Adult Learning

Strategies to Accelerate Learning

Learning is best when it’s self-directed, flexible, shared, experiential and when it involves ‘learning by doing’. The ways that individuals and organisations responded to the impacts of COVID demonstrated the power of workplace learning.

Despite all the negative impacts that COVID wrought on organisations, one positive was the accelerated rate of learning that took place around the globe. Overnight, organisations and people, gave up ways of working that had been deeply entrenched in their psyche and their success, to try new ways of working, overcoming their fears and embracing change in ways we’ve never seen before.

The need to do things differently was swift and effective for many and showed that we do have the capacity to successfully embrace new ways of working when it’s the only option we have in front of us.

Individuals and Teams Leverage Learning to Find Solutions

Typical reasons to resist learning opportunities fell by the wayside and there was a shared commitment between organisations and teams to find solutions that worked. In doing this we found that we were far more effective in an online world than we thought we would be.

Although many believe the changes were temporary and not optimal, the new ways of working, and the benefits, demonstrated that experiential learning and learning by doing is extremely effective. The experience generated new insights into how organisations can execute their strategy; and many want this to continue.

Facilitating Learning Experiences

Learning and development facilitators have long been aware of the need to draw on learners’ extensive life experiences as well as focus their learning on immediate needs and challenges within their work.

One of the critical success factors of leading major change programs and learning in organisations is to communicate the ‘why’. During COVID this was self-evident.  Although the change was forced on us, many realised new technology isn’t as scary as we thought. We’re more adaptable than we had imagined, and learning can be stimulating.  Finding new ways to do things added to our personal skillset and many people have had more time in their day to do things they enjoy. The power of shared learning was evident as we learned to succeed and connect online in ways we’ve never done before.

What are the Most Effective Learning Strategies?

Our collective response to the impacts of COVID gave teams first-hand experience of the some of the most effective learning strategies:

  1. Online learning: Remote working made online learning more centric to people’s lives, becoming more accessible, collaborative, and interactive, utilising a wide range of techniques and digital platforms. For many, the psychological barriers to online learning were removed; and there is a far greater aptitude to learn this way. Individuals and organisations developed skills from anywhere in the world at times that suited them. Platforms and techniques became more engaging and effective.
  2. Self-directed learning: Self-directed learning is a learning strategy where individuals take ownership and responsibility for their own learning and the impacts of COVID forced that to occur. Many people became pro-active about their learning journey by being ready to learn and actively engaged in the learning process.  They established learning patterns using platforms that worked best for them, recognising that they would need new skills for their current role and into the future.
  3. Experiential learning: One of the most powerful ‘learning by doing’ techniques that was seen during our response to COVID was experiential learning. Developing knowledge and skills through activities that allow us to practise and refine our techniques is an optimum way for teams to learn. In responding to COVID, many of the learning activities focused on current business challenges. Learning this way provided immediate value to individuals and organisations and an opportunity to embed skills.
  4. Social and shared learning: Humans learn better when they learn together. They do this by exchanging knowledge and perspectives and mentoring one another as we saw when many of us were in lockdown. By observing others, people learn faster and more effectively, and they tend to retain information better. During the pandemic, social learning was combined with online learning through platforms. Combining these two learning techniques resulted in a powerful, global, digital skills uplift.

We’re now at a moment in time where there is strong alignment between employees and employers’ learning goals. Organisations need teams who have the skills to lead and deliver through change and uncertainty. Individuals are looking for organisations willing to invest in their learning journey.

Utilising all the learning techniques at a time when we’re more open to change than ever before, is a unique moment in time, that we can harness to accelerate our collective learning journey.

For case study examples of how these strategies have been applied, join us in our upcoming Virtual Lab by clicking the button below:

About Janellis

Janellis is a Management Consulting firm specialising in helping organisations execute their strategy and build resilience.  This is done through three key practice areas of Project Delivery, Capability Uplift and Organisational Resilience.

Janellis helps organisations build resilience and deliver complex programs by uplifting capabilities in areas such as team-based critical thinking.  Uplifting critical thinking skills relies on experiential and ‘learning by doing’ activities using scenarios.  In response to COVID, Janellis has combined online learning and experiential learning through our Digital War Rooms and Virtual Labs.  Our Master Facilitators enable experiential learning both in real-time and online using virtual tools where teams put into practice our tools and frameworks.