What Is a Learning Organization?

Learning Organization Image

In today’s economy, it’s important for organizations to support learning. Without doing so, they risk losing market share or even going out of business due to increased competition or by being disrupted in the way that streaming video services such as Netflix disrupted the brick-and-mortar videotape rental business model of companies like Blockbuster.

While all or most organizations try to learn and use the results of that learning to adapt, some organizations do this better than others. Those at the “good” end of the spectrum, who use learning well, may be known as learning organizations.

In this article, we’ll talk more about learning organization theory, learning organizations, and the characteristics of a learning organization.

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Your LMS is NOT a Learning Strategy

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A learning management system (LMS) is a great tool for compliance and workforce learning.

But it’s just that. It’s a tool. It’s not a silver bullet, it won’t address every learning challenge your organization faces.

Use it well, and you’ll get lots of benefits. We’ll review some of those for you below.

But don’t think that getting an LMS is the same as having a learning strategy. Because your organization needs to develop, implement, and maintain a learning organization–and an LMS can be a tool that helps your organization act our your learning strategy.

Continue reading to learn more about LMSs and their role in your organizational learning strategy.

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What Is a Learning Ecosystem?

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Have you heard the phrase learning ecosystem and wondered what it means? Or did you learn about it just now and is it leaving you scratching your head?

Not to worry. We’ll provide a simple and quick introduction to the concept of a learning ecosystem in this article. It’s an important idea, and even if you didn’t know the term before today, you may well find you’ve already set up a learning ecosystem at work, or at least parts of one.

Read on to learn more about learning ecosystems.

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Reaching Peak Job Performance with Deliberate Practice

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We like fun as much as the next workplace performance blog, but the truth is sometimes you’ve got to work hard to learn, excel, and become a master at something.

We touched on this recently in our blog post on desirable difficulties, a term used for a group of counter-intuitive learning strategies that make learning a little harder and slower at first but that increase long-term retention and application on the job in the long term. And we’re going to be discussing desirable difficulties and more thoughts related to how hard or fun learning should be in an upcoming interview with learning research professional Patti Shank that you’ll see here soon.

And in this article, we’re going to continue that focus on the hard work involved in learning, and in particular in evidence-based research into how exactly experts in a field become experts. Hint: if you guessed it involved hard work, you’re right.

In particular, we’re going to focus on a concept called deliberate practice, which research shows is a difficult but reliable way to attain mastery in a field. If you’re involved in learning and development at your workplace, this is important information for you to know because you can use deliberate practice to help employees at your organization more rapidly improve their performance on the path to expertise.

This article is based on the book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

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Desirable Difficulties: Unexpected, Evidence-Based Ways to Make Training More Effective

Desirable Difficulties and Learning Image

Many people are looking for the simple, fast way to improve learning programs at work (and therefore improve the performance of employees, managers, and organizations as a whole). That’s understandable, but the problem is that we don’t necessarily know how to reach these goals.

When we consider the best way to improve learning programs and increase workplace performance, a whole range of considerations come to mind. In this article, we’ll only discuss two, although those two will present plenty of insights.

The first is that much of what we think we know about learning isn’t true, much of what we do isn’t conducive to long-term learning, application on the job, and performance improvement, and we’re not good judges of our own learning.

The second is that there are some proven learning techniques that we know work (because there’s evidence proving they work) and in some cases, these proven techniques are a little bit counter-intuitive. Collectively, these counter-intuitively effective learning techniques are sometimes called desirable difficulties (a term first coined by learning and memory expert Robert Bjork and made increasingly popular in the book Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, and Mark McDaniel).

In this article, we’ll spend a little time reviewing some of our mistaken ideas about learning and then we’ll introduce to you some of those desirable difficulties.

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Disruptive Technologies and the Future of Learning & Development

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As you know, there are many new technologies available now or coming soon that may influence learning and development in different ways. So many that it’s a little hard to keep track of them all, not to mention have an understanding of what they are and just exactly what influences they may have on workforce learning and development.

And of course, as often happens when a new technology comes about, it’s also easy to get a little over-excited and think this is the long-awaited, massive game-changer that will completely change learning and development forever, bringing with it all the solutions to all the problems and challenges we face.

To help us get a better understanding of all these new technologies, to see how we might use them in learning and development, and to see which may have some type of “disruptive” effect in workforce training, we’ve asked Dr. Stella Lee, a learning professional with a ton of experience studying technologies for workforce L&D, to share some of what she knows with us.

Before we begin, two quick points: First, we’d like to thank Dr. Lee for sharing her time, knowledge, and experiences with us. And second, if you’re the kind of person who’d rather watch and listen to the interview than read the transcription, just scroll on down to the bottom of this article to watch the video version.

And with that said, let’s start learning about disruptive technologies and their use in learning and development from Dr. Lee.

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Benefits of a Cloud-Based LMS

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If you’re trying to find the right learning management system (LMS) solution for your workplace, you might be wondering if you should have your LMS installed on your company’s network or if you should get a cloud-based LMS.

Or perhaps you haven’t gotten quite that far, and you didn’t know you could get a cloud-based LMS. Or maybe you’re not even sure what the cloud is or why you’d want a cloud-based LMS.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you’ll appreciate this article, in which we tell you what you need to know about cloud-based learning management systems (LMS).

