Creating a culture of innovation, even when it has observable advantages, is difficult. It requires a number of years from the time of its inception to the time it is widely imbibed. Therefore, a common problem for many individuals and organizations is how to effectively absorb innovation and sustain it.
Fortunately, eLearning today has the capability to address this need in certain important ways. In this blogpost, I will discuss the five ways in which a custom online learning helps create a culture of innovation in individuals and organizations.
1. Showing the relative advantage
Can you make the learners believe that the new system or idea is better? This can be done with statistics, but statistics talk to the conscious verbal thinking part of their brain. So how can you make this information talk to the automatic emotional visceral part of their brain also? You can show them the advantages by:
• Telling a compelling story
• Translating statistics into tangibles
• Allowing learners to work through a few cases using the old system, and then assessing those same cases using the new system. They can then report back on the advantages.
2. Showing it as more compatible
Are there compatibility issues that need to be addressed? A way to improve compatibility is to engage the learners on this task. Allow them to have a look at the new system or idea and let them decide if it is incompatible. Then make them brainstorm to find out ways to make it more compatible with the existing process.
3. Reducing the complexity
Can you do anything to reduce complexity? You can simplify complexity by:
• First, lower the learners’ feeling of complexity by allowing them ample practice opportunities until the system or idea starts to feel more natural to them.
• Second, reduce the complexity. For example, if the new process adds a separate document, can it be incorporated with the existing documents? If it’s a situation where the learners have to take notes, can some of the content be converted into a checklist to avoid cognitive overload?
4. Making the results observable
Can the learners see it being used? Are there pilot programs that the learners can observe? Can you engage opinion leaders, the people whom everybody follows? Make them apply the new system or idea first, and allow others to watch them and and observe progress.
5. Letting learners try it out
Can the learners to try it out for themselves? You can build some practice scenarios that the learners can work through to see how the new system or idea works. After they have had a chance to try it out, you can clear out any issues the learners might have.
Innovations that are seen by individuals as having more advantage, compatibility, freedom of trial in a relatively safe environment, observable systems and results in less complexity will be adopted more rapidly and foster a culture of sustainable innovation in both individuals and organizations. With eLearning as a medium, you and your organization can successfully create a sustainable culture of innovation.
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