On-Demand Learning and the Trainer #LCBQ
The Big Question for May on ASTD’s The Learning Circuits blog asks about on-demand learning:
How do we need to change in what we do in order to address learning/performance needs that are on-demand?
It seems to me that there are two types of “on-demand”: the demand of the learning (i.e., “just-in-time” training) and the demand of the manager or SME.
In my work environment (a community hospital) on-demand training is a critical part of our approach to learning. Because of the nature of the work performed by our workforce, we strive to keep learning short and simple to use. SharePoint has been a huge boon to our training department. It provides an easy, fast way for learners to access on-demand content and informal learning experiences.
The benefits of this kind of delivery in terms of efficiency and flexibility are clear. However, some SMEs and learners (and educat0rs) are concerned that more informal approaches will not be effective. ‘Without the reassuring completion percentages generated by our LMS, how will we know whether people completed the training?’ they ask. The answer, of course, is to look at performance of the targeted task. Starting with lower-risk content and carefully documenting effectiveness, we have been able to demonstrate that this approach works and is appreciated by learners.
The other kind of demand – the “we need it now!” mentality is a fact of life in training. Most people – good, well-intentioned, professional people – do not realize how time-consuming it is to create effective training. For me, this is where relationship-building is key. I’m not a freelancer, and I don’t work with an agency. I work with the same group of leaders and SMEs every day. They have learned that they can trust me to deliver high-quality results and meet their needs. Often they will let me know if a change or other training need is on the horizon, so I can prepare for it. I am also able t0 have a dialog about timeframes in most cases, rather than getting a cramdown.
Back to the question at hand – on-demand training requires different technologies and approaches than traditional synchronous training. But on the whole we should do most things the same. We still need to identify (in collaboration with SMEs and learners) what content is needed. We still need to manage the learning environment (whether it is a classroom or a wiki) for optimal learning. We still have to build effectiveness measures into the design and demonstrate the value of the learning experiences to the organization.