by Conrad Gottfredson, Ph.D., RwE
Everyone in the Training and Development profession needs to answer this vital question: “learning is the means to what end?” My colleague Bob Mosher and I answered this question early on in our careers and that answer changed our future. It pushed us to rethink our solutions to extend the reach of learning into the workflow.
For us, the intent of all organizational learning is to enable and sustain effective job performance in ever-changing work environments in a way that accelerates growth, amplifies productivity, and minimizes interruption of the work employees are hired to do.
Obviously, for job performance to be effective it must be efficient, safe (both physically and emotionally), and in harmony with the values and mission of the organization.
This shift to focusing first on enabling effective job performance—ahead of formal training considerations—occurred in 1984. Its immediate impact was the realization that when it comes to learning, there are 5 Moments of Need.
- Lose confidence and motivation.
- Fall prey to the forgetting curve and often fail quietly.
- Become overwhelmed in their thinking processes.
- Develop dependence on other workers.
- Develop inefficient work habits.
- Halved time to competency and a diminished productivity gap between less experienced employees and high performers.
- Reduced waste related to work stoppage, support costs, transaction costs, and delayed learning opportunities.
- Decreased critical error rates.
- Increased workplace trust, confidence, self-efficacy, and effectiveness.
- Closed skill gaps (done in real time, while working).
- Increased work proficiency.
- Reduced time to changed performance.
- A global consulting firm transformed its onboarding program into a blended formal and workflow learning solution. Its traditional training approach required 30 days of intensive onboarding with significant oversight of new hires. On average, it took 18 months for them to become proficient in their work. By implementing a blended training and workflow learning solution, powered by a Digital Coach, their classroom training time was reduced to 20 days and their time to proficiency was reduced to 5 months. In addition, as new hires demonstrated significantly greater productivity, they moved through the three phases of Train, Transfer, and Sustain with less oversight.
- A global manufacturing organization piloted a workflow learning solution at one of its plants, resulting in 20% faster change-over time of machines and 3% improved operational effectiveness (on 50 million bottles, which meant 1.5 million additional bottles and 8% less unplanned downtime). Now, the company is in the process of rolling out the Digital Coach to plants worldwide.