Inspire Learning in the Workplace

I don’t know about you but it’s rare that any mandated traditional training inspires me anymore.

Whether it’s completing annual compliance e-learning programs sitting on an LMS or being told by a manager that I have to attend an event to learn about a new service or product that may or may not be relevant to my needs, context or that helps me build new relationships to help me do my work, frankly, I’m not interested.

The words ‘mandated’ and ‘learning’ must never be in the same sentence together because they cancel each other out.

One is determined through control and direction, while the other favours autonomy, engagement and inspiration.

I know which I’d rather have.

It’s a pity that some Learning and Development teams continue to create programs from the position of control rather than propose different ways to incorporate learning within the workplace so that the critical factors of business context and relationship building is not lost.

Here are 10 ideas for how you can inspire your business teams and managers to consider employee development to occur within the workplace through social and collaborative experiences.

  1. Banish the word ‘mandatory’ from your vocabulary when speaking to your stakeholders and subject matter experts because it denotes control.
  2. Be comfortable to explore creative solutions that you may have otherwise not considered. We know that sometimes it’s easier to design courses that ‘tick a box’ but we don’t have to deploy the same when it comes to our thinking.
  3. Inspire your business to think back on their best learning experiences and what stood out for them then consider ways to incorporate these into your solution.
  4. Wow your business with a bold, exciting and memorable solution – something that they weren’t expecting from Learning and Development. You’ve got nothing to lose.
  5. Change your thinking about how your learning experience must be designed in a particular way so that it is to your LMS standards. Design for connecting people – not fitting into your technology platforms.
  6. Incorporate an experience into your program that allows for practical, engaging interactions with people both online and offline to make learning memorable and transformative.
  7. Find ways for people to learn together and share stories together.
  8. Make the learning experience part of their workflow and not separate from it.
  9. Allow for self-discovery and self-direction in the content.
  10. Respect your employees. Don’t waste their time. Make it worth their effort.
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Helen Blunden

Helen Blunden has over 24 years experience in learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in workforce social learning and collaboration, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom through networks and communities that drive collaboration, co-operation and meaning within their organisation. She uses social and informal learning through effective use of enterprise social networking and collaboration tools and platforms and is an advocate of "working out loud" on her blog.

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