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We think it is a good idea to take you through with different types of learning interventions, which will primarily work as food for thought for your learning activities.
Think of a learning intervention, which has really helped you over the years, think what were the different components of these interventions and how it made an instant learning connect with you.
We have divided the Learning Interventions into three categories, the interventions that we have added in each category are by no means exhaustive to the category, it is only a suggestive list you can add more interventions to this list. Our three categories are:
Come on read through the categories and find out that how you can further enrich your learning agenda for your organization
Conventional Learning Intervention
Conventional as the name suggests refers to anything that is established and well accepted, anything that has been proven to work over and over again and generate similar results.
All the Learning interventions that have been established over the years and have shown desired results are known as conventional learning interventions. Shortly we will share with you a brief detail of each learning intervention, meanwhile we want you to make your own list of learning interventions which in your view are established and well accepted, go on don’t be shy or lazy, pick up the pen and write the list down.
Our simple list of conventional learning interventions:
Instructor Led Class Room Trainings
On the Job Training
We are sure that you will know what each intervention entails however, we will take you through each intervention and briefly try to give you suggestions how you can use these interventions to your advantage and build your very own success story.
Reading club is a group of people who get together to read or discuss with each other what they have read. The reading club adds to the experience of reading as you can then discuss the ideas presented and the way it is presented with other readers, just the sharing and discussing the read adds significant learning experience to its members.
Using this conventional method has two primary advantages, firstly your learner continues reading new books, research, publications etc. as other club members motivate each other to keep reading. This enhances and continuously updates the overall knowledge base of your employees and members of the reading club.
Secondly your members interact with each other discussing material, which will help the overall organization; this intellectual interaction will build a formal support system for group thinking and open discussions.
You can launch the reading clubs formally or informally, for example you can have a formal club formation with pre-defined members and set together a time of an hour to two hours for these members to come together bi-weekly in a meeting room or reading room and discuss what they have read.
Informal way of doing the same is sending a small read to employees in the company and then during the week, just gather people around and ask them about the read, what was the read about? How do you think you will benefit from this read? How can you put this in action at work? Can you share similar examples? You can have these informal meetings and gatherings by mustering your whole floor together and discuss this, ask your HR business partners to do the same in their partnering departments.
Instructor Led Class Room Trainings
Instructor Led Class Room Trainings or commonly known as ILT (Instructor Led Trainings) are perhaps the most commonly used learning interventions. The reason for this might be because we are used to class room learning as most of us have spent over 12 years of every day in and out of classes at school. However, when we talk about trainings we move one step beyond a stand up lecture towards more active participations by the attendants. The role of the trainer then becomes more of a facilitator than a lecturer.
Here, participants learn the most through interaction with other participants while the trainer facilitates the learning process by keeping it focused towards the learning objectives. At the same time the trainer needs to infuse the participant with a thought or an action which will act as a catalyst for the learning process. Trainers often use activities during the training sessions which provide experiential learning. They may also use other tools and methods to generate the desired results, like using roles plays, group discussions, case studies etc.
Since, the Instructor is physically present in the room the learning experience for the participants is very up close and personal. Quality trainers generally are able to create a quick rapport with the participants of the training program, the trainer then is able to engage each participant in the transfer of learning process.
Generally, ILTs are considered to be a formal mode of learning transfer. Most of the organizations engage in learning and development through Instructor Led Trainings as they are easy to organize and also provide good strong learning deliverables that are conducted passionately with the right content and supporting activities, tools etc.
Since Trainings are the most widely used interventions, we will discuss in separate chapters why trainings are important and other aspects of Instructor Led Trainings such as Participant Nomination, Managing Invites, simply put Organizing the Training activity.
The purpose of ILT is to enhance Knowledge, Skill and build a desirable Attitude in the employee.
On the Job Trainings
Around 70% of learning and development for any’ new to role’ employee comes with on the job training. This is a simple concept of “Learning by Doing”, we all learn the most when we start actively working on the job that we are asked to do. Here we might seek the help of our line manager, our peers / co-workers, our subordinates or even our clients / vendors. The act of doing a task generally supports building mental work memory and creative ability to detail with the challenges of the work. Seldom simulated exercises meet the required skill development needed to perform day-to-day work.
In On the Job Training a more skilled or experienced resource is paired up with an unskilled or less experienced resource to train this resource while working together. Let’s take the example of a new filling assistant joining an archive library, here the chief filling officer will train the new joiner on the job on how to file the various documents properly in the library.
Generally, On the Job Training is used for entry level job positions in the organization or for skilled work positions like a plumber or a building construction assistant. However, some highly skilled work like financial auditing is also trained through on the job training called articleship or apprenticeship.