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How to Develop an Effective Paper Manufacturing Training Program: Free Downloadable Guide

Paper Manufacturing Training Basics Guide

Effective training has always been important in paper manufacturing, and that may be even more true today as a generation of older, highly skilled employees retire and new generations of smart and highly motivated workers without the same experience enter the workforce. All while economic realities call for making production increasingly efficient.

To help you optimize the training program at your paper manufacturing facility, we’ve developed this guide that explains a lot of the basics of training design, development, delivery, and evaluation in a paper manufacturing facility.

Here’s what our Paper Manufacturing Basics Training Guide covers:

  • Matching training to business goals
  • Identifying job roles, competencies, and tasks
  • Task analysis
  • Learner analysis
  • Learning objectives
  • Assessments
  • Design & development of training materials
  • Training implementation
  • Training evaluation & continuous improvement

If you really want to put your paper manufacturing training program into high gear, download this free guide plus our free guide to online paper manufacturing training.

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On-the-Job Training (OJT): An Intro

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On-the-job training, also commonly known as OJT, is a time-tested, popular, and effective workforce training solution. In fact, as we’ll discuss later in this article, it’s probably the single most commonly used form of training in workplaces. OJT is also sometimes known as direct instruction.

OJT comes in different forms, as you’ll learn below. It can be more or less successful depending on the several factors, including how it’s designed and the participants. We’ll cover that below, too. And it can make up different percentages of an employee’s overall workforce learning & development experience. Yep, we’ll touch on that below.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into on-the-job training (OJT), explaining what it is, why it’s popular, why workplaces should use it, and how to use it so that it’s most effective in terms of helping workers develop skills they’ll need to perform their jobs effectively and contribute to the overall success of the company they work for.

If you know of us as a producer of online training courses for workforce training, you may be surprised we’re writing about OJT. But we strongly believe OJT is an important part of an overall blended learning solution for workforce training, and that’s why our learning management system (LMS) is designed to help administer not only online learning but also OJT and other types of training, such as instructor-led classroom training.

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Story-Based Training and Scenario-Based Training: An Interview with Anna Sabramowicz

Storytelling, Scenarios, and Training Image

Note: If you’d prefer to listen/watch this discussion, there’s a recorded video at the bottom.

Today’s an exciting day because we got superstar-rock star eLearning developer Anna Sabramowicz of eLearner Engaged to sit and talk with us about using storytelling and scenarios to create more engaging, inspiring, motivating learning events.

Many of you already know that Anna is famous for creating the Broken Coworker eLearning course and winning an Articulate Storyline Guru Contest Award for that course.

In this interview, she’s going to tell us how she got started using storytelling and scenarios in training, tell us why we should consider doing the same in some of our own training materials, and give us some tips for creating and telling good stories and setting up good scenarios for learning.

We’d really like to thank Anna for taking the time to talk with us and to share all her expertise in storytelling, scenarios, and training, and for giving all the people who read this article some simple tips for doing the same themselves as well as for inspiring us to do so. We’ve included more information about how to follow Anna at the bottom of this article.

We hope all the readers out there try to add some story-based and scenario-based training into their overall workforce training program as part of a blended learning solution that uses other kind of training, too. Give it a shot–it will be fun

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Evidence-Based Training: Learning Maximizers & Learning Myths (An Interview with Dr. Will Thalheimer)

In this article, the continuation of our series of interviews with noted learning researcher Dr. Will Thalheimer, we’re going to discuss evidence-based training methods and learning myths with no supporting evidence.

The focus on evidence-based training methods is central to Dr. Thalheimer’s career and work, and it’s been the central focus of our earlier articles with him, which looked at smile sheets, spaced learning, and elearning effectiveness.

In this article, you’ll read about three three models for applying evidence-based training, about some learning methods that many think are proven and effective despite a lack of evidence supporting that, and about the importance of fighting the good fight to identify and use learning methods that truly support the learner.

And since this is the final article in the four-article series, we’d like to issue a big thank you to Dr. Thalheimer for his time and knowledge, both of which have been greatly appreciated. Don’t forget to check out his new model for learning evaluation, which he finished while we were writing this series. Maybe he’ll be nice enough to come back and discuss that with us in the future.

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Evidence-Based Training: Is eLearning More or Less Effective than Classroom Training? (An Interview with Dr. Will Thalheimer)

Question for you: what’s more effective in aiding employee learning–elearning courses or classroom training?

We asked the noted learning expert Dr. Will Thalheimer to answer that question. And presenting information from his Does eLearning Work? white paper and metastudy, the simple answer he gave was: classroom training < elearning < blended learning solutions.

(If it’s been a while since you last attended math class, that means classroom training is less effective than elearning, which is in turn less effective than blended learning solutions that use both classroom training and elearning.)

But….there’s much more to the answer than that. And in fact, that simple presentation of the answer isn’t just incomplete, it’s misleading.

So we encourage you to read this interview with Dr. Thalheimer to learn more about the effectiveness of elearning and classroom training, and to learn more about how to make both more effective.

If you’ve been reading along lately, you know we’ve also published interviews with Dr. Thalheimer on the topics of smile sheets and spaced learning.

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