Learning Happens Even When Training Doesn’t

We can’t help ourselves – learning happens no matter what. It’s a natural part of being human.

We are in a constant state of learning, changing, adapting, assimilating, experiencing, remembering, and accessing and using previously acquired information and skills. Even when we are asleep, our unconscious minds and dream states teach us something, whether or not we recall the details. Our brains, nervous systems, and entire bodies are miraculous structures that can make learning easy and automatic.

If you watch a child over time, you can see the learning that goes on. It occurs at warp speed and it goes deep. We can be shocked by what our children learn though, especially when we did not intend for them to learn something – like that “adult” word or how to manipulate situations.

As we age, the nature and focus of our learning shifts and the speed at which we learn slows. But we keep on learning.

This concept is highly relevant to the workplace. Many companies – whether small or large – do NOT provide their employees with the appropriate structures and opportunities to learn efficiently or effectively.  Just look at New Employee Orientation programs – they tend to be an avalanche of detailed rules, procedures, and processes that are intended to inform new employees, but usually just overwhelm them. The people who put together these types of “trainings,” seem to hope that some of the information will stick or, perhaps, they are trying to meet a minimum standard of notification that’s required for regulatory or compliance reasons. The truth is – that’s neither effective nor welcoming.

Sure, employees learn something, but what? That they won’t be getting very good training at this company? That the company is rule-oriented and unfriendly? That employees will need to sort through that avalanche of information to find the nuggets that are relevant to them? That their jobs are going to be boring?

See the problem? People are ALWAYS learning…even the unintended information.

What if we had a way to bring a little bit of strategy to the learning experience and tip the scales from unintentional learning to strategic learning? Logic alone says that it would be worth it.

What if companies provided training that was strategically designed to teach new information and skills instead of relying on random experiences to be the guide?

What if training programs had buy-in from managers and supervisors, who spent time with their employees before the training and after the training to help bring the new knowledge and skills to the work environment?

What if managers and supervisors brought more intention and structure to on-the-job training so that the learning experience was logical and progressed through well-designed stages instead of relying on whatever random situations occurred?

All of this is possible with instructional design. Instructional design brings intentionality, strategy, thought, and care to the learning process. It’s the thoughtful and strategic development of information, activities, materials, and other instructional tools to increase the likelihood that learning happens as close as possible to the way you’d like it to happen.

It’s what Custom Training Design does. Check us out at http://www.CustomTrainingDesign.com.


About Paul

I help businesses of all sizes design and facilitate high-impact training for their employees, clients, and prospects.
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