How to Foster and Implement an Effective Workplace Learning

Effective Workplace LearningDoes your company or organization foster and implement effective workplace learning?

Is there anything you can do to promote this concept?

We, as learning professionals—as a whole— need to maximize our impact to implement effective workplace learning.

Our job is work-performance improvement.

Workplace learning can be effective; you just need to implement a few critical steps:

      1. Practice Strategy Driven Workplace Learning – Workplace learning should be linked to the organizations or business unit’s goals and drivers. There should be explicit alignment between program objectives and business objectives. The goal is relevance.
      2. Practice Work-focused Action Learning – One of the most important elements of successful training and development is that it be easily transferred back to the workplace. Learning is built around action rather than simply theory. Providing training but no effort to ensure that learners will apply what they’ve learned is the height of professional malpractice. If we assume that learners remember what they’ve learned (which as we just saw is not a given), learners still must (a) remain motivated to apply what they’ve learned, (b) feel that there is some benefit to applying the learning, (c) have the resources and time to put their learning into practice, (d) get feedback and guidance to improve their performance, and (e) be prepared to overcome obstacles and frustrations in applying the learning.
      3. Practice the Power of Prompting Mechanisms – Prompting mechanisms rely on one particularly powerful human cognitive architecture—that our working memories are triggered easily by environmental stimuli. Prompting mechanisms include things like job aids, performance support tools, and signage, intuitive cues in our tools and equipment, and some forms of management oversight. They work because they prompt certain strands of thinking, and thus performance. For example, a job aid or template that lists 5 key interview goals, 10 key interview questions and their rationales automatically triggers in the interviewer a certain way of thinking about interviewing.
      4. Practice Measurement and Feedback to Spur Improvement – The bottom line on measurement is that measurement should provide us with valid feedback. Unfortunately, because we haven’t taken the human learning system into account in our measurement designs—and in our measurement models—we are getting biased information and drawing inappropriate conclusions from poor data. By only seeking learner opinions about the learning, we encourage a bias toward entertainment and engagement and away from content validity, remembering, and application. By measuring only during the learning event, we measure the learning intervention’s ability to create understanding, but we do not measure the learning intervention’s ability to support long-term remembering. We also fail to examine whether any training follow-through is utilized. By utilizing only low-level questions in our tests of learning, we fail to measure the ability of our learners to make decisions that relate to workplace performance. In short, we don’t get the feedback we need to make good learning decisions.

* Flor M. Glinoga, PhD is a Clinical Psychologist and is the President of Altabest Management Services, a corporate training services provider. She is an internationally recognized Management and HRD Consultant. With a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Masters in Development Management, Dr. Glinoga has a wealth of knowledge about individual, group, and organizational behavior.  For the past 36 years, she has engaged individuals and organizations in the change process to increase their productivity, efficiency and effectiveness to include HR Services, strategic business plan programs, develop leadership skills, and build self-mastery. Altabest can be reached through 0961-288761.