Implementing a Learning Culture – Part 2
30th November 2014
We’re going to help you to put together a ‘Plan of Action’ for implementing a learning culture that is specific to your business.
This is our second article on this subject; in Part 1, we discussed the importance of considering your team as well as the vision for your business when implementing a learning culture. If you missed it, you can find it here: Implementing a Learning Culture
Creating an action plan
How does your team currently learn?
The first thing to think about is the way that your team is currently learning. Ask your employees how they learn, conduct a survey, or even spend time observing how your team interacts and learns new skills. Understanding how your team currently accesses new information will give you an insight into the ways that they are most comfortable learning.
You need to find out where and how your employees learn. Perhaps they learn during working hours via their peers, managers or even at events and networking opportunities. Or, if it's at home, how are they learning? Employees may use the internet to access videos and websites, or might use books or magazines from within your sector.
Consider learning styles
The next factor to consider is the types of learners within your team and there are a few different ways that learning styles can be determined.
You might have heard of psychometric testing. If you’ve ever used this type of test you’ll know how valuable it can be during recruitment, as they can give employers a greater insight into personality and aptitude. There’s another use for these type of tests which you may not have thought about, have you ever considered using these to influence your learning culture development? For example a person whose characteristics display high levels of dominance generally prefers a fast learning pace with less information as they will be likely to become bored more quickly than someone who has high levels of stability.
If you need some more insight into this area, visit our earlier article about learning stages: The Stages of Learning
Where are your staff members on their learning journey? If there are large numbers of employees who are ‘stage 1’ learners and are at the start of their learning journey, you’re going to need some assistance to get them on the right track. Who is going to do this, are extra staff required or does it need additional input from senior staff? All of these considerations will need to be factored into your final ‘Plan of Action.’
Your learning facilities
If, like most businesses, you have a bustling office filled with busy employees, it can be difficult to find a suitable, quiet place for learning to take place. Consider your office space, is there an area that can be allocated for learning activities and a quiet place for uninterrupted study? Note this area on your plan so that study time can be allocated here.
This space is vital, as it’s important that your employees are away from the distractions of their normal working day. This is because, as humans, we can’t really multitask as well as we like to think that we can! Some people are better at swapping information around within the working memory to give the impression that they are multitasking, but in reality we can only fully focus on one task at time. Every interruption causes the brain to switch memory usage and inhibits retention.
You need to consider how your learning is going to be delivered. If it’s in a group setting it’s a good idea to stock up on the following:
- Whiteboards and Flipcharts
- Possibly an electronic Whiteboard
- Coloured Pens
Remember that, while whiteboards are really useful, any images or information can be rubbed out and lost unless you take a photograph of them. Having a flipchart can be incredibly useful to refer back to later. This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s these small details that can scupper your hard work!
If some, or all, of your employee training is going to be done individually then another factor to consider is accessibility requirements. Having a PC set up is great, but it needs to be someone’s responsibility to ensure that it is easy to access and that the surrounding area is clutter-free. It should also be easy to reset to a ‘standard set up’ so that if the settings are changed, they can be easily removed and the original settings can be restored. Remember, you might also need to provide headphones so that employees can access their training without disrupting any nearby employees.
If any of your team have specific requirements such as bigger screens, increased contrast, trackballs/trackpads (rather than a mouse) or a speech browser, these should all be listed as a requirement to ensure that each employee has an unhindered learning experience.
Useful learning gadgets
Using technology can make things a lot easier, particularly enabling content to be shared from a tablet, PC or phone onto a screen. This can be done using specific wires, such as a lightening adapter or wirelessly with an Apple TV or Chromecast. Additionally, most presentation servers are suitable for the majority of devices.
Depending on your needs, you may find the following equipment useful:
- Wireless devices: Apple TV, Belkin, Netgear, Chromecast
- Presentation speaker stand
- ‘Classroom’ speakers
- Lightening adapter
- Presentation server
Checking these items off your list will make the implementation of a learning culture a lot easier and will ensure that you can focus on training your team. The final hurdle is your learning materials and the implementation of your plan, which can be found in our third and final article on this topic: Implementing a Learning Culture - Part 3
If you need some help in creating effective learning for your team, or if you would like some more advice about implementing a learning culture within your business, please get in touch with a member of our team.