Why is Traditional Learning Phasing Out?

Traditional education has been around for, well, seems like forever. Jotting down notes while the teacher delivers a lecture is what we have grown accustomed to since primary school. Traditional learning or the “talk and chalk” method of imparting knowledge relies on the instructor taking charge of the entire learning experience. According to some educational experts, this instructor-led learning experience is no longer relevant. In today’s world, traditional learning is quickly phasing out due to technological advancement. Job requirements are changing faster than the processes that support talent development itself. Quite a few companies struggle to provide their employees with the essential soft skills and technological know-how they need to survive a fast-moving global marketplace. One-size-fits-all trainings are no longer effective, especially in a corporate setting.

The modern learner looks forward to engaging and innovative learning experiences. The following set of tools can help facilitate the modern learner:

Engaging the Modern Learner
Engaging the Modern Learner

As the tech-savvy learner is constantly in a race against time, they require immediate access to quality information on their desired platform. Gone are the days when people were willing to sit in a chair for hours; the modern, distracted learner demands innovative learning tools that fit their lifestyle. This will not only facilitate the learning process but will also enhance the effectiveness of the entire learning process. The modern learner is expected to learn and develop new skills to remain both competitive and productive in the workplace. This self-directed learning tendency in modern learners is now convincing their employers to invest in more blended learning experiences.

E-learning
E-learning

The growing popularity of e-learning solutions has a lot to do with the convenience they provide. They allow the learner to access training sessions on their own time and from the comfort of their couch or cubicle. The rise of digital courses and learning management systems (LMS) has significantly transformed the learner’s journey.

Experiential Learning
Experential learning

Have you ever seen a doctor performing surgery by just reading the theory or a pilot flying a jet just cramming a few books? The answer is, hopefully, a “No”. No one learns by just reading about it but one can gain deeper knowledge while attempting the task itself – such as cooking or painting. Experiential learning allows the learner to be completely immersed or engaged and learn via their experiences. Experiential learning is widely used in business trainings for effective skill development.

To maximize returns on corporate training sessions, employers need training programs that are custom-tailored for modern learners. The traditional training method has failed to deliver the desired outcome. How so? For most trainees, the second they step out of the room, they have already forgotten half of the things that they were taught in the session. The traditional learning model lacks engagement. It’s time to make the shift from traditional learning to experiential learning a permanent one.

What an Experiential Learning Instructor Looks Like

Learning is so much more than just memorizing facts and figures; it is the continuous process of converting information into actionable skills and a solid knowledge base. There are many different forms of knowledge and learning methodologies. Experiential knowledge is what we acquire by experiencing something on our own and then reflecting on it. 

Break Free of the Classroom
Break Free of the Classroom

The experiential learning or ‘learning by doing’ method relies on the learner applying that knowledge to develop a new skill or approach. An unconventional educational experience requires an equally unorthodox facilitator to make a lasting impact. This is where an experiential learning instructor comes into the equation. They must engage adult learners with training games, hands-on activities, and role-playing activities. However, this must all take place outside of a traditional classroom-like setting. Their challenge is communicating the desired concepts to the trainees by demonstration rather than an outright lecture or presentation. An effective trainer will devise training activities that lead the participants to the desired conclusion through innovative learning experiences. They must also be able to execute the training in a way that encourages self-assessment by all of the participants. 

Experiential learning requires a trainer that possesses the following attributes:

Life-long Learner
Life-long Learner

Being open to learning helps trainers to not only hone their skills but also empathize with other adult learners. By experiencing the same activities as their trainees, a corporate trainer can make the learning process even more engaging and entertaining.

Excellent Communicator
excellent communicator

For most jobs, good communication skills are a prerequisite but in the case of the trainer, the delivery style can make or break the experience for their trainees. Trainers have to engage people with different personalities, answer challenging questions on-the-spot and deal with a possible difference of opinions. A successful outcome depends on the trainer possessing effective communication skills. An experienced trainer will strike the right balance between instruction and empathy.  

The “Observer”
observer

In experiential learning, the trainer is in the background and it is the trainees that are the real show-stoppers. The trainer’s role is that of an observer. The traditional “top-down” lecture style hinders the two-way exchange of ideas. It is the corporate trainer’s responsibility to fully engage the trainees.

