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Band-aid approach to training is passe !

Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, formulated the Forgetting Curve that depicts the relationship between memory and time. Assuming absorption rate is 100% on day 1 of learning, the retention rate drops to just 2 to 3% by end of 30 days. With additional retention disruptors in today’s world, there’s an enormous need to keep up the curve and hence the need for a continuous learning journey. 

One-off or short-term band-aid style training is not going to make the cut. As a Trainer myself, when organizations approach me to conduct a specific employee training and development course, I respond with the following questions:

1) What’s your CEO’s training and development vision for the company? We need to ensure there is a complete buy-in from the management to achieving the Learning and Development goals. 

2) Is there an holistic skills and competency matrix in place for all employees?

3) What kind of Learning and Development related Technology infrastructure is in place? This includes a Learning Management System, Learning Portal, Learning Journey Tracker, eLearning Academy and Online Learning Analytics.  

4) Are all key stakeholders involved in the employee development? These stakeholders (or trusted consultants) are typically the business leaders, Learning and Development leaders, Human Resources and even the learners (or employees) themselves. 

5) What is the learning strategy? To arrive at this, we need to understand the business objectives, learning objectives and instructional objectives. 

The above probing can help to form the basis to build a long-term blended training program that will ideally involve components like instructor-led classroom training, digital training resources, gamification techniques and mobile learning. A sample (from Avvanz Develop) shown below exhibits how several blended learning assets can be employed to offer a holistic and engaging learning and development for the employees. 

Some of you reading this article might start worrying – This sounds like a big project to swallow that will be costly and time-consuming. This is absolutely not true! With an ecosystem of solutions and technological advances, learning and development can be deployed “just in time”. Towards Maturity’s 2016-2017 Learning Benchmark Report – Unlocking Potential – states that  95% of L&D professionals want to respond faster to business demands. They need to be agile to the changing business dynamics and this critical responsibility has to be shared with solution providers who need to be able to provide and curate a breadth of “relevant” solutions in a timely manner within the budget constraints. The learning and development should have the flexibility to happen at the time and place of need (anytime and anywhere) via the desired platform (be it a laptop or smart device or physical classroom). Now organizations have started to leverage virtual and augmented reality, highly complex simulation games, social learning and collaboration. 

With a jungle of learning and development systems, tools and resources in abundant availability, the focus should always remain on the learner. The learner needs to feel that (s)he is in the driving seat, is always engaged, is completely accountable for the learning and application to workplace, believes in lifelong and continuous learning with a clear direction and guidance from the L&D Team (along with the external solution partners) to help steer the learner. All these can happen only with a long-term integrated blended learning approach. 

The author, Kannan Chettiar, is Managing Director of Avvanz and is an established Certified Trainer himself. He has worked with several global and regional organizations and has mapped out highly contextualised, customised and localised training and development programs.

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