Learning Is A Journey

blended learning learning journey online learning Oct 18, 2022
woman on a road starting a journey

As we’re all going through rapid, unpredictable changes, the ability to learn, and to continue learning, is crucial to individuals and organisations.

So, what did you learn at work today?

I’ve long been an advocate of Learning Journeys; training should never be considered ‘an event’, but rather an integral part of a learning process, or journey, which should be closely aligned with the challenges facing an organization and what leaders must do to drive the business forward. This journey takes place over time and consists of multiple learning experiences. Sometimes, the learning we do each day can be so small that we don’t even notice it. But added up, all of our experiences and interactions contribute to our overall perspective and competencies.

Post-pandemic, both individuals and organisations have taken a multi-faceted approach to learning – beyond the traditional classroom courses into a plethora of methods from e-learning, web-based discussion forums, guided learning, bite-sized courses and so on. Traditionally, blended learning has combined online and face-to-face training, but that has been adapted to encompass live-online and self-directed learning to improve the learning experience, allow greater flexibility for learners and recognise the changing environment we’re living and working in.

But think about how much more powerful and sustainable the learning would be if these learning experiences were joined together into a transformational learning journey. A journey is ‘the act of travelling from one place to another.’ A learning journey is a designed learning experience involving a whole series of different learning elements. The act of developmental travel, if you will.

What learners find especially helpful is the structure provided by the learning journey, which makes it clear what people should do next and how much time they should set aside, but also offers a high level of flexibility around where and when they should learn, together with the blend of learning options which help embed key skills and behaviours.

Learning journeys build capability through a series of related and complementary learning interventions. It’s about how all of these elements are blended together to make a learning experience where the new skills or behaviours are put into practice and have a lasting impact.

How do you get started?

Here are five things to keep in mind when creating a Learning Journey.

1. Start with the end in mind.
What are your objectives and what will make the journey a success?

2. Know where the gaps are.
When a learner knows exactly where his or her gaps are, it creates an increased desire to improve and change.

3. Extend learning beyond development events.
The 70:20:10 philosophy states that 70% of the learning occurs on-the-job, 20% from others, and 10% in formal learning experiences; right now learners need to be engaged differently. Social media tools, for example, can be effectively used to enhance Learning Journeys.

4. Involve the learners’ direct manager.
Establish learner-manager meetings to set expectations and agree on specific ways and opportunities to apply the new skills, perhaps in a project or to solve a real business issue.

5. Measure impact.
Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of your Learning Journey by documenting it and sharing with others.

A journey is more than simply going from one place to another – it conjures up a sense of meaningful change; that you will return somehow different from when you left. And just like any other journey, a Learning Journey requires planning, discipline and execution to be successful.

Have you created yourself a learning journey? What challenges have you overcome? How have your grown? What has been the most meaningful change?

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