You’ve caught the continual learning bug and you want to get started.
The good news is, you already have. If you’re part of a functioning team, where people do their jobs and customers generally get what they’re looking for, then some level of active knowledge retention is already taking place.
The trick with continual learning is to democratize that knowledge. Create a culture where learning is actively encouraged. Get your team involved in identifying knowledge gaps. Take advantage of all the tools at your disposal, and put continual learning at the heart of what you do.
Take advantage of new learning technologies
One of the reasons continual learning is so important to your business is because technology is constantly changing the way business itself operates. You need to fight fire with fire.
You can harness the power of technology to keep team members abreast of the latest advances in your field, the newest systems, and the most powerful tools, all of which you need to stay competitive.
Online learning platforms are becoming a fixture in organizations all around the world. Businesses are using audio, video, and interactive software, among other things, to educate and engage team members in a meaningful way.
Your team can learn at their own pace, or maybe even quicker. Many online learning platforms use ‘gamification’ to gently encourage learning, assigning points to certain challenges and displaying them in a rankings system.
Who wouldn’t want to be top of the learning leaderboard?
Cultivate an atmosphere that encourages continual learning
‘Training’ isn’t a very appealing word. It sounds like a real slog. Chances are you’ve seen your team’s eyes glaze over at the very mention of it.
To implement a successful continual learning program, you first need to consign the ‘traditional’ notion of training to history.
Rather, you should focus on the idea that team members are developing their own capabilities. Crucially, allow them a measure of control over what those capabilities might be.
The most successful businesses are those who allow team members to be agile. They are open to new challenges and encourage collaboration across departments and projects.
Every member of your team should be able to learn something from everyone else. They then bring those fresh ideas and perspectives back to their own work.
Your job is to provide them with the platform.
Feedback, feedback, feedback
You have a pretty good idea of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, because they’re your team. Maybe you appointed them yourself. Regardless, you see them in action every day.
That makes you a reasonably good judge of their knowledge and skills. But who has a better idea about that than the team members themselves?
Communication is key to continual learning. The best way to find gaps in knowledge and areas where your organization can improve is to open up a dialogue with your team.
They’ll surprise you with their insight. That’s because the more senior you are, the more susceptible you become to ‘operational thinking’. This can cause you to forget to ask what’s happening on the ground.
As continual learning develops within your company, you should give your team the license to analyse and critique the process. Let them explore their own and other team members’ knowledge. Watch them gravitate towards areas of learning which interest them.
It’s much easier to set strategic learning goals once everybody has an idea of what everybody else knows. Individuals don’t generate success in a business; teams do.
Continual learning draws upon individual knowledge and expertise to create a pool of collective resources, for the benefit of all.