The purpose of OJT is to enhance Knowledge, Skill and build a desirable Attitude in the employees.
Seminars are formal gatherings where a larger number of participants get together to listen to a few speakers The content of the speech is generally rooted in newness related to the topic, meaning either a new way of working in the industry is presented where a key industry practitioner comes and speaks on the topic or a researcher presents the new research findings.
The purpose of the seminar is to enhance the audience’s knowledge base and thus, does not focus on the skill enhancement or attitude development.
It is a good idea that as learning manager you try going to every seminar that is related to human resource and person productivity. You can ensure that you send other functional representatives to their function related seminars.
Conferences are more or less similar to seminars; the major difference in conferences is participant engagement. In Conferences participants gather in large numbers and listen as well as interact with speakers, most speakers also comment and ask questions from other speakers while the formal session is underway. Majority of the time conferences are moderated by a facilitator and the speakers are industry practitioners or subject matter experts, sharing their experiences and knowledge of dealing with a challenging situation in their company.
The purpose of conference is to enhance knowledge base of the participants and provide networking opportunity to the attendees.
Again we will say that it is a good idea that as learning manager you try going to every conference that is related to human resource and personal productivity. You can ensure that you send other functional representatives to their function related conferences.
Contemporary Learning Intervention
Don’t get intimidated by the term contemporary and think that the conventional methods are outdated and will not work in your organization. In order for you to keep your organization current and ready for the present pool of human resources entering in the industry it is important for you to add little element of contemporary learning interventions in your learning agendas.
These interventions are now widely used in the developed economies as these economies are trying to gain maximum output from least amounts of inputs.
Our small list of contemporary learning interventions:
Experiential Learning Training Sessions
Virtual Instructor Led Training
On Job Engagement through Increase Challenges
Take a moment and read through the contemporary interventions and see the benefits the way we see them, you will be surprised to see the amount of impact you can generate using these simple methods.
Experiential Learning Training Sessions
“Tell me and I may forget, show me and I might remember, engage me and I will learn”
Humans learn the most by experiences that they have had in the past, Experiential Learning Training Sessions focus on generating experiences for the participants which will help them build Knowledge, Skill and Attitude. These sessions will have lot of activities, case studies and challenges built in the training session where the participants unlearn old and outdated concepts and learn new and current concepts to help them in their work.
There are a few number of Trainers in the market that have really mastered the experiential learning training techniques. So generally, these sessions and trainers are priced a little higher, but if you ask us, it definitely works to put in the extra investment. The learning into action out of ELTs (Experiential Learning Training Sessions) is more easily and willingly applied by the participants of the training session.
E-Learning Modules are learning content delivered using electronic media like over the internet, television, radio, audio messages / audio book reads, Learning Computer and cell phone games, etc. There are two types of E-Learning Modules, Interactive and Non Interactive. Radio programs, TV Programs, Audio messages / Audio Book Reads are some of the examples of non-interactive learning modules. These learning modules by the nature of the delivery mode are limited with their interaction capacity with the target audience. There are PowerPoint presentations which aim at transferring knowledge also fall in E-Learning non interactive modules.
You must have come across online videos designed to teach you a particular way of operating a program, this again is an E-Learning Module which is non-interactive, these modules are quite helpful if your organization is naturally inclined towards self-learning.
E-Learning Modules work in workspace where there is a general learning culture rooted in self-learning. In order to help you create the self-learning culture we will shortly talk about this in detail.
Another type of E-Learning Modules which are interactive modules that ask the participants to participate during the learning transfer by asking the participants questions, or asking participants to open dialogue boxes and pick the best responses. Here the smallest interaction of clicking the right button generates a significant difference in the learning retention and involvement.
E-Modules should be generally used for communicating a particular way of working; example where we have personally developed and successfully implemented E-Modules with outstanding results is with our country’s biggest FMCG Company. We launched the most successful E-Learning Program in that company’s history. Our E-Learning Solution was aimed at Sales Employees, with a range of interactive modules catering to different accepts of challenging and ever evolving sales job. These modules helped the sales force directly in the market on the ground and increased the quantity of sales along with quality of sales winning them multiple awards.
You can engage E-Learning modules in employee orientations, key job tasks and how to get them delivered; even certain soft skill trainings can be provided using e-modules and learning methods.
Virtual Instructor Led Training
As the name suggests, VILT or Virtual Instructor Led Training involves participants and the Trainer where the trainer might be virtually present at the place the participants are present, meaning through Video Conference, Audio Conference or remote presentation operations while the participants might be sitting together in one room or they might also be virtually connected to a virtual learning room.
