Learning at work should be easy, it should be fun and so engaging that you’re excited to go and do it for yourself. Otherwise, how are you going to make it a habit? And how you can create a learning culture?
Katie Godden, Director at The Learning Effect, dialled in with HowNow’s Jon Magnus to answer a bunch of questions relating back to this idea, helping you make learning a work a whole lot easier.
Before we get into the summary of this Q&A session, here’s a quote that sums up this topic nicely. And hopefully, it shows you that Katie knows her onions when it comes to workplace learning:
“It would be great if you could go to work and learn how you learn in your everyday life. If there was this Google-esque system that found everything… I don’t know how to do this invoice, for example, I need to see the steps and now I can see them. That would be learning in the flow of work because that’s how we learn when we’re at home. If the washing machine’s broke, we Google how to fix it.”
We’ve got just the guide for you if you’re interested in learning in the flow of work. If not, on with the interview.
Q: What’s happening in the industry right now and perhaps holding it back?
COVID has been a catalyst for driving a lot of people online, and they’re using technology but possibly not in the right ways and not thinking futureproof. We’ve seen a lot of Zoom calls and a lot of people are a bit bored of that. Organisations are taking the face-to-face side of things, putting that on Zoom, and perhaps not thinking about how they can break it down and put it online properly.
Q: Is there a tendency to delay the review of learning strategies given everything that’s going on right now? And is that right given a lot of common issues were happening pre-pandemic, and we’ve shed light on some of the new ways of working and learning?
For some people, it’s been a catalyst. In other areas of business, people have had to change due to new guidance, and it shouldn’t be different in learning. We’ve had to make learning a lot quicker, we can’t spend three months getting a course ready before rolling it out or use lengthy SCORM courses because there simply isn’t time. Information needs to get out quickly, so hopefully, it’s changing the mindset that learning needs to be flexible and agile, not lengthy and boring.
Q: So, when we talk about aligning business with learning, what do we really mean? Because it’s easy to say that, but what’s actually happening.
When we’re talking with clients, we sit down, discuss their goals, and relate the learning back to that. A lot of people come in and say ‘I think we should be learning this’, but it’s not actually relevant. We think about what they’re trying to achieve, whether it’s worthwhile and purposeful and then come at it from that angle.
If we link it back to our everyday life, we learn something because we NEED to learn it, not just for the sake of learning.
Q: What would the steps and process of a typical journey look like?
What we would do is sit down with our clients, have a workshop, really get to the bottom of it and look at their culture, values etc. We assess their problems but also their data because it gets lost quite often in learning. We just ignore it, and I’m not sure why. Because, when we look at it, we can find gaps, where people aren’t looking at content or learning as well. We look at that alongside business data to see where we can improve.
Q: What are your thoughts on buying premium content like LinkedIn Learning vs. Adhoc requests? Rather than buying 10,000 courses, is there a more strategic way of curating, creating and assigning content?
It should be a blended approach because off-the-shelf content has its place. Take health and safety, for example, we all deal with fires in the same way, so we don’t all need to spend time creating courses. We can buy it or get it online for free. But if you take an approach of bite-sized content, you can slip in the bits that are relevant to the organisation and create that more personalised feel.
But you also have the ability for colleagues to create their own content. We’ve all got smartphones these days, so there’s nothing to stop us creating a quick video to share our advice, thoughts and opinions. That’s perhaps more effective than a learning team going in and creating something because it’s more relatable. We can look at what we’re doing on social media and transfer that to learning too. That’s what makes good content, it’s purposeful and you’ve got to have a reason for doing it.
Q: Thinking of social learning, are you seeing more demand around how people can share things?
Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of community creation, and COVID has been the catalyst for that. With people working from home, you’ve not got those moments like making a coffee in the office or your commute which brings people interaction. So, you need new ways to collaborate.
People are talking about it but whether they’re doing it is slightly different. A lot of people in the industry get scared about people uploading content for some reason, but I’m not sure why because it’s often the best content! You’re getting it from people who are actually doing the job. Perhaps it’s because it’s not polished or branded, but it’s the content that’s important.
That fear comes from what people might upload, but you’ve got to have more trust, and most people should realise it’s a work platform when they upload.
Q: What advice would you give people looking towards this and the learning in the flow of work approach?
It’s more than just implementing a system, and that’s where people can get stuck. They’ve implemented it but we need to see the full story, you’ve got to get your staff to engage and embed it into the culture. Ultimately, you’ve got to create that great content and have that trust in people do that for themself. To create that culture, you need to drive people to it, help make it a habit and make it worthwhile for them. Learning is like that in a lot of organisations, you go in because you’ve got to complete a SCORM course once per year. People aren’t making it fun to go into.
Q: How can tech be used to help people to do their job more effectively?
For a lot of platforms you’ve got an app and integrations, so it’s making it easier for people. If you can teach people to do something quickly, you’ll create advocates and subject matter experts will emerge in that social learning environment. People really start to embrace it but, you can have the best system in the world, if you haven’t got the engagement nobody will ever use it.
Also, if you’ve got two much technology and different departments aren’t aligned, you’re not creating a purpose for the system and getting engagement first.
Q: How is L&D going to change post-COVID?
Hopefully for the better. I hope people in the industry can see the capabilities we have, everyone works from home, and people didn’t think that was possible. IT teams have been able to roll out loads of laptops etc. It’s okay not to do everything in a classroom, and most people viewed classroom training as a free lunch anyway.
I hope people realise we can do things differently and that learning can look more like it does in our everyday life. Then it’s not a chore, and training isn’t something that’s frowned upon. Pre-covid, training was typically bottom of the list, but hopefully, people can see that they’re learning constantly anyway.
Who is Katie Godden?
Katie Godden is Director at The Learning Effect. She’s driven by making learning at work reflective of how we learn in our everyday lives. Having worked within the learning space for over 10 years, from an e-learning provider to retail and FMCG, she’s seen that learning isn’t always made easy by internal teams. Keeping up to date with the latest learning technologies, this has allowed her to implement the latest learning platforms into organisations to create space where colleagues can learn, communicate, collaborate and socialise.
The Learning Effect’s vision is to help companies create purposeful, consumer-grade learning experiences which help you deliver your business goals and your team realise their potential.
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