We invest our time and money in a learning event only to find that when we return to our daily work, we keep doing the same things.
It all sounds so good, and you are so excited to put the new methods and tools you have learned into practice, but when you get back to the workplace, the boss is still asking the same questions and expecting the same results. The processes in your workplace could also be different than those described in the class, causing you to struggle with how to apply what you have learned in your environment.
Learning is not an event – it’s a process! The classroom is important, but the fact is that most learning takes place when we apply the tools and techniques we discovered in the learning event. Learning is a process of alignment, assimilation and application. Only by completing all three steps of this process can we change behavior to produce desired results.
Align – Before participating in a learning event, participants should have a thorough understanding of what they are expected to learn, how their behavior is expected to change, the results they are expected to achieve and how these results contribute to the overall goals of the organization. When this step is skipped, participants attend the learning event and are left entirely on their own to determine what they are supposed to do with what they learn. This often leads to a disconnect between participants and their leaders when they return to the workplace.
For example, when you attend a leadership program with a dozen learning objectives, you discover some new tools for gaining group consensus. You know this is something you can apply right away to make some decisions in your work team. Returning to work, you share your ideas with your manager only to find that what your manager really wanted you to learn was how to facilitate the creation of a team vision. This was covered in the class, but not knowing this was why you had been selected to attend the class, you focused your attention on what you perceived to be an important skill.
Assimilate – During the learning event, you focus on assimilating the learning that resonates with you. An effective learning event will engage you in applying what you already know in building relevant skills and knowledge that you decide to focus on and practice in the class. If these vital elements of an effective learning event are part of the assimilation, then you will return to work prepared to apply what you have learned. If not, then you may have an awareness of and even a desire to apply these tools but no practical experience in how to do it.
Whether assimilation happens effectively largely depends on who is leading your learning event. At EDSI, our instructors are a content resource who help you establish new processes and expectations of employees in your organization. The net result? Higher productivity and profits.
Apply – Applying what you have learned is where 80 percent of the learning takes place. Using the skills and knowledge within your work environment that makes the learning stick, causing a behavior change that produces desired results. In this step, it is important that you experience early success. This early success depends on leadership support and coaching. Left on your own, you are likely to discover unique factors in your work environment that make it difficult to apply what you have learned. The system and often the people resist change.
Because learning is changing behavior, you will encounter resistance. You will need someone supporting you with encouragement, coaching and running interference as you attempt to adapt your behavior.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.