Recently, I was talking to some friends of mine who work in learning and development and they were telling me that it’s coming up to that time of the year when everyone needs to retake their mandatory eLearning courses on privacy and bullying & harassment. They were saying that during the year there’s not too much focus on these topics until it comes around to refresher season when things are ramped up and there’s some urgency around the subjects.
I was thinking about this afterwards and I know these legislative/compliance type topics are generally quite dry (although it’s no excuse to blame your content) but usually these topic areas are only on people’s minds when they initially take the course and again when they complete their refreshers. It highlighted to me that we should do more to sustain the learning after an event, no matter what the topic area is.
Often when we complete an eLearning course (or classroom course, for that matter) it’s confined to a defined period of time. There may be a build up to the course but then once learners complete it, and are deemed ‘competent’ or have ‘passed’ it’s back to work. Move on. They’ve been trained. The box has been ticked. The course is finished.
Keeping the learning going afterwards, be it online or classroom, presents a real opportunity for us in the learning space. All too often, in my experience, when people complete a learning event they go back to work and it’s business as usual. Surely we should do more to sustain what has been delivered and bring about some change in the participants? If we just do things once in a course, it will be forgotten if the information is not reinforced.
Last year, I read some interesting blog posts by Craig Taylor who implemented a campaign style approach to compliance training in an organisation he worked for. His idea was to keep the messaging alive and ongoing by using a range of techniques. You can also use social tools and create opportunities for networking and sharing knowledge which are other powerful ways that can reinforce key messages and sustain learning over the longer term.
One of the exciting initiatives that we have introduced this year is the B Online Learning Alumni where our students, clients and partners can keep interacting and sharing after their course or project has finished. We’ve created a group in LinkedIn as a space to continue the conversations and learning between members. In addition to online discussions and sharing of information, we’re going to organise some face-to-face meetups to further strengthen the connections that were formed during an event. If you are a former or current student, a client or partner you’re most welcome to join our group.
How do you keep the learning going in your organisation or field after an event?
Matt has been working in the learning and development field for almost 7 years and has experience as a classroom facilitator, workplace assessor and most recently as an instructional designer (for e-learning and classroom environments). Matt has a keen interest in a number of learning related areas including human cognitive architecture, motivation, performance support, informal learning and social media. He’s also completing a Master of Education in Educational Psychology at the University of NSW. http://learningsnippets.wordpress.com/