6 Ways Your Employees Will Learn On-the-Job

Here are 6 future trends that will change how employees learn on the job:

1. Learning will evolve beyond training. Under the current paradigm, the training instructor is the center of information (typically in a classroom setting) and every worker learns in the same environment. As training evolves, the focus will shift to the employee as the seeker of knowledge, with learning taking place at the moment of need. Employees will draw on many sources for their learning needs (see next item).

2. Blended learning will be redefined. Traditionally, blended learning was simply a combination of online training and classroom training. The new definition will involve using a variety of sources, including online training, classroom training, mentoring, communicating with experts, knowledge repositories, etc.

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3. Learning will move to the workplace. In the past, training often involved many disruptions of work as employees left their work space or workplace to complete it. The new scope of learning will involve only minimal time away from work combined with work-based learning and support.

4. Learning and e-learning will be less course-centric and more knowledge-centric. Instead of relying on courses alone, training will include multiple sources of knowledge, including experts, virtual communities, live events, webcasts, and information repositories to go alongside of online and classroom courses.

5. Learning strategies will adapt differently to different levels of mastery. A novice and an experienced employee have different learning needs. A novice will need a more structured training format and will benefit from classroom and online learning. An experienced employee, who may even be an expert, will benefit from an informal, on-the-job training, and will use knowledge management, collaboration, and performance support. A learning program needs to be able to accommodate these learners and everyone in between.

6. "Web 2.0" will revolutionize learning. Web 2.0 will make learning more interactive and personal.

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Self-Managed Learning: Employees and Trainers

The shift to more self-managed learning has requirements for both the employees learning and trainers.

Employees will need to:

  • Draw insight from information
  • Evaluate information quality
  • Be a competent user of the variety of learning resources
  • Check for assumptions (second order thinking)
  • Use analytical, systemic, and creative thinking processes
  • Consciously manage thier own learning
  • Extract learning from experience
  • Constructively engage in conflict
  • Help others learn

Trainers will need to:

  • Help link organization needs and learner priorities.
  • Create designs and experiences that accelerate the learning the organization needs
  • Ensure that individuals and managers have the learning capabilities and mental models they need to be full players in the learning network
  • Make accelerated learning resources accessible; create Knowledge Management systems
  • Be a guide and facilitator of the learning process

This information was gleaned from an American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) webcast led by Don Cook, Senior VP of; Paula Ketter, Editor of T&D Magazine; Pat McLagan, Chair and CEO of McLagan International and; and Marc Rosenberg of Marc Rosenberg & Associates. The webcast was from 2009.

Were these speakers spot on or way off base?