way that is guaranteed NOT to produce a sustainable change or result.
Spending too much time, energy and effort on designing and delivering the learning and not enough time is spent on following up, reinforcing and implementing the learning.
The key to inverting these challenges is a learning model that focuses on repetition, practice, and reinforcement with built in action planning and accountability to put the learning into action. This type of learning can be compared to a sprinkler or drip irrigation system, whereby you drip in the learning slowly, consistently and spread out over time.
For example, GES’s Layered Learning solutions take the learner only 15- to 20-minutes per week and has built in reinforcement and tracking. The layered learning model is ideal for any organization that has a hard time taking employees off the job for large chunks of time.
The cumulative effect of layering in skills over time is significant, but what our customers have told us is that the process was not cumbersome or burdensome and a whole new set of tools showed up in their tool box almost seamlessly.
Each module structure is identical and contains the following sections:
The simple elegance of the layered learning model and the use of repetition, reinforcement and action planning are the key contributors to the documented ROI it has helped produced worldwide for our clients. And of course, the fact that each module is produced with every spoken and written word delivered in the learner’s local language with cultural personalization.