Why ALL leaders need to know about Accelerated Learning

lightbulb-2.pngIf you are an L&D manager who gets frustrated by line managers who do not support their learners after a workshop, then this blog is for you. If you are a manager who sometimes wonders what value L&D actually add and would rather your team spent their time learning on the job, then this is also for you. If you are a senior leader who would love to “join the dots” between what you want to achieve in the organisation and what the workers actually do then this is also for you.

So let us start with the end in mind – what would I like for you to get out of this blog? I would like all three groups, mentioned above to understand how L&D can really add value, but that it can only be done if all three groups are engaged with each other, working together to create a learning culture based on the 70:20:10 principle. But also how accelerated learning principles can be applied, not only by L&D people, but by line managers, without much effort but with big results.

So let us imagine how it could be, instead of concentrating on what is not happening. Andy is a senior leader in a technology organisation. Last month he went away with other senior leaders to set focused business goals and to learn about how these can be translated into employee actions, which ultimately lead to an improvement in performance.

Understanding that 70% of learning occurs on the job, Andy is keen to make sure that his direct reports have clear expectations of their teams.

He explains to Sarah, who line manages the Customer Service team “We need to agree how you are going to set some realistic goals for the new team members that buddy up with the more experienced ones. By setting some goals, this raises their awareness and helps them to realise that they are learning on the job. By using personal development plans and records, they will get into the habit of reflecting on any new skills or knowledge gained. The downside to setting goals, may be that they miss other learning that ‘just happens’ but is just as useful. Again raising their awareness and by asking them the right questions, you can raise their consciousness as to other learning that has just happened.”

Sarah thinks and says “Ok, so I start by setting some objectives in line with the new business goals to cover both formal and informal learning. I will also need to make sure I understand what formal learning there is to cover those things that need to be formal. I need to keep in touch with L&D so they know exactly what needs to be achieved from the training sessions we have planned. I have also thought of some questions I can ask following any shadowing or buddying up, or generally while they are working:

  • How were your objectives met?
  • What are you able now to put into action? (we can use action plans for this)
  • Did anything surprise you? What was it and how can you use this?

I know that if I don’t chase it up, it is likely that any learning will just slip away. Most of my team, I would liken to memory foam – they just seem to want to revert back to what they are comfortable with. If I don’t prompt them – it doesn’t matter what L&D do to be honest”

Andy is impressed with Sarah, she seems to have grasped this so quickly and he hasn’t even told her about the stuff he learned about accelerated learning!

Andy continues: “Let me just tell you a few things that you are going to learn about how people learn, which is really going to help you. There are 5 key principles  which you will be learning about, which is going to transform the way you look at learning:

  • The objectives – focussed on the organisation, the learner and that are achievable!
  • Your role – what is more effective “Do what I say” or “What should we do?”
  • Your teams and how they will learn how to learn
  • The office environment – how to make it a safe place to learn and be creative as well as productive
  • The brain – really great stuff you should know to make your team meetings more interesting and effective

Your roles are crucial in the development of your teams. Did you know that in Training & Coaching Today, Oct 2008, in an article entitled “What are the barriers to learning retention? ” 40% of L&D professionals polled, stated ‘Line manager buy-in’ as the main barrier to learning retention, 23% clearly defined objectives and 25% as lack of coaching/mentoring. Makes you realise how crucial your role is Sarah.”

“Never thought of it that way before” says Sarah “I really can’t wait to go on the Accelerated Learning for Managers course that L&D are running.”

If this picture is far from what happens in your organisation, then get in touch and ask Krystyna how she can help you…….



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