Are we meeting our learners where they "live"?

Most of our training programs aren’t going to be successful if we can’t “sell” our students on being there. Highly independent support modalities, such as performance support, have raised the bar on this issue. If the students don’t feel we’re meeting them where they live in the classroom and equipping them to survive once they leave, they just won’t show up for the event. In order to better help our students see the relevance of our programs, we need to better clarify and align two areas: the content taught and support options that follow.

The content issue is the easiest to understand, but not always the easiest to execute. Most organizations we talk to realize that they need to do a better job of aligning learning to specific job performance. The problem is identifying the correct outcomes in the first place. Understanding the job competencies for every job description within an organization is a very daunting task. Most embark on this journey not realizing all that is involved. There are basically two things which need to be identified. The first are the tasks an individual needs to execute each day in order to do their job. This can be accomplished by performing what Con calls a Rapid Task Analysis (RTA).Once the tasks are clarified, the skills and workflow processes which support these tasks can now be identified. Teaching skills without the understanding of how they relate to an individual’s job performance will lead to poorly transferred learning. Course content needs to be a combination of job specific tasks and their related steps. These type of learning solutions help the learner see the relevance between training and what they do everyday on the job. This connection is highly motivating and critical.

The other area to be addressed in the classroom is to clarify and TEACH the support options available. This is an area that most organizations struggle with. It’s not the availability of options, but rather the mapping and blending of these learning and support assets. We need to do a better job of helping our learners understand their performance needs and the most effective ways to support themselves along the journey. To most learners this will be a dramatic change in how they approach learning. One reason for this is that we, as learners, have not been taught the skills to support ourselves outside of the “traditional” learning and support options. We have been trained to basically pick one modality and stick with it, like it or not. With today’s performance support options, learners need to understand what’s out there, how these options best match up to their current learning situation, and that they ARE allowed to use other support options to achieve their performance outcomes. Most companies are trying to offer some form of blended learning. Most of these tools range from independent modalities, such as e-Learning, to highly dependent modalities such as the classroom. Performance support can be the tie that binds. Its ability to broker content and learning assets based on the job roles and workflows outlined above makes performance Support the perfect wrapper and enabler of learning and performances back on the job.

We need to understand that the learner is the ultimate customer whom we serve. If we haven’t “sold” them on the means and material for learning and supporting themselves, they just won’t “buy”. If we build, and launch, our learning and support solutions with their performance outcomes in mind, our probability of success is much higher.


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