This method solves the geographic spread problem of the participants, however, it requires the participants to be extremely committed to the learning cause and self-learning.
The role of the trainer is again more of a facilitator in this learning intervention by engaging participants in a focused discussion, group work and generally topic discussions.
Here, connectivity tools need to be excellent otherwise this learning method can backfire as well by creating a poor learning engagement due to technological difficulties.
Driven from the combination of two terms, Seminar and Web, Webinars are Seminars delivered through the internet using any video protocol or software to engage a large number of participants over the internet. Most webinars are conducted by a single speaker on a particular topic; the number of participants depends on the speaker’s popularity and connectivity.
Again the technological difficulties and a lack of self-learning culture can be a major hiccup for webinars to be extremely successful .However, in most developed economies webinars are making a lot of influence in the learning and development industry.
You can engage your top management to start conducting Webinars while the CEO sits in his room and connects over video streaming software and all the employees staying on their workstations connecting over the computers and the participants in the webinar. This will help build self-engagement and a learning culture in your organization.
Job Shadowing is an important part of developing top management. In a Job Shadowing program there are two involved participants, one participant is shadowed on the job and the other is present as the shadow. Take the example of a CFO and one of his director who is marked as the CFOs successor. Here, the director will attend all the meetings of the CFO as a silent observer in the background, the shadowing program is not limited to attending meetings. Moreover, it extends to a full day of work, if the CFO meets anyone from outside the organization or is simply working on his workstation, the shadow will be present and keenly observe the shadowed person asking occasional questions from shadowed person in privacy. This program’s success lies in the comfort level of the two people with each other.
Job Shadowing program can be used for all levels in the organization, but mostly, it is very position and person centric, just to explain you a little more, we only use job shadows for people who we know will replace the shadowed in near future.
It is different from OJT in one basic way, here the person being trained gains exposure of his trainer’s work while on OJT the trainer provides On Job exposure of trainee’s work.
Another keen way of using job shadowing is for students to explore various roles and pick a major field while they are studying, however, we do not recommend this, as internships are a better evaluation tool for a student to home in on his/her choice of work.
Coaching is all about taking the employees where they can’t take themselves. Coaching is more of handholding, exploring the potential of the employee by understanding his strengths, weaknesses and working on these areas with a customized plan for the employee. Here, the Coach’s concern for the employee’s success is very high as the coach is directly made responsible and accountable for the employees improvement.
Establishing a coaching culture is quite a challenging task especially when most of the coaches think that their prime responsibility lies in meeting their own business targets. The simple solution is to make the employee’s line managers his or her coach and have targets in the line manager’s/(coach) business goals, performance improvement through knowledge, skill enhancement and attitude development of his or her direct reports.
Coaching culture will only pickup in your organization if it starts from the top and the CEO demonstrates the derivatives of creating a strong coaching culture.
Coaching generally focuses on the skill development and technical aspect of the job.
Mentoring is like a grand father’s wisdom. A mother’s patience and a father’s kick in the right direction. At times it hurts, but gets the work done.
â€• Arslan Aseem
Mentoring interventions are where each of your employees select one mentor to guide them and counsel him or her. In Mentoring the person counseling or guiding is called the ‘Mentor’ while the person to be mentored is called “mentee” or “Mentoree”, here the Mentor and Mentee develop a relationship over time.
Mentoring is used to focus more on attitude development. It is not necessary that the mentor and mentee both belong to the same organization. The Mentee can choose any mentor who he or she feel comfortable with ,regardless, of the organization or even the work level. Your mentee can be a person outside your country or even industry.
The rewards for mentors and mentees are excellent, having mentored quite a few successful corporate individuals as mentors we gain a new horizon of looking at situations and it enable us to stay updated with current problems faced by new employees in the job market or job roles. If you personally don’t have a mentor, we suggest that you first try establishing a mentoring relationship before initiating a mentoring program in your organization.
We will love to be your mentors if you want to be successful!
On Job Engagement through increased Challenges
Most of us who wish to continuously learn, improve and grow in our work want challenging work to be given to them, each time with an added level of difficulty. Do you remember the computer games where you had to complete the first level and move on to the next level which had an additional difficulty for us to overcome, remember if you had reached level 5 and then had to play for some reason level 1 again it seems so easy and you just don’t want to take that much interest in doing the levels you have already done.
Work place is just like that game for most of us, where we learn how to do our present work well and then want more challenging work going forward, work which can develop our capabilities incrementally by an internal push of overcoming the present challenge.
Lack of difficult challenges is one of the main reason why you will have unhappy, low performance individuals as they will take their work as mundane and feel that they are capable of doing much more yet have been limited in their career development. If you can engage your employees by raising the bar through increased challenges in their workplace then you will significantly reduce their impression of lack of career development.
