Learning to ride: how to develop a workplace learning environment
At the Kineo Learning Insights Conference last week, I spoke about Brand Learning’s view on learning. I opened my speaker slot by sharing a story about my childhood. I can vividly remember learning to ride a bike when I was a kid. Aside from the feeling of excitement and trepidation, I remember my father played a big role. He didn’t come at it with ‘It’s time you learnt to ride. Have a read of this book or cycling manual, or take a look at these videos.’ His first objective was to get me interested in cycling and let me experience or see for myself how much fun it could be and the freedom it will eventually give me, to go where I wanted (within reason)…. when I wanted.
This was the same ‘crash and learn’ approach I decided to take with my son: getting him to try out cycling for himself for his own enjoyment. Fast forward a few years later, now he is a cycling enthusiast. He has joined a club, customised his bike, and is giving me, his old man, advice and tips on how best to cycle.
At work, we are too often so focused on what we want people to learn, what change we need, what content to provide, that we give too little time to helping people believe in the value of the change and to ensuring they progress and apply what they’ve learned in a sustained way. We need a framework for learning that creates ongoing behaviour change.
There is no shortage of frameworks or models on how to design learning programmes or events, but in our experience, whilst useful they either don’t tell the whole story or are too focused on the process and not enough on the learner, and the ultimate goal of changing their behaviour. So at Brand Learning, we’ve drawn on our experience of marketing: working on brands, thinking about consumers and how to change their behaviours, and fused it with leading learning practice to create a simple, effective, framework around which programmes can be based. It's explained in this short film: Believe It. Get It. Live It.
On a practical note and again learning from marketing, it is incredibly powerful to have a creative idea or wrapper for your programme, across Believe It. Get It. Live It. As with all good creative ideas, it acts as a shorthand, and maintains consistency from beginning to end.
As an example, we worked with AstraZeneca to help their strategic marketing community transform their capability agenda. This was a five year integrated programme utilising a range of different learning interventions and we used the creative wrapper of being ‘Fit for the Future’. For the self-paced, self-study e-tutorials - of which there were many - we characterised these as being your Personal Workout in a gym. Just like in real life you would assess your level of fitness, and depending on the results you choose which parts of the gym to visit to build your skills. At any point in time, you can go back and reassess your fitness level.
So the next time you’re out on your bike, remind yourself of why you chose to learn, how you learnt, maybe what stopped you from developing your cycling proficiency, or what you did to improve it, and ask yourself, what parallels you could apply when building skills and changing the performance of individuals or teams within your organisation.