Do your learning initiatives offer opportunities for all of your employees to take part? Do you see value in people learning throughout their entire careers? Do you have an inclusive mindset about opening up learning programs so that anyone can participate?
Chances are you likely answered yes to all three of these questions. In theory, yes, we all want learning to be open, inclusive, and ongoing. But in reality, our learning programs do not tend to support and embrace each employee. Too often our programs are narrowly focused on select groups whom we’ve deemed worthy enough of our time and attention—the high potentials, the emerging leaders, the new hires and so on. But what about everyone else?
During a May 2015 webinar on the topic of continuous learning with our partners at OpenSesame, we asked the audience of roughly 125 learning and development professionals how successful they have been with engaging employees in learning through all stages of the employee lifecycle—from entering and emerging, to expert and exiting. No one answered “very successful.” The overwhelming majority (79%) said they “could do better,” while 21% of very honest people said they were “not very good” at engaging employees throughout the employee lifecycle.
Learning does not stop when a new hire reaches 90 days. Nor does learning stop when an employee reaches a milestone such as a promotion or nearing retirement. Learning is an ongoing and continuous process that we need to support day in and day out.
When viewed in this light, it may be helpful to think of learning as a continuum; it doesn’t stop, and depending on the topic we are learning, we will fall on the scale anywhere from beginner to expert. For example, a person may be an expert on emerging sales techniques or a new computer coding language, but a novice when it comes to managing a complex project or giving feedback to a subordinate. As we progress with our learning on a topic, we grow in our abilities and can share our know-how and experiences with others. This helps the cycle of continuous learning become a manageable endeavor for participants and L&D professions alike.
In this new guide from River, we share the startling facts of how quickly people forget what they learned in training, along with a new learning paradigm model to help you envision what continuous learning could look like in your organization.