From the business owner to the line manager, it is safe to assume that no one enjoys a monotonous training session. To make it worthwhile, the trainer needs to mix fun with education via games. An experienced corporate trainer will strive to make the training session a memorable interaction. A trainer with the above mentioned skills can help the organization reach its goals by cultivating the desired skills within the participants.

Checklist for Selecting External Training Partners

In today’s knowledge-based world, an employee’s skillset can be pivotal to an organisations’ long-term success. A skilled workforce not only helps an organisation in generating revenue but also provides them with a competitive edge. An efficient workforce is the result of a short learning curve which is only possible through regularly-scheduled employee training and development sessions. Training also helps an organization to achieve the following: increased employee loyalty, improved employee performance, enhanced company profile, improved workplace engagement as well as better customer service skills.

It is a known fact that investing in corporate training has a positive impact on organizational performance and profitability.  However, the training’s effectiveness depends upon a number of factors. In the case of an internal training, a company uses its own resources and expertise to further develop their employees’ skill set. On the other hand, when a company chooses an external trainer, they are seeking assistance from a professional with specialised domain expertise.

An external trainer not only introduces an organisation to fresh ideas but can potentially improve overall organisational efficiency. External trainers are usually professionals with strong mentoring skills and proven training techniques. A “fresh pair of eyes” can objectively identify and address weak points in a client company without the risk of unintentional bias. However, identifying, vetting and selecting an external training partner remains a lengthy process.

The following are some boxes that need to be ticked before one finalises on an external training partner:

Good Fit for the Organisation
Good Fit for the Organisation

An external training partner will be working with your team members, so it is necessary to evaluate whether they are a good fit for your organisation. An organisation is likely to get a greater return on investment by hiring a training partner with relevant expertise, strong industry knowledge, and a clear understanding of the business model. It is vital that the trainer has a strong grasp of organisational strategic priorities and the desired training program outcomes. The right personality type who understands how to engage people is essential.

Proven Track Record
Proven Track Record

An external training partner can only deliver effective training if they have the right tools. A trainer needs to have the relevant training experience to stand out from the crowd. Organisations should also look into a potential training partner’s client testimonials to get a realistic idea of their capabilities. A solid track record with positive feedback is proof that the prospective training partner has the skills and expertise to deliver effective training sessions.

Customisation
Customisation

Every organisation is unique and requires a solution that is tailored for them specifically. It is essential that the training partner understands the people and processes of the organisation so they can fully cater to the organisation’s requirements.

Real-Life Experience

Real-Life Experience

A training session needs to be different than a classroom – meaning that the focus needs to be more on practical learning rather than theoretical. Experiential learning fits perfectly in this scenario and is a proven technique that helps organisations around the globe develop multiple skills ranging from customer service skills to team building. Experiential learning allows individuals to learn and internalise the lesson while practically engaged in an activity. This has resulted in faster and effective learning in the workplace.

There are quite a few steps involved in finding an external training partner that shares the same values as the hiring organisation. The organisation needs to plan for the training sessions, convey clear objectives to their training partner and be open to new ideas. The external training partner, on the other hand, needs to work on the strategic objectives set by the organisation and tailor their training material accordingly.  The key to a win-win partnership is an equal effort from both sides.

Why Repeat Training Produces Better Results

Back in 1885, a German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus founded the now-famous “Forgetting Curve” while conducting experimental research on memory. The curve summarizes the learning journey of every individual; a closer study shows how it highlights the importance of repetition. Do you remember your first bike ride? Initially, the emphasis was on learning the basic skills like balancing the bicycle while propelling yourself forward. Once you got the pedaling down, all that is left is to keep practicing until you have completely mastered cycling. This same concept holds true for all kinds of learning; repetition is at the heart of learning.

Beauty in Repetition
Beauty in Repetition

Did you know that most corporate training participants are likely to forget seventy percent of what they were taught within a day? In order to get the most out of corporate training, businesses need to create employee training sessions that encourage information recall. Incorporating repeat training will not only improve overall skill retention but will also result in the following benefits:

  • Improves Workforce Productivity

Organizations must continuously innovate to remain competitive in the ever-changing global marketplace.  This goal increasingly depends on the existing skills and knowledge of the workforce. Repetitive training enables employees to develop new skill sets to remain competitive and productive.

  • Sparks New Ideas

Workplace learning and innovation go hand-in-hand as acquiring new skills unveils brand-new points-of-view. Such interaction encourages employees to think ‘out-of-the-box’ and come up with innovative solutions to everyday challenges. A role-playing based Customer service training session helps participants get an alternative perspective on how to tackle upset customers.