“Simulation Exercises” as the name suggests are syndicated exercises where in an artificial setting a situation is generated and the participants are requested to do their best to overcome the present challenge, here the learning comes from interaction with other participants as well as their responses generate a totally new simulation for the participants to work with. Simulation exercises should be used with participants who are put in positions where quick and thoughtful decision making is required or everyday they are involved in direct competition faceoff.
Simulation Exercises are also termed in few organizations as “War Games” and provide the employees the insight on how to deal with the competition as well as realize where they are going wrong and need to improve.
Futurist Learning Interventions
Looking at the growing trends in the social media and education industry we can quickly spot certain upcoming learning interventions which will start playing a key role in the enhancement of employee knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Our list is by no means complete but gives you significant food for thought to pick up trends and use them as learning interventions in your organizations.
Here is our short and simple list:
Collaborative workspace and zones
Reflective thinking targets
Learning by games
Learning by co-creation
These are more like concentrated short-term problem solving teams used by high performance organizations. The objectives of these groups are to collectively solve a real organization problem by collectively thinking and implementing the solutions in the organization. These teams are typically made up of cross-functional members which work together on the job as well, yet they are tasked with a new challenge of solving an important organizational challenge. During the process each member of the productivity group enhances their knowledge, skill and attitudes.
Blogs are discussion or informational websites where different individuals post their comments on a particular topic. Nowadays, blogs provide a lot of information, which is useful to the readers. They work like mini newspapers where every blogger writes down how he visualizes a situation or his narration of an event. You can have a blogging site for your company where all the employees can write down there thoughts of what they are doing in the company or what they should do etc.
Blogging will become an important part of employee life as more organizations realize the effectiveness of this tool. If you as a learning manager don’t have a learning blog then you start off right now, create one learning blog where you can let everyone know you’re a learning success and be part of the community that shares the wisdom all around.
Online forums are discussion centers where people can post a question or discussion topic and other members of the forum post their replies to the topic or questions. Here you can ask simple and often related as doubt (socially out of place) questions and experts as well as novice members will provide their experiences. The forums help you formulate a decision and enhance your concepts related to a particular topic. You can encourage employees to become part of multiple forums and start actively participating in them which will enhance their knowledge as well as their networking .
Collaborative Workspace & Zones
This is a workstation or work environment learning intervention solution; here you break down the barriers of rooms and even cubicles, replacing them with open floor maps, cozy work chairs, bean bags, brain teaser wall papers etc. these are informal zones built in the office space where employees gather around and work collectively, during this sitting and working collectively free talking and discussions are encouraged even playing music is encouraged, all the elements that make it a friendly informal workspace. Here people are collaborating with each other not because they have to be on the job but because they want to; as friends or as supportive co-workers. This environment greatly effects the overall learning of the employees as well as creativity, business innovation, networking for higher performance, and many others.
Reflective Thinking Targets
“Reflective thinking” involves employees to think about their own learning’s, what worked for them and what did not work for them. The employees are required to keep a track of all the learning reflections that were made during a course of a given period. Every employee when starts to track the overall learning progress that he has done, their learning automatically increase as a conscious effort. Using this intervention you will require assigning a progressive self-learning target with every employee and have them continuously think about what they have learned and how they have learnt. Also ,how the skills, knowledge and attitudes have changed within the employee.
This is a simple concept; two employees working together for mutual success will help and improve each other’s competitive work spirit. Here, you create a buddy system by asking two colleagues to be each other’s lifeguard as well as immediate competition. They have to help the other to improve the performance at work and be each other’s support system. This concept uses healthy competition as the fuel for the buddies to improve, yet, uses the support system to continuously improve their knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Learning by Games
You must understand that most of the workforce that is now entering into the corporate world have actively played games on computers or mobile phones rather than outdoor active sports. These professionals relate more promptly with games which closely resemble computer games or mobile games especially the ones on social media and internet.
As the learning manager you can have a developer (outsourced) to create similar games which will have a learning connect relating to your organization and have these games distributed within the organization, application games on mobiles, tablets, Ipads etc., it will dramatically improve the organizations learning culture through fun involvement.
Learning by Co-Creating
Every employee wishes to be part of something new, wishes to create a mark on the organization by introducing something which he can proudly claim as his own creation or as being part of a team which created something of high value. You can use this intervention by asking employees to set a learning content, activity, method etc. which will be used and advertised by his or her name in the organization. Here you let the employee do the learning intervention creation and you will be really surprised as to how that will radically improve your organization’s learning culture.
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