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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LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

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

We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

Jennifer Remling
Director of Global Recruiting

AKQA

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

Ivan Fukumoto
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development

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

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

Kortney Riddle
HR Manager

Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
Director of HR

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

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