  • Transforms the Workplace into a Place of Learning

Continuous learning is much more than introducing new policies and procedures. It involves constant effort from employers, supervisors, and employees to build a culture that places learning at the forefront. The transformative learning culture fosters an environment of inquiry and knowledge-sharing.

The Way Forward
The Way Forward

To make sure that training results in skills development, organizations need to implement personalized, continuous trainings. Repetitive learning will ensure application of an enhanced skill in the appropriate circumstances.

  • Spaced Learning

Repetitive trainings utilize the spaced learning effect to support skill retention. Spaced learning is all about reshaping the “Forgetting Curve” by breaking down training session into micro-learning moments. It allows trainers to present the learning message in new and interesting ways to encourage retention.

  • Retrieval-based training

Retrieval-based training is an effective means of achieving meaningful learning. Studies have shown that trainees are better able to retrieve information if it is tied to a specific context. This can be achieved by incorporating simulations, role-playing and real-world scenarios in the training sessions.

  • Gamification

Experiential learning through a game-like approach helps participants overcome the forgetting curve. Gamification takes the mechanics of games to effectively impart knowledge. This technique allows trainees to freely interact with one another and this engagement ultimately results in greater retention of knowledge

  • Natural Concentration Span

To avoid the “overload and overwhelm” effect, the trainer needs to breakdown the monotony. One way to do that is by delivering key learning concepts in brief, 5 to 10-minute bursts.

When an organization spends continually on in-house employee development, it usually results in increased loyalty and satisfaction. The more engaged and satisfied the employees are, the more productive and inventive the organization is likely to be.

 

The Power of Experiential Learning

The foundation of experiential learning is based upon an educational philosophy termed Constructivism. According to Constructivism, a learner’s knowledge is developed ‘on-the-spot’ by experiencing concepts, theories, and things in-person.  An essential aspect of Constructivism involves the learner reflecting on the newly ‘constructed’ knowledge. They may even compare, contrast, or debate the differences between this relatively new experience and any prior knowledge they may have.

The Need for Experiential Learning in the Corporate World
The Need for Experiential Learning in the Corporate World

The modern learner is easily distracted, has a short attention span and is usually overwhelmed by multiple conflicting responsibilities. As a result, a fun and immersive training session can enable such employees to gain valuable skills that will benefit them as well as their organization.

Experiential learning helps modern-day organizations internalize the following benefits:

  • Greater Motivation to Learn

Work skills that can help an employees’ professional growth are transferred to them through an experiential learning-based training session. As the skills taught via experiential learning directly improves the employee’s performance, they are likely to be more receptive to acquiring these new skills.

  • Higher Chances of Skill Retention

The skills acquired via experiential learning tend to stay with the trainee for a longer period of time. The reason for that is they will not only learn about the skill but will also apply it in real-time.

  • Customized Learning

Experiential learning is tailored to the needs of the organization and the trainees. The participants are on the driving seat as they set their own learning pace and have substantial control over the learning process.

  • One Step Ahead of Theory

Repetitive, lecture-based training is steadily being replaced by the “learning by doing” approach. The trainee uses critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills to accelerate their own learning process.

  • Collaborative Environment

Experiential learning, by design, encourages co-learners to engage with and learn from each other. This not only helps an individual with learning a particular skill but also helps in team-building.

  • Higher Return-On-Investment (ROI)

Experiential learning-based trainings are proven to positively influence both the behaviour and skill set of the participants.

Experiential Learning in the Office
Experiential Learning in the Office

In comparison to compartmentalized learning, experiential learning mimics real-world scenarios to create a unique learning experience. Experiential learning broadens the learning toolset from mere boards, slides, and books to gaming, simulations, case studies, role-playing and much more. These experiential tools can be used in isolation or in conjunction with traditional learning methods – it all depends on the organisation’s specific training needs. In the case of experiential training for corporations, games have proven to be an effective educational tool. It is noted that games make the learning process fun and engaging for all the people involved.

Experiential learning-based trainings provide employees with numerous opportunities to learn via bespoke experiences. The skill-building techniques enable employees to polish their customer service skills and enhance their personal skills by learning from real-world examples. Employees can brush up on their communication skills by playing experiential games that incorporate the following themes: public speaking, listening, and persuasion. Incorporating experiential learning in the corporate culture takes time and effort but the results easily outweigh the initial investment.