This is our learning forum, where we share our thoughts on how to deliver great learning.
The posts on this page have been written by Martin Jones, Director of Learning and Technology at Learning Construct.
Learning and change matrices
Learning Construct’s Learning and Change Matrices are analytical tools to define and map organisational goals together with the appropriate levers of change, to create a matrix of measurable targets and programme components.
The matrix sets out the way in which a learning and change programme will be configured and implemented and provides a realistic measure of the return on investment – and of success – which the programme and its components have achieved.
To find out more, select the Play button to view the video.
It’s always 100…
The 70:20:10 concept captures the idea that formal learning is often quite a small part of the learning process, while informal learning and on-the-job experience can count for much more. What the precise ratio actually is in practice is pretty unknowable; the point is that the learning process is never one-dimensional (or perhaps, never uni-directional), but embedded in an individual’s experience. So 70:20:10 is shorthand for saying that the 100% you achieve consists of many elements, and finding a good balance for a learning and change programme will increase the chances of success.
The Learning and Change Matrix shown here illustrates how we leverage this. Our courses address the need for behaviour change as well as knowledge gain and develop these elements holistically. We tie the learning experience and activities to what our learners are doing - their situation and context. We use this to create and build empathy, and through that, the motivation (and the capabilities) to change.
As learning takes place everywhere, our course 'Activities' always try to bring something of the workplace into our courses, and encourage learners to take something of the course back out into work. So whatever the ratio, the learning we foster adds up to 100...
Learning outside the box
‘Thinking outside the box’ is a familiar concept but, especially for compliance training, ‘learning outside the box’ deserves to be up there with it. By this I mean that online compliance training materials should allow learners the same freedom to explore under their own initiative as the best MOOCs often do.
So what does it mean to ‘explore under one’s own initiative’ and why is this important? Well, it’s how just about everyone actually accesses information and learns from it. Learning requires information inputs to be transformed in some way, to become personally owned and memorable. How this transformation occurs varies enormously of course, but piquing our curiosity certainly helps. And if you don’t interest people, then learning is made much harder. Allowing learners leeway to follow up and explore what most interests them from within a general framework (which serves as a ‘common denominator’ of minimum or 'threshold' learning requirements) is far better than simply expecting them all to do everything the same as everyone else. That simply ignores what people are like and how they learn.
So our tendency with compliance e-learning is to introduce hierarchies of information so that a core framework exists of essential information within the course (‘key facts’ for example), complemented by optional in-depth ‘read more’ explorations (still within the course) so that those who wish to or need to can go further into the subject. Complementing these two elements is a third – still optional – external element. This is a set of links to outside expert sources in the public domain (sometimes offering differing or controversial viewpoints) so that learners can explore in a way which is similar to how they conduct browser searches for anything. Finally, learners are encouraged to find their own sources and use these as additional or alternative means of gaining the required information and knowledge.
In addition to these hierarchies, we also include, when suitable, elements such as audio and video commentaries which provide a more considered, personal viewpoint on different subjects. Again, these are optional, for learners to use if they like that format. These information sources should be complemented by activities which give learners a reason for searching out information and provide a context for putting it into practice.
The diagram illustrates how we view all this.
Learning levers of change
Learning is when you ‘get it’ and transform the experiences and information you have acquired into a learning construct or usable knowledge. The means to achieve this include formal training, but of course many other inputs, activities and experiences can be levers of change which lead to learning. The 70:20:10 concept expresses this kind of idea too. What you actually do helps you learn, as will coaching and mentoring; observing others is a great way of learning, as is getting things wrong...
Accordingly, training may contribute to learning - be one of the key levers of change maybe - but not necessarily be the immediate trigger for it. It’s important to keep this in mind when defining a training programme. I often use a herringbone diagram to help understand what needs to be done, and identify the levers of change which might lead to the learning goal. The diagram is an example.
Each of the levers of change may be necessary, but each on its own may not be sufficient. It’s the sum of these elements which we use to create our learning constructs, and each individual will follow their own learning pathway (and mix of inputs and activities) in doing so.
What this means is that training is inevitably embedded in a wider context, which needs to be understood and managed just as the training is, and it’s the success of this whole programme which will determine the outcome. Equally, it’s the whole programme which needs to be considered when calculating the return on investment.
To come back to the point made at the beginning, training and learning are two different things. Training is simply one of many possible means to an end, while learning is the end itself. However, once achieved, learning becomes in turn a catalyst for delivering the desired change or goal and it may be that the only way of truly determining that learning has indeed been successfully achieved is through the changes it delivers.