Learning Autonomy to Synergize Knowledge & Practice in Corporate Learning

Meenalochani Kumar
Meenalochani Kumar December 16, 2020

Learning and development (L&D) is timeless with a distinct character, especially in digital times. While learning frameworks and approaches have evolved to match accelerated changes seen in organizations the fundamentals of neuroplasticity in learning paradoxically remain stable.

And, synergizing knowledge and practice in corporate learning is imminent in the current times.

So, what can truly steer organizations and individuals to learn? This question is primary to synergize knowledge and practice in corporate learning.

Autonomy of choice and certainty of learning outcomes are two important levers to energize learners to learn. Autonomy of choice for a learner instills a sense of ownership in the learner and multiple such learners can be powerful influencers to the onset of a learning culture. Pushing learning as a mandate versus providing autonomy of choice for the learner to design her curriculum with relevant inputs from internal experts can flip the way learning is adopted by employees.

Lack of certainty in learning outcomes is the biggest staller for learning investments. So, can learning application in some shape or form be circled back to businesses for an integrated outlook on the importance of upskilling, learning, knowledge and business outcomes.

Learning adoption is the first step to skill practice. Repeated skill practice and knowledge gained is usually proportional and can get skewed only when the learner carries a perception that the organization is forcing skill practice and does not consciously put in efforts to deep dive and practice skills that help her in capability development. Most learning interventions fail because of lack of opportunities to apply the learning at work. When one does have the opportunity, recall of concepts may be limited with the increase of time between learning and application opportunities.

So, how do we consciously create a cycle of learning and opportunities for application of learning consciously in the design and in the real world?

A flexible approach to learning and a framework with guardrails is effective for learning adoption. What also helps in upskilling and practice is the simplicity of content, design, access to courses, and cultural agility to promote learning application.

For practice to become a reality in the workplace, learning agendas have to be co-owned by managers and individuals. Shared ownership between businesses, functions, teams and senior stakeholders can pave the path for learning adoption as a focused outcome. Not to forget the importance of recognition of learners, managers of learners, designers, and business leaders who invest in learning and capability building can cause a shift in the way learning is perceived in organizations.

Digital learning has also seen shades of learning pills, learning on-the-go, learning in-the-flow and most importantly mindful learning. Information and data are aplenty, the ability to pick the right subset that is relevant to one’s need and synergizing knowledge from multiple pockets is a skill that needs focus. What will truly emerge is the need for mindful learning and the role of collective emotions that will play a role in learning cohorts.

One of the key areas of focus for L&D to help employees stay skill-relevant and future-ready is the learning content that is chosen to achieve the desired results. With a flurry of content providers available in the market today, a careful selection of the right provider and learning content that is aligned to your organization’s business needs is imperative.

As such, discerning and dissecting Plethora Learning to carefully curate personalized learning will tilt the ownership of learning from organizations to learners moving forward. What will also emerge powerfully in the attention era is just-in-time learning, learning nuggets, micro-mentoring, augmented reality based courses for repeatable skills and not to forget remote learning for a remote workforce in the changing landscape of the world around.