In the world of work, we all know we have to learn to compete. In an attempt to do so, many organizations invest in lectures, seminars, or coaching sessions that deliver an intense shot of learning. These kinds of initiatives struggle to motivate employees or translate into real, lasting change, and yet despite this ineffectiveness, many organizations invest again and again in more of the same. These are the just some of the challenges they face:
The Knowing-Doing Gap
Lectures or seminars address workplace issues before offering guidance on how employees may develop and improve. The key issue with traditional learning initiatives such as these is that they are rarely followed up with the kind of support needed to convert learning into DOING — this widely recognized, yet unsolved problem, is known as The Knowing-Doing Gap. Lessons taught have a low transfer rate as employees struggle to take action and apply what they’ve learned to their working lives. As learning continually fails to convert into doing, The Knowing-Doing Gap increases, frustration mounts as the results don’t come in, and organizations are left with even lower productivity than they had to begin with.
Traditional learning initiatives can struggle to engage and motivate employees. They’re often delivered in a “one-size-fits-all” format and fail to take into consideration each team member’s individual talents, resources, and personal needs. Not only is this a sub-optimal way to promote learning and development, but it can also be demotivating as employees feel teaching isn’t relevant to them as individuals. Many will also find didactic teaching methods tedious or disconnect completely before any learning can even begin. The resulting workforce is apathetic and views each new initiative as simply another “box to tick” that is both laborious and futile.
Costly investments in learning and development that fail to translate into real action or change are a waste of time and resources. Not only could that resource be better spent elsewhere, but the time it takes to commit a workforce to an ineffective learning initiative is only going to sap productivity without offering any gain in return.
The solution is simple. Instead of investing in more of the same, such as intensive lectures and seminars, organizations should instead commit to learning initiatives that prioritize consistent Learning AND Doing. By bringing Learning AND Doing together in time and space, knowledge building is combined with real-time application. Not only does this mean that positive change happens quicker, improving organization workflow and providing demonstrable results — but employees are able to see the positive change in themselves and their productivity almost immediately. The result is Productivity AND Happiness.
It’s about consistency, not intensity. For example, running for 20 minutes a day will help you get into shape over time. But if you tried to run 20km once a month, you’d quickly give up before your fitness improved. It’s the same with learning — daily, supported Learning AND Doing is far more effective than lectures or seminars delivered once or twice per year.