How to achieve a good learning culture
The benefits of further education for every organisation have recently been discussed on our blog. It became clear that further training contributes to the economic success and attractiveness of your organisation. According to GetSmarter, 92% of organisations that have established a learning culture are willing to innovate. Furthermore, 58% of organisations with a learning culture are well prepared for future requirements within their industry.
German politics has also recognized that further education is essential to preserve our prosperity. Therefore the ministries concerned have launched a new strategy of further education. Employees should be given the opportunity to continuously develop their skills through targeted support.
But how do you ensure that employees are happy to participate in regular training? To achieve this, learning and further training must become a natural part of working life. In other words, you need to create a good learning culture and firmly integrate further training in your organisation. This blog article shows you how to succeed in establishing a good learning culture and which learning formats help you to do so.
A good learning culture needs planning
For a good learning culture, it is first of all crucial that all employees regard further training and learning as a common goal. In order to achieve this goal time and budget has to be made available. Besides, further training must be an integral part of your organisation’s strategic personnel development. You should ask yourself which qualifications are necessary to achieve the economic goals of your organisation: What are relevant contents that you would like to communicate to your employees? When and how should further training take place? Which competencies should be developed to increase the success of your organisation? Apart from answering these questions, the four incentives below help you to plan further training.
- Ask your employees about their personal training needs
In regular appraisal interviews you can discuss, plan and evaluate further training together with your employee. Ask your employees personally which further training courses they would like to attend, or which courses they urgently need, for example, to be able to fulfil their tasks. Agree on concrete learning objectives to be achieved over a period of time and then discuss the progress made. If employees are involved in the planning of further training, their motivation will be much higher.
- Schedule enough budget
When planning the training budget, consider costs for participation in training courses as well as for the creation and development of the courses.
- Use a learning platform
Grant your employees access to training via a learning platform. Participants can use the documented training history to gain an overview of training courses that they have already completed.
- Name a contact person for further training
Provide a permanent contact person for training and learning who supports employees and helps them with specific inquiries. Peer-to-peer mentoring is also conceivable – this is a type of coaching in which a mentor passes on his or her experience and knowledge to a less experienced person (mentee) in regular meetings.
Individual Learning – decisive for a good learning culture
A good learning culture takes into account the needs, skills and interests of employees. Regular appraisal interviews are a first step. In this way, you involve your employees well in the further training process.
Providing individual learning opportunities shows your employees that you appreciate them. In contrast to further training courses for everybody, individual training opportunities create relevance and increase the willingness to learn: “If I know how to apply newly acquired knowledge in practice and how it helps me in my everyday work, I will be motivated and learn more successfully.” As an example, this can be further training courses that deal with current areas of responsibility or prepare for a new task. With the help of the following tips, you can tailor your training program to the individual employee.
- Enable self-determined learning
If employees can decide for themselves when, where and what they learn, this increases the effectiveness of learning. For example, use learning videos or online-training courses that you make available on a learning platform. This way, your employees can choose for themselves which courses they need. They also have the opportunity to learn at their own pace and at an appropriate time.
Take into account the employees’ level of knowledge when planning your training program. As an example, newcomers can start their professional training right at the beginning of their new job with the help of a digital onboarding. In this way, they receive a learning offer that is tailored to their needs. Employees who have been in the organisation for a long time and have thus a higher level of knowledge benefit from courses specifically designed for advanced learners. For example, provide courses with different levels of difficulty on a single learning platform on which users only see the courses that are relevant to them depending on their level of knowledge.
- Vary teaching methods
Every human learns in different ways. Therefore, you should use different teaching methods and formats in order to consider different learning preferences. In large training programmes, you will achieve better learning success if you mix digital media and face-to-face sessions well.
Easily accessible learning opportunities – a good learning culture makes it possible
In order to remove barriers and to allow all employees to participate in further training opportunities, further training must be integrated into everyday working life and be easily accessible for everybody. You can achieve this with the following measures.
- Provide working hours for further training
A good learning culture can be recognised by the fact that learning takes place flexibly during working hours. As described in the first section, the desired further training must be included into the daily work routine. Thus, your employees will feel appreciated and will not be overloaded by extra effort. By setting goals and defining measures in the appraisal interviews, you ensure that the working time allocated for further training is well invested.
- Enable practice-oriented training
If knowledge is acquired at the moment it is needed and then applied in the daily working routine, contents will be consolidated and remain in the memory for a long time. One example is “on-demand learning“. In this method, learning does not take place in advance, but whenever new input is needed for a specific task. Digital learning formats such as learning nuggets or screencasts are particularly suitable for this method because they allow spontaneous learning. To apply this method you can, for example, provide your employees with a mobile device with which information can be retrieved immediately. If a problem occurs at a production machine, for instance, a tablet or smartphone could provide practical tips on how to solve the problem quickly.
- Enable informal learning
Apart from didactically valuable learning formats and a good mixture of workshops, classroom training and digital training, opportunities for informal learning are part of a good learning culture. You should therefore promote the exchange of information among colleagues and superiors in your organisation. In this way, everyone benefits from new insights.
The transfer of knowledge from one colleague to another does not always occur incidentally. It also needs incentives and concrete opportunities to pass on newly acquired knowledge and experience. Therefore, organise concrete occasions to talk about new insights. This can be done, for example, in learning groups in which you repeat what you have learned and reflect on how to put it into practice. Other forms of social (collaborative) learning are also suitable.
A good learning culture means appreciation
By including further training in daily working life, taking individual interests into account and making knowledge easily accessible, you can firmly integrate the further development of your employees in your organisation. Digital learning formats help you to tailor training courses to the employees’ needs. However, lifelong learning and professional development should not only be demanded and supported. It also has to be exemplified by superiors to create a good learning culture. In doing so, you reduce the prejudice that only incompetent employees need further training. Instead, you give further education a positive image. As a result you will benefit from a good learning atmosphere in which everyone feels encouraged to push forward their own development.
Would you like more information on this topic?
Would you like to know which measures for establishing a good learning culture are specifically suited to your organisation and how you can effectively integrate digital learning into your work processes? We are at your disposal for questions or for further and individual advice. Please feel free to contact us.