Behavioural change is the biggest indicator of successful learning and is the hardest to achieve. In the case of soft skills training, compliance training, even sales training, a behavioural change should be the expected output and not just completion of the training.
Two things have always led corporate eLearning strategies:
- Academic Education Systems.
Corporate learning, whether synchronous or asynchronous, follows the same academic systems as schools and universities; i.e. course-based learning with certification deeming learners as qualified.
- Learning Technologies.
Authoring Tools and LMSs are the two crucial learning technologies that have led the eLearning revolution. Their origin, capabilities and restrictions were based on the same Academic Education Systems.
However, these strategies have failed as most of the organisations still struggle to even have a decent completion ratio, leave alone behavioural changes in the employees when it comes to compliance training.
To achieve behavioural change in your employees, we need to rethink and restructure our learning systems. Here are 3 effective ways the L&D departments could use to ensure behavioural change through eLearning.
James Clear in his breakthrough book Atomic Habits gives a great example while illustrating how tiny changes give remarkable results. Imagine a plane that is en route to New York from Los Angeles. While taking off, if the pilot changes the course by 3.5 degrees to the south, no one on the plane will even notice this change. However, this tiny change will have the plane land in Washington, D.C. instead of New York. Of course, you would not want to be on this plane, but the point James Clear wants to emphasise is that tiny changes can bring out a considerable amount of impact over the time.
Similarly, Microlearning can act as a catalyst of tiny changes aimed at substantial behavioural changes in employees. When I say Microlearning, I am not referring to the buzzword definition of Microlearning that focuses only on the content chunking and conveniently ignores the delivery mechanism of the chunked content. Microlearning is not a technological solution to L&D; it is a learning strategy and needs to be implemented as one. A daily DOs and DON’Ts email, a weekly video about best practices, a fortnightly gamified quiz with leaderboards, a very short course about latest product updates for sales team can all become your tools to use Microlearning. However, just having the learning resources is not enough. Behavioural Change will require continuous reinforcement. Learning is a continuous process.
To implement Microlearning successfully, you need to:
- Set trajectory of your learning initiatives according to the behavioural change you want to achieve.
- Break all your learning content into tiny milestones, each milestone addressing and contributing to the big change.
- Let these Milestones decide the frequency and duration of Microlearning resources.
- Use the best possible delivery platform that adheres to your new strategy.
Remember, behavioural change is a continuous process and the results will take time, and if you have set the learning trajectory right, you will definitely have the expected results.
2.- Continuous Learning
Traditionally L&D has suffered through the course-based learning wherein a learner completes a course and is deemed as ‘trained’ on something. These training programs are planned once or twice in a year, or worse, when something really disastrous indicates the need for a training program. However, the volatility of business today led by technological disruption demands a workforce that is continuously evolving. To achieve this, learning continuously is non-negotiable.
Use micro resources to create a stream of continuous learning. Align the delivery of these micro resources with:
- Business objectives, of that year, quarter, month or week.
- Employee’s journey in your organisation – for example, what’s the point of training someone on a topic that will be relevant for them only after 3 months?
Context is the key to achieve any sort of learner engagement!
Continuous learning will help you inculcate learning habits, which will then lead to creating a culture of learning in your organisation. And over the time, a continuous reinforcement of relevant information will bring out the sought-after behavioural changes in the workforce.
3.- Learning Analytics
Look at every successful online consumer platform today. How they are digging user data to analyse and evaluate the user behaviour. Based on the analysis, they keep improving their platforms to evoke desired behaviours from their consumers.
Whereas, L&D measures the efficacy of their learning initiatives by measuring the time spent on a course and score earned by the learners. Of course, there are lots of reports generated from a learning delivery platform, however, most of the time the focus is on measuring whether the knowledge was imparted, and if yes, how much. Obviously, these reports do not give the insights into the patterns of interactions between the learners and the learning. And we continue the same way, and then blame the learners not being engaged.
It is high time we in L&D need to leave our patronising position and treat learners as consumers of our learning programs. We need to use Learning Analytical tools to measure, evaluate, and predict the learner behaviours.
Learning Analytics will allow you to peek into each and every aspect of your learners like when are most of the learners learning – on the job or on weekends, on Tuesday mornings or Thursday evenings –, what are they searching for, what are they answering wrong, at what point they leave the learning platform, what excites them and what frustrates them. You will be able to create a lot more effective learning strategy moving forward.
It is pretty simple – if you want to change behaviours, the first step will be to analyse the existing behaviours.