The changing landscape of work in recent years has compelled many companies to reassess their approach to learning and development. However, this wave of change can bring positive outcomes for the Learning and Development (L&D) community. Emerging research suggests that the traditional workshop model may be less effective than previously believed, and a newer approach to learning is proving to be far more successful in equipping employees with the necessary skills for today’s workplace.
In essence, scientific evidence suggests that it is time to revamp and modernize traditional training methods. Here are several key advantages of the “reinvented workshop.”
Revolutionary Benefits of the Reinvented Workshop
- Micro-learning Units: Instead of lengthy training sessions that often result in fatigue, the reinvented workshop breaks down learning into small, self-contained units that learners can quickly consume and process. These microlearning activities can be spread out over several days, weeks, or even longer periods. The shift to this approach offers significant benefits. Research published by the National Institute of Health demonstrates that microlearning enhances the retention of newly acquired knowledge.
This approach can also improve productivity within your organization. By delivering learning in short, digestible units, you can eliminate the need for large time blocks, such as hours or even days, for employees to gather in one place for training sessions.
- Spiral Curriculum: While traditional training workshops introduce new knowledge to learners once and move on, the reinvented workshop adopts a spiral approach to learning. A spiral curriculum reinforces the learning of new concepts by revisiting them repeatedly over time, using concise microlearning units. This counters the scientifically proven “forgetting curve,” which indicates that after acquiring new information, people tend to forget about 60 percent of it within minutes and possibly 90 percent within a week.
The spiral learning method also allows training to progress logically from simpler to more complex concepts and skills over time.
- Mobile Platform: How can the reinvented workshop practically divide employee training into numerous micro-learning units and spread out the delivery over weeks? The reinvented workshop takes advantage of an asynchronous, self-paced mobile platform that learners can engage with according to their own schedules and when they are most receptive to absorbing new material.
A growing body of evidence suggests that mobile, self-paced learning benefits both learners and their organizations. For instance, when Merrill Lynch made its compliance training available to employees via smartphones, 99 percent of them found the mobile format supportive of their learning, with all expressing interest in more mobile training.
Additionally, Merrill Lynch estimated that the mobile training format saved the company 4,270 hours of productivity by eliminating the need to pull employees away from work for lengthy training sessions.
- Immersive Learning: Since the reinvented workshop is built on a mobile platform and delivers brief lessons whenever learners are ready, this model enables learners to grasp a new concept and immediately apply it in their real-world environments. The benefits of this approach are substantial. Applying new concepts to everyday experiences makes the lessons more relevant, effective, and memorable. Research suggests that learning through experiences can increase retention by up to 75 percent.
Could traditional workshops also offer hands-on, experience-based lessons? Certainly, many do. However, it is important to remember that learners can only handle a limited amount of complex new information at once, even with hands-on learning, before experiencing fatigue. Traditional workshops typically expose learners to experiences only once, within the confines of the hours-long training session, making them susceptible to the forgetting curve.
The reinvented workshop counters the forgetting curve through spiral learning spread over time. This allows learners to revisit key concepts multiple times and utilize them in real-world scenarios over a longer period than a class-based workshop could provide.
- Learner-Centered Content Design: When all these elements are brought together, it becomes clear that the traditional training workshop is not optimally designed for effective learning and skill retention. It was developed in an earlier era, prior to the advent of the internet, smartphones, and mobile apps, with the aim of disseminating knowledge to large groups simultaneously. However, we are no longer confined to that outdated format. Today, L&D professionals have the opportunity to improve upon it.
Research clearly indicates the need for improvement. According to a recent report by Accenture, over 90 percent of executives agree that existing employee training methods should be more effective for their workforce.
Embrace the Reinvented Training Workshop
The concept of work has been disrupted, and so has the concept of learning. It is time to break away from tradition and embrace new innovations that allow you to meet learners where they are, or risk negative impacts on your business. You have the necessary tools, knowledge, and support from business stakeholders to step out of the old mold of training and enter the new world of learning that truly fosters behavioral change over time.
For your upcoming employee learning initiative, such as Leadership Development training, consider adopting the reinvented workshop model.