If you’ve ever tried to introduce a new initiative within your organization, for it to be truly effective, you know it will require some type of professional learning for your employees. Depending on the initiative, this may mean setting up group training sessions, or maybe a more personalized approach is needed which caters to the needs of each individual.
Whichever the case may be – here are three essential tips you should be aware of, if you want to maximize the learning experience of your employees:
1. Communicate a Common Goal
Why is the training taking place? This reason needs to be crystal clear to your employees. Is it to improve communication and teamwork, or is it to be more efficient and productive? Whatever your goals, make you clearly communicate them early-on in the professional learning process. You should also feel confident that they are easily understood. Your employees will appreciate the transparency, see the benefit of how it applies to their role, and have more motivation to be engaged learners.
2. Focus on the Zones of Intersection
You don’t need to be an expert in pedagogy to teach. The same goes for technology, you don’t need to be an expert to use it. People simply need to develop their ‘zone of intersection’, between their speciality and the technology necessary to perform their function.
For example, accounting teachers develop their zone of intersection between their speciality and a technology such as Microsoft Excel®. They need to learn how to use it, but they don’t need become experts to create financial statements. Likewise, this teacher can learn how to use Dropbox in a learning management system (LMS) to develop a zone of intersection between pedagogy and technology. The focus of your professional learning initiatives should be to develop just enough competencies to allow for growth. This way, it’s much less overwhelming for the employee and much more realistic in its scope.
3. Apply the Principles of Self-Efficacy
In the 70’s, Bandura introduced the concept of self-efficacy as a way to understand what affects personal motivation.
Herein lies the true power of a trainer. When a person feels competent, they are more motivated and more engaged in their tasks. This inevitably impacts their receptiveness to learn new things.
Here’s a few simple rules to remember when promoting self-efficacy in your employees
- Be authentic: Even though the feeling of self-efficacy is a perception, you need to be honest when providing feedback.
- A little encouragement goes a long way: A pat on the back, a few words of praise, or a small gesture can go a long way! Always celebrate the small successes.
- Start where the person is: Recognize the path they have already travelled and the competencies acquired along the way.
- If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it: If the person has found a successful way of dealing with a challenge, don’t try to fix it because you know of a better way. Instead compliment the person on his/her ability for finding solutions that suit them.
The happier your staff are, the more receptive they will be to learning! If you’re interested in learning more about modern strategies for professional development, check out this insightful whitepaper.