Learning today takes very different forms than it did 10 or 20 years ago. In the past, learning was primarily delivered in a classroom and was delivered based on a schedule given an employee’s tenure with the firm. Skills transfer occurred from an expert teaching novices.
Today, learning materials are delivered in short cell phone video clips, on-line, via webinar, and yes, even in a classroom. Skills transfer occurs both vertically and horizontally, and training can be driven from an expert teaching a novice technical skills or from a new employee to experienced staff teaching market approaches. Importantly, training is delivered more on-demand, when the learning is needed and job skills need performance enhancement.
There are a lot of benefits to on-line training period participants can access courses anytime and anywhere using practically any device. (iPhones still have some format limitations to deliver video learning content.) This means a person can access training during regular work hours or choose to learn new skills at home in evenings for weekends. On-line training is very flexible.
Of course, with the prevalence of on-line training, many organizations have observed the disadvantages, too. A lot of on-line courses for leadership and innovation performance enhancement go unfinished. Mandatory on-line training courses (e.g. for safety or regulatory requirements) must include constraints on screen advancing because participants tend to skip to the test in order to avoid dry, boring content but the training hours can be audited. And while people have the best intention to do an on-line training class at night or on the weekend, there are lots of things that can get in the way such as sports, family, friends, yard chores, and so on.
A recent Harvard Business Review article (Mar/Apr 2019) notes the classroom training is essentially a thing of the past. For all the benefits and flexibility of on-line training, classroom learning is not competitive. And so goes the case against facilitated courses. The argument is that classroom training is expensive, not only for the instructor and facilities but also because people are pulled away from their “regular” jobs. Some employees will need to travel to the training center, resulting in added costs due to airfare, hotel, and rental cars.
Yet, with all the expenses of classroom training, many organizations are missing the key benefit of face-to-face learning. Networking. Especially as employees climb career ladders, internal and external networks become a crucial resource for learning as well. Leadership development and soft skills growth are best delivered in face-to-face format to allow a diverse cohort of young leaders opportunities to network.
Kenny Smith, former Houston Rocket and ESPN basketball commentator, noted that the team was laser-focused on the game, especially during playoffs, when they traveled. The team ate meals together, practiced together, and spent their free time together. Home games always had distractions. Classroom learning built this same camaraderie for an up-and-coming leadership cohort.
Master Mind Groups
in the best of both worlds, people will get the training they need when they need it and are given a chance to build a reliance network for learning later on. A master mind group offers a hybrid for learning and practicing leadership development skills. Advantages of both on-line learning and the networking effects of classroom training are enhanced. And because master mind groups are largely self-directed by the cohort, learning is on-demand and delivered just-in-time. Training is delivered via live webinars, on-line video modules, podcasts, and through collaboration with your cohort advisory board. In between live webinars, master mind members communicate on private discussion boards and complete required activities to develop and practice their leadership skills.
As the March/April 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review emphasizes, leaders need continuous learning. Successful innovation leaders don’t limit themselves to required corporate training courses or wait for nomination to an executive training session. Smart, growing leaders are passionate about trying new skills how to improve their current situation. They are as excited and proud to place a new certification on their Linked In profile as they are to share the development opportunity with their teams. This is continuous learning.
I am passionate about learning, especially for innovation and leadership. I want to help you and I’m sure I can learn from you, too. A great opportunity to engage in continuous learning is the Life Design Master Mind group where we apply tools of Design Thinking to career, professional, or personal challenges. The next open cohort meeting is 21 May 2019. Click here to register for your six-month transformation and learning journey. Based on your feedback, this master mind group is extremely affordable. You’ll also be interested to learn about the Flagship Innovation Leader program. Join us for a free webinar in June. Contact me at area code (281) plus 280-8717 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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