What IS a Learning Culture?

3 Legged Stool - Final


We’re not short on content. YouTube, Lynda.com, Coursera, Udemy, EduX and so much more give us excellent self-directed learning options and reasonable quality instructional content. So why are organisations dumping $150+ billion into training with such ineffective results? The real question is whether our training is actually providing effective learning.

We already have employees struggling with focus, cognitive overload, and decision fatigue, leaving only 1% of capacity available per week for targeting training. Not making the learning a part of our workforce DNA simply adds another layer to the stress, not to mention creating resentment of having even more expectations into their daily life as a result of the training.

When we honestly inspect our internal training approaches, we find that we often target learning poorly, deliver it painfully, and measure it incorrectly.

Escaping this trap requires investing in the culture around learning itself. Creating the required balance and stability is a three-legged stool of

  1. Deliberate practice of experimentation and targeted feedback,
  2. Internal expertise that can identify gaps and specific needs, and
  3. Behavioural change that measures learning through behaviour instead of learning hours.

There is a need to shift from a task-based training to habit-based learning. Even if you deliver fantastic workshops, you are still left with a single engagement that cannot possibly influence long-term behaviour. Sustained behavioural change requires fundamentally shifting how our teams perceive the role of learning in problem-solving.

Arun Pradhan helps us visualise the mindset of work being learning, rather than learning being independent of work. Why do we need habit-based learning? Because a culture of continuous learning truly increases our potential. We need to address specific problems, identify the behaviours needed, and measure behavioural change effectively. Employees want to be real contributors, which requires experiencing learning in a relevant and personalised way.

A culture of learning is NOT a robust catalogue of courses and training options from L&D. A culture of learning is NOT a pre-defined set of learning objectives that must be completed. A culture of learning is NOT making workshops more “fun” so people don’t hate them.

A culture of learning IS about learning in small batches based on need. A culture of learning IS about experimentation and targeted feedback. A culture of learning IS about behavioural change!

Let’s be deliberate. Use our people. And measure behaviour.

Written by Marian Willeke … crossposted in her personal LinkedIn profile!

Check out the Rabbit Hole Learning LinkedIn page!

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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.