What We Have Learned About How Employees Learn

A teacher is reading one of a pile of books to see what he has Learned About How Employees Learn

We’ve Learned About How Employees Learn
We have finally learned about how employees learn.  There’s “old school” learning and there’s “new school” learning.  Learning by the old school method involved a lot of lecture, repetition, memorizing and a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

It worked to a degree.  But we have since learned how employees learn more effectively – specifically about the process of learning that leads to better understanding, lasting retention and measurable on-the-job behavior change.  In a nutshell, effective learning is far more interactive.

Learning Can Be Learned
The good news is that learning is a skill that can be learned.  A recent study found that learning strategies and instructional design approaches are more effective than raw cognitive ability in acquiring new skills.  When it comes to learning new things, your ability to master a new skill is 15% more significant than IQ.

An Example from the Elementary School Classroom
Many parents today are at a loss when they try to help their children through Common Core Math.  Multiplication tables used to be memorized.  Now students arrive at their answers through a new and often  puzzling problem solving methodology.

A recent San Jose Mercury News article states that “The good old days of memorizing math formulas or multiplication tables are gone. Instead, Common Core math requires students to show how they reason their way to the right answer. As a result, many parents say homework is far more complicated than it used to be.”

But today’s kids get it and are far closer than their earlier counterparts to being able to set up their own equations, work with unknowns, and understand what a number array is.

What This Means for Corporate Learning
Those of us charged with developing the talent our company needs to thrive, need to pay attention to what we have learned about how employees learn.

Most now know that to truly prepare workers to learn and acquire new skills, lecture should be at a minimum.  We recommend that it be no more than 30 percent of any training session.  As soon as concepts are introduced, training should shift toward interactive learning…practice exercises, role plays, real-world scenarios, simulation, individual coaching, feedback, reflection, and performance tests.

Far more learning can be carried back to the job if learning is relevant and active…with upfront analysis and real problem solving followed by ongoing reflection and reinforcement activities.

The 5R’s to Help Make Learning Stick
Once you understand how employees learn, don’t forget to focus on skill adoption and retention.   Our learning research has identified five attributes that must be present for the sustainable transfer of skills from the workshop to the job:

  • Relevance – the learning should have high comparative relevance to the learner, their boss and the company as a whole
  • Resources – there should be sufficient time, information, tools, technology, supporting processes, and structures made available to help produce the desired result
  • Reinforcement – you need an environment that will consistently monitor and support new skill and behavior application
  • Renewal – you need to ensure continuous improvement through coaching, refreshers and follow-up
  • Review – it is important to review the effectiveness of the learning intervention at both the individual and group levels

The Bottom Line
We’ve learned about how employees learn. Learning is a learned behavior.  Learners benefit from thoughtful planning, effective decision making, active reflection and experiential practice.  Just make sure the new skills and behaviors are highly relevant to success for the learner, their boss and the business as a whole.

To learn more about effective learning strategies, download The Pros and Cons of 3 Training Rollout Strategies

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Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

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Director, Team Development

The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

Stacie Rodgers
VP of Human Resources

Cutera

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

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