7 Tips to Support Continuous Learning
Continuous learning is part of our lives as we adapt to change. Microsoft releases a new version of Excel and you can’t find how to do subtotals. A new coworker joins your team and you must learn how to adapt to their personality. You are invited to lead a cross-functional team and you need to figure out how to manage and motivate a group you’ve just met. You get a new phone and now the search engine is at the bottom of the screen.
It’s important for employees to keep learning so they can move forward and get promoted but also to stay updated for their current job. Learning goes beyond a single event. Learning should continue after the class is over or after the video is watched.
1. Reduce Cognitive Load
There are limits to how much information the human brain can process and store at a time. Cognitive load is an important concept when it comes to employee training, instructional design, and continuous learning.
Evaluate the complexity of the content you are trying to train. Consider shorter sessions or videos that could be viewed and reviewed. As a new manager, I attended a full day training class on interviewing skills. This could easily have been broken down into a shorter session and saved me a day of lost productivity.
2. Incorporate Microlearning
One way to reduce cognitive load is to incorporate microlearning. Research shows employees get interrupted every 11 minutes. Can you break down a 60-minute class into 10 six-minute videos? Shorter courses are easier to fit into a busy schedule so employees can learn every day.
You can read more about the science of microlearning in our free whitepaper.
3. Include Training Reinforcement
We all need refreshers and reminders when it comes to learning new things. Training reinforcement tools will help your learners retain more of the information that is being taught, help them to change behaviors and support continuous learning. These tools can help you fight the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve and encourage practice and reflection.
These tools might include:
- Recurring exams and quizzes
- Reminder videos
- User favorite
4. Utilize Mobile Learning
Don't restrict the learning process to a classroom or desktop. If you really want to promote continuous learning, let your learners access training anywhere, anytime. Our mobile devices are typically within arm's-reach. You may even be reading this blog on yours.
Mobile learning is dynamic and allows your employees to access training at their own pace and schedule. A delivery driver could access a course on working in hot weather while on a break in their truck. A salesperson could rewatch a series on handling objections while at the airport.
5. Promote Training
Many of our clients utilize flyers from our marketing toolkit to drive awareness and enthusiasm for training for their employees. In some cases, we have created custom flyers at the client’s request. One client recently promoted a plastic-free October and utilized our content on workplace sustainability.
You can easily tie training to the popular monthly awareness months you see in social media:
- National Technology Day January 6th: Promote courses on cybersecurity, digital transformation or new software.
- June is Safety Awareness Month: Promote training that applies to both home and work like fire extinguisher safety, ladder safety, and emergency exits.
- National Online Learning Day September 15th: Open up your library and encourage everyone to try a new course or two, just for fun!
Think about any other tools you already have in place like a company newsletter, intranet, and all-hands meetings. A friend of mine who worked in HR created “The Toilet Times.” It was a printed newsletter she put in the bathroom stalls to promote key messages from HR, including training!
6. Support a True Learning Culture
A learning culture is a set of organizational values, processes, and practices that encourage employees - and the organization as a whole - to continuously learn and add new skills. Do your managers demonstrate the value of training and allow employees the flexibility and time to participate? Is your LMS simple and intuitive for both your administrators and learners?
You can read more about the benefits of a true learning culture in our whitepaper.
7. Allow Self-Directed Learning
An easy way to encourage continuous learning is to open up your training library so employees can access any course, at any time. Let them find topics that appeal to their personal development goals and interests. For example:
- Someone feels overwhelmed with new responsibilities so they may seek out courses on time management or project management.
- A call center manager is unhappy with the department culture of gossip and complaints so they look for courses on dealing with difficult coworkers and team building.
- An entry-level employee in their first stable job is receiving a regular paycheck for the first time. They need to learn about financial literacy topics like direct deposit and setting up their first checking account.
Our world is constantly changing. Whether it is new technology, new employees, or new processes, your employees need to be nimble enough to adapt and learn new skills. Working with a company like ej4 can help to support continuous learning. To learn more about our LMS and training content, sign up for a free trial of Thinkoom, our LMS.
- What is Cognitive Load, and Why Does It Matter for Corporate Training and Development?
- The Science of Microlearning
- 10 Benefits of a True Learning Culture
Editor’s note: Some of the concepts in this blog were inspired by Jane Bozarth’s session at DevLearn 2021 entitled "Building continuous learning campaigns.” Follow her on Twitter.