Being able to watch the Olympics this year has brought a small sense of normalcy to these turbulent times. And yet, behind the familiar routines of the competition and inspiration, one can see the extraordinary effort taking place to make it a great event for both the athletes and spectators like us. For the learners we serve, the situation and stakes aren’t really all that different. The Life Sciences Training Community is filled with organizations that helped move the learning profession forward during a time of extraordinary change. Yet we persevered, performed and even prospered.
As we look across the broader learning market, and the work to turn rapid improvisations into lasting change, we can see a common thread. For the organizations that were not only best prepared to respond with agility to what is needed, but are also best positioned to capitalize on new work dynamics: They all have great training DNA.
What is Training DNA?
In the simplified version of a scientific explanation, we know (or rather Wikipedia says) that DNA is:
- The structure which contains the genetic information that guides the development and function of an organism.
- The underlying building block allows that information to be passed down between generations.
So what is training DNA?
If we looked at training DNA in a similar way, we’d say that Training DNA is:
- The foundation which contains the performance information that guides the development and function of contributors towards organizational performance
- Training DNA is also the underlying building block for knowledge transfer, which allows that information to be passed between contributors
Think about that last part, specifically as it relates to our evolving learning landscape. Knowledge retention and knowledge transfer was a hot item before the pandemic due to the rolling waves of Baby Boomer retirees exiting the workforce. And, it has only become more critical as many of the programs, informal learning opportunities and mentoring and coaching opportunities have been impacted. In fact, according to Deloitte’s Global 2020 Human Capital Trends study,”75% of organizations said, “creating and preserving knowledge across evolving workforces is important or very important for their success over the next 12-18 months.”
Building Training DNA
So how does an organization go about building strong training DNA? The answer is in the acronym, Don’t Neglect Analysis.
Analysis tends to be a tired word in the increasingly techno- and learner-centric world of learning. Beyond being the first phase of the ADDIE model, which also become unfairly criticized), we sometimes associate analysis with creating a complex set of requirements that organizations don’t have the time or money to.
However, even when we’re creating elements of learning; be it micro-learning, job aids, point-of-use support and so-on, each element supports a broader goal and a broader system. Without analysis, there’s no proper understanding of that system or the inter-connection of the learning content. Without this understanding, we have the potential for gaps, redundancies, sub-optimization, and waste, which produces risk for compliance based organizations.
On the delivery side of things, where learning touches the learner, we have intelligent and adaptive platforms, self-directed learning journeys and social platforms that engage, personalize and generally meet the learner in a manner and modality in which they feel comfortably proficient.
Analysis, by contrast, seems dated in its methods and modalities. And while we’ve seen great strides in the use of Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and prescriptive software to aid in these efforts, at its core it’s still a very human and interactive process. When we’re dealing with determining objectives and outcomes for human performance, perhaps this as it should be.
Great Learning DNA Leads to Greater Learning Results
As learning professionals, we understand that a solid analysis is the foundation for everything that follows, from a learning and measurement standpoint as well as managing change. Without analysis, it would be challenging to show behavioral or business change, or even ROI; it’s the heart of the training system.
There are solid, proven virtual and premise based processes for extracting, documenting, categorizing, organizing, and sharing the base information required for a solid analysis that can be done in a matter of days to weeks depending on the scope.
These processes create tangible outcomes, roadmaps and manipulable data. They allow organizations to prioritize learning interventions, understand relationships between objectives, roles and departments, and identify opportunities for synergy as well as eliminating waste. In this manner, analysis output is a value-added deliverable, not just a means to an end.
We’ve come a long way in terms of proving business value and earning a seat at the table; even if that seat is increasingly more of a square on the Zoom or Teams conference. Focusing on our training DNA will help ensure we maintain it.
Reach out to RPS
Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) is a global provider of managed learning solutions for commercial, government and military customers across 15 industries. We are a recognized leader in the fields of learning, learning strategy and technology-enabled solutions by leading learning industry consultants including Nelson Hall, Emerald Works, Brandon Hall, Training Industry, Cybersecurity Breakthrough, and Forbes Magazine. At the heart of our business is our emphasis on putting our customers first and strong culture of collaboration. By putting our customers first, we deliver outcomes that matter and build relationships that last.
How have you used data analysis to move learning forward? What was your experience? Connect with us on LinkedIn or at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags #learning, #training, #datascience, and #Let’sGetStarted.
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