Before we get into the what’s and how’s of a learning culture, you might want to know why you should even care.
Here’s why: according to the online newspaper, City AM, the current skills shortage is costing UK businesses a total of £4.4bn annually… and that’s only the UK.
Roughly ⅔ of UK employers just cannot find people with the skills needed. The £4.4bn is being spent on recruitment searches, better salaries to keep the employees they do have (so they don’t get lured away), and temporary staff to try to fill in the gaps.
However, this is only a short term “bandage”. The real “treatment” is establishing not only a learning culture but a new culture of learning.
What is a learning culture or cultures of learning?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) April 2020 report (which is totally worth a skim/scan in its entirety) describes it as the way in which learning is fused into an organization.
Note the word “fused”. I have chosen this word on purpose. Items which are fused together are not easily separated. And if they are separated, there is usually damage to one or more of the parts. That is because it is critical that fused parts stay together, so the entire item can work excellently.
In organizational terms, learning is anything which promotes the future skill set required by the company. This could be training on new machines, role-playing to improve customer service, or drilling to remember new laws and standards.
How to create/establish a learning culture?
The most important key to establishing a culture of learning is practice not theory. In other words, more action and less talk.
Research supports this methodology. Situation cognition is a proven theory which states that as social beings, humans learn while doing. This “doing” can be in the real world or the virtual world.
It follows then, that once the needed skills have been identified, actual training programs must be developed and put into place. Participation in these programs need to be mandatory…for everyone.
For cultures of learning to be effective, the organizational leaders must be on board 100%. Not only do the leaders need to support their employees’ learning, they must also model the ethic by learning themselves.
It is not a complicated process. Most likely, your learning organization knows exactly for which skills your employees need training. You just don’t have training in place which answers these needs.
Which tools do you need?
Learning Culture Tool #1: An attitude of innovation
Studies show that a key factor in an organization’s long-term success is innovation.
So, when establishing a new culture for learning, you need to build something which is future forward.
This brings us to tool #2.
Learning Culture Tool #2: A Learning Management System (LMS)
An LMS is an organized system which teaches/trains, tracks the students’ learning, administers evaluation, and reports on the progress.
The old school LMS were the teachers themselves They did it all.
Today, there are software applications which handle all these tasks…and some that teachers just can’t do. Let’s talk more about these important differences.
How your LMS can help to establish a learning culture
Obviously, an LMS has teaching modules. Yet, so do teachers. What are the real advantages of an LMS when creating a learning culture?
Think: technology. An LMS can make excellent use of the best features technology has to offer. Here are three examples.
|Device choice = flexibility||Automation = freedom||Computing power = data|
|Old school—learning required a classroom with seats and desks.||Old school—teaching required a live teacher. So, learners needed to be near the teacher at the required place, date, and time.||Old school—educators did the best they could, but data was usually limited to grades and averages.|
|With an LMS, learning can be on a variety of digital devices, including the phone: the #1 digital device worldwide.||With an LMS, courses can be stored in a library, to provide on-demand, “any place any time” learning.||With an LMS, extended analytics do “super human” tasks such as monitoring app usage and tracking course performance.|
This brings us back to what we said at the start:
The real “treatment” is establishing not only a learning culture but a new culture of learning.
Human teaching definitely has a place in any culture of learning. However, the best information we have today indicates that live, human teaching should be one feature, not the entire package.
Today’s learner needs today’s LMS: a tech-based, online, curated system which includes live elements.
The good news is that the cost of an LMS is usually far less than the cost of employees who don’t have the skills you need.
Creating your new learning culture is just a click away.