“Learning to discover” is the theme of Learn at Work Week 2022. The week aims to reinforce the importance of lifelong learning, focusing on how organizations can support learners and the benefits of learning for individuals and teams.
Most organizations know that learning is important. But if learning is to translate into results, it needs to be embedded across the organization and not seen as the sole responsibility of learning and development departments or human resources.
So how can leaders integrate learning into their organizations?
1. Create diverse learning opportunities
“Make sure the learning you offer is inclusive for everyone,” advises Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, founder and CEO of the insurance provider. tapoly. “There are many barriers for people from diverse backgrounds in the job market, so keep them in mind when planning your event schedule. Mentoring is a particularly effective way to inspire learning and break down barriers, so consider setting up a mentorship program to maximize the number of people you can reach.
She adds, “Furthermore, those of us from diverse backgrounds, who have built successful careers, need to proactively promote the learning opportunities available. This will encourage colleagues to follow suit. The goal should be to build a diverse and inclusive workforce that everyone can learn from.
2. Provide Effective Online Training
When delivering online training, a good course structure is essential. “There needs to be clarity about how the material is organized and then broken down so that people aren’t stuck in front of their screens for hours on end,” says Ian Lunn, co-founder of Product Focus, a global product management training provider. “We found a good goal to be a 55 minute performance, including activities, followed by a 10 minute break. If you run much longer than that, people will have a hard time staying focused.
Lunn emphasizes that small groups will keep interaction high and enable active participation among learners. “The temptation with online training is to pack a lot of people into a session because the physical constraints aren’t there,” he explains. “Resist that urge so you can engage with people on a one-to-one basis and ensure learners get the most out of the session.”
3. Use technology to engage teams in learning opportunities
As the world changes, there are always new things to learn to ensure their business remains competitive and socially responsible. It can be difficult for leaders to track these changes and then implement them in the organization. Fortunately, hands-on technology can enable seamless knowledge sharing and help engage teams. The growing need for sustainability in the workplace is a good example of where this approach can be used.
“Leaders know they need to educate their teams about the importance of sustainability at work, but don’t always know how to encourage them to put that learning into practice,” says Jo Liang, CEO and co-founder of CauliBox. CauliBox is a reusable food packaging technology solution for workplace meals that incorporates QR scanning. “The easier you make it, the more likely new information is to stick,” she adds.
Liang suggests that a good way to build knowledge and encourage team members to adopt positive habits is to incorporate practical technology solutions, such as apps and web apps, into learning opportunities. She says: “These could include friendly rankings or rewards to encourage teams to continue to engage and learn.”
4. Take time to clear your head
To facilitate lifelong learning, people must have the mental space and the courage to do so. Gillian McMichael, author of Coming Home: A Guide to Being Your True Self, explains that creating time to release any stress and address unnecessary thoughts should be a priority when trying to absorb new information and experiences.
“Most of us spend our entire lives in business, navigating the demands of a noisy, challenging world,” says McMichael. “Living such busy lives means that none of us live in the present or fully in the moment. When we don’t live in the moment, it can lead to an imbalance which, in turn, can affect our physical, emotional and mental health.
5. Look for support networks
“There are lots of people who want you to succeed, lots of people who are willing to share their knowledge and support you when you need it,” he explains. “You must find a circle of associates beneficial to your personal development and that of your company.”
Penny Power, co-founder of Club BIP 100, a community of experts, argues that networks should not only be used to find business, but also to make connections.
“When we connect to learn from others, we build much deeper relationships that are more respectful of each other’s wisdom,” she says. “Unknowingly, we build ‘social capital’ while building our ‘knowledge capital’.”