Why Learning Solutions are not Sustainable?

This is an original content from the CEO of Think Codex where we take this opportunity to share his views and how did Think Codex came about. This article addresses the issue of Why Learning Solutions are not Sustainable and the elements that would contribute towards it.

Why learning solutions are not sustainable?

Organisations are spending a huge amount of money on training and development but still we are seeing people complaining about how they do not see the relevance of it to their work or that they fail to bring the knowledge back into their workplace. So I was thinking about how to make learning more efficient and the best person to start with is myself. I started to recall the moments where I had failed to bring the key lessons of the trainings I had been to back into my workplace and I started dissecting them into the their elements. I figured that while there are a number of external factors which are outside a L&D Professional’s control, like organisational culture and structure, here are some of the factors that are within our influence.

Recall – Can a person remember what they have learnt?
The typical training method of teaching through slides and written material has been in existence since 600B.C, during the time of the ancient Greeks. While the tools may have changed (Eg, Papyrus paper to Powerpoint), the method remains the same. More importantly the method has been found by research to have the lowest recall rate. This means we need to seek out newer and proven methodologies such as prototyping and simulations. By changing the methodology, we can shift retention rate from 10% to as high as 90% - which is a staggering increase of 9x. This is because when we prototype in a realistic environment, we customise the knowledge/solution in accordance to our own style and personality. This creates ownership and we tend to recall things better if we created it with our own effort. People have thrown questions at me saying "how can we direct what a person learns if he/she were to direct his/her own learning. We cannot ensure that they learn the desired material". I will address this in the next section.

Confidence – Is the person willing to try out the learning(s) at work?
Why is a person reluctant to try out what they’ve have learnt in trainings? At the heart of it, it boils down to this dialogue within their heads – “This looks good, but will it work for me? Will I be able to do it?” The only way to ease such fears is for a person to be able to try out the concepts and theories in a safe environment. Such an environment must provide business-like reality to mirror the complexity and challenges in the working world. Random games and activities will not be able to allay the fears of a person. In short, the learning environment must bring participants to the mental and emotional state of a real business. With regards to the previous question, simulations guide a person towards the key learnings by incorporating the raw concept of it into design, with the environment built around it. However the participants are free to take their personalised actions towards achieving them. But of course there will be check and balances to ensure that the participants do not stray away into a different dimension and stay within the area of the key learnings. This not only helps them with recall, but also amplifies the feeling of empowerment with regards to their actions. 

Simplicity – Is the learning & tools hindering implementation?
I once attended a highly regarded decision making workshop in during my years in an oil and gas company. The content from the vendor was good but their process of decision-making took about 2 days to complete. In a normal operational environment this is not possible, as it just takes too long. At other times I was confronted with tools so complex that I could not possibly try it out without an instructor’s help. Needless to say, I didn’t apply any of the tools. Methodology and tools should be simple and take no more than 15 minutes to learn. This is so that a person can teach colleagues the tool and still have 45 minutes to apply the tools in a typical 1-hour business meeting. Tools that are simple will reduce the barrier of entry into the workplace. This is the direction where I aspire to bring Think Codex to - a simulation design company that focuses making learning sustainable.

If we are to innovate the L&D in our organizations, it does not require sophisticated digital products but can begin with 3 simple core principles in the form of Recall, Confidence and Simplicity.