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September 22, 2008

Think 'Learning Process' Not 'Learning Event'

Traditionally, training has been thought of as an event. You go to a training class or you log into an e-learning module and take the training but then you never seem to have any follow up or follow through. You never again look at those  'action items' you wrote down at the end of class.

Changes are needed.

One of the ways to ensure that training leads to behavioral change is to follow up on the actions learners indicated they would take. Before technology,  follow up was too cumbersome but now you can leverage  technology tools to help remind learners of what they learned and what they need to do to continue the process and to build a learning process around a particular subject.

Perhaps the simplest technology to employ is to send an email several weeks after class highlighting the main performance objectives from the class and reminding the learner of what he or she might do to apply the techniques for class to daily job activities. You may even consider sending an email to the manager to remind her of what her employee should be doing back on the job as it relates to the topics covered in the learning event.

To get a little more sophisticated, you could create a learning blog within the company and encourage the participants from the class to visit the blog and write about how they are applying the information recently acquired to their work processes. You should have someone monitor the site to add additional insights and help explain concepts employees may have trouble implementing.

Another, even more sophisticated approach is to create an on-line social network. This allows for more robust interactions among the former classmates and can be used to post RSS feeds from related blogs as well as connect learners to one another and relevant content.  A good social network software for this type of thing is Ning or IntroNetworks.

Recently I wrote about a process created by Cal Wick where his company has created an entire software application that provides tools for following up on end-of-training commitments of the learners. The software provides a dashboard for managers and allows the learners to follow their progress and the progress of others over time. The level of sophistication is high but the tools are simple and straightforward. 

So next time you are developing a learning event, stop and think how you can leverage technology to transform learning into a process. Your organization will be stronger for it.

Karl Kapp is the Assistant Director of Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Interactive TechnologiesLogoggg_2 and a professor of instructional technology. See his own blog, Kapp Notes for information on the convergence of learning and technology. He is the author of the book Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.   

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Comments

Jordan Schwartz

Pathable is another service that specifically offers on-line community and social networking tools for conferences and events. Very simple to use and much less expensive than IntroNetworks.

http://www.pathable.com/

Karl Kapp

Jordan,

Thanks for the note, I will check Pathable out.

Karl

Training room hire near Leeds

Very good points i got from your post.Thanks for your information.

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You should have someone monitor the site to add additional insights and help explain concepts employees may have trouble implementing.

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You may even consider sending an email to the manager to remind her of what her employee should be doing back on the job as it relates to the topics covered in the learning event.

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Perhaps the simplest technology to employ is to send an email several weeks after class highlighting the main performance objectives from the class and reminding the learner of what he or she might do to apply the techniques for class to daily job activities.

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I think she just wants to be the Asian Ann Coulter.

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