Learning continuously is improving continuously
Eva de Cocq•
Innovation is no longer a luxury, but a rock-hard necessity. We live in a world where technologies change rapidly and standstill means decline. This means that organisations and their employees need to keep up with all the trends and developments. That’s why training and development gets more and more attention from employees within organisations, and that’s a good thing! When employees develop themselves further they grow in their knowledge, skills and involvement, hereby this development contributes to the growth of the organization. Still, numerous organisations make use of a periodic development system, while continuous learning ensures better results. What’s continuous learning and how does it work?
As the title already states, continuous learning ensures continuous improvement. Diverse studies prove that continuous learning results in a competitive advantage, but what is continuous learning exactly? In order to keep improving and innovating as an organisation it’s important that learning becomes a routine activity for employees. Instead of going through the periodic development cycles, in which you note down your learning goals and have a half-yearly talk with your supervisor, learning should be a constant factor kept in mind by all organisation members.
Part of the learning culture
In order to realise continuous learning within an organisation a shift needs to take place in the organisation culture. The organisation culture consists of norms, values and expressions that employees of an organisation share with each other. Learning can be an important aspect of the organisation culture. A learning culture included the joint aim for growth, innovation and collaboration. When continuous learning is part of the learning culture, employees need to be able to look at their own work in a reflective and critical manner and be open to improvement. Instead of periodic talks and learning plans, employees are engaged in their own development on a daily basis. Supervisors then will perceive supporting the employees in their development as a part of their role. Continuous learning asks for a different perspective and a different approach on development.
Push and pull strategy
In order to implement continuous learning into the organisation, a push-only strategy from the management isn’t effective. You need to combine this with a pull strategy. To motivate employees to keep on learning, you need to make learning appealing. A clear and user-friendly learning platform is the solution. A good learning platform supports the continuous learning process with various features. There’s for example an app that makes time and place independent learning possible. Users can learn wherever and whenever they want. When they aren’t bound to learning at their job or at home, but can decide for themselves when and where to learn, the chance they start learning is bigger. You can also ensure a continuous supply of relevant and current content, for example in the form of microlearnings. Microlearnings are small, ‘bite-sized’ learning units which divide the learning process in little steps. By means of a notification you can remind users of an outstanding microlearning. This makes the learning process approachable, and it stimulates routine learning behaviour. Adding game-like elements, such as working with levels or a mutual competition, can stimulate learning in an organisation. The final aim is to make learning easier, clearer and perhaps even more fun!