The point of learning in the workplace is to ultimately establish and develop skills within learners that help organisations to adapt and thrive. That said, with only 15% of L&D professionals reporting to have noticed positive changes in staff behaviour, it is clear that the extent to which learning is having an impact on subsequent actions is insufficient.(1) The very nature of the L&D role is to instil new knowledge into learners which they can apply in order to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. So how do we ensure the behaviour of our learners change and learning is applied in practice?
This question is not new, but using qualitative insight gathered from our 2018 symposiums and data from Towards Maturity’s (TM) independent 2018 health check, we can provide you with evidence-based actions that can help improve the effectiveness of your formal learning.
In order to give you the best advice, we need to get to the root of the issue. We know that the best way to achieve behavioural change is through applying learning content into the workplace. But that in itself is no easy thing to achieve, as you already know. The only way to improve the application of learning is to have a clear strategy to support learning transfer across your organisation.
Here are 3 secrets we have uncovered that can help you create behaviour change by enhancing your ability to support the transfer of learning.
1. The manager
According to 50 L&D practitioners that took part in the Raytheon symposium in London and Munich, managers play a central role in improving the transfer of learning in a continuous manner within their organisations. These people professionals argued that for them, it was important to establish a learning environment that allows and encourages practice through the support of managers and mentors.
Their experience is also backed up by TM data that showed the managers playing a vital role in creating engagement. In organisations that are improving the effectiveness of their formal learning, and changing learner behaviour, managers are 2X more likely to facilitate conversations with their learners to discuss desired goals and outcomes of learning. As such, it is clear that managers play a vital role in establishing a learning culture that encourages engagement with content and the application of learning in the workplace.
2. The structure
Next to this, the L&D professionals from the symposium argued that they found success through incorporating learning into their daily business after the classroom course has taken place, e.g. providing learners with action plans, feedback, regular reminders, etc. It is clear from the research that having a clear supportive structure embedded into the very fabric of the organisation, plays a large role in creating behavioural change. Companies who are increasing the effectiveness of their formal learning are 26% more likely to embed activities within their learning structure that help support individuals to practice desired outcomes. They are also 3X more likely to be encouraging learning transfer by using performance support practices after formal learning has ended.
3. The technology
Technology provides the perfect tool to facilitate and support the transfer of learning into the workplace- which aids in shaping behavioural change. In particular, organisations that are improving the transfer of learning are more likely to embrace continuous learning platforms and electronic performance support systems. These technologies, embedded in the learning structure, provide additional information to learners at the point of need, which helps the individual apply the content in practice and alter their behaviour.
Heading into 2019, it is clear there needs to be a larger focus on the transfer of learning if you are to be successful in creating behavioural change across your organisation. Now is the time to stop and re-evaluate your approach- ensure there is a range of support available to your learners to improve the application of learning into practice. We need to adapt our approach to learning if we are to remain successful!
What secrets have you stumbled across that have helped you create behaviour change within your organisation? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @RaytheonRPS using the hashtag #FormalLearning
To find out more – download our latest report: Beyond Blending: Improving the impact of formal learning through technology. In the next blog in this Beyond Blending series, we will be taking a look at 3 old tricks that L&D need to leave behind in 2019. Keep watching this space!
(1) Towards Maturity (2018). Annual Health Check