Drive your Sleigh with Member Driven Learning!

Santa Claus legendThe end of 2015 is upon us, and there’s only one thing on most people’s minds at the moment: The Holidays.

So in the spirit of the festive season, I’ll keep this one short and jolly, so you can get back to decking the halls!

While families across the globe celebrate this wonderful time of year, there is plenty for you to think about in the new business year of 2016.

For once I’m not going over the finer details in the post because I’m sure that you – like me – still have at least a few last minute gifts to buy!

Instead I’ll simply direct your attention to a recent podcast from the Leading Learning Symposium.

In the near 30 minute podcast, Cheryl Ronk (CEO of the Michigan Society of Association Executives) discusses the concept of member-driven learning.

The reason I want to discuss this now is because learning innovative new practices for your business to uptake and take advantage of is significantly more actionable at this time of year.

As many of the business processes that influence how your business will organize and allocate it’s resources are undertaken at the start of the year (appraisals, yearly reviews, organizational restructuring and so on), there is no better opportunity to firmly embed a new tactic or strategy into your businesses operations.

So what is member-driven learning?

Too often do businesses dictate to their employees what and which type of training their employees require.

This isn’t productive. How can you know the optimum learning style, role requirements and personal desires of each individual person under your employment without consulting your workforce first?

Member-driven learning addresses this problem by somewhat reversing the process. Learners and delegates – or in your case, your staff – decide what they need and seek out the best solution for addressing this need via a learning solution.

Cheryl asserts that this strategy enjoys success simply because learners are more invested in the learning – everything they do is self-driven.

How can member-driven learning be encouraged?

Later in the interview, Cheryl shares her opinion on how leaders can encourage learners in the uptake of this new style of learning, stating that it’s our responsibility to provide the – as she calls it – “what”. The learner can figure out the “how”.

What this means to you is that working collaboratively with learners on their ideal career progress and development plan is all the more paramount. We have to map out with our employees the learning – and thus training – that they will require in order to reach their desired destination.

This is the “what”. But “how” they learn this is really up to them – as I alluded to earlier, who knows us better than ourselves when it comes to learning styles and the most appropriate training method for any given content type?

What do I need to get started?

Albeit in a slightly different context, Cheryl does mention some useful solutions for aiding your employees in becoming accustomed to this whole new breed of learning.

First of all, a platform – like the Third Thought online learning initiative which is used by theMichigan Society of Associated Executives (MSAE) – should be established to structure, support guide and supplement learning.

The Third Thought online learning initiative is just one example of how you can manage your workforce’s learning online; Mindflash also provide their own software in the form of an LMS.

Setting up a resource hub to facilitate lifelong learning is another solution for cultivating a sustainable culture in which your go-getter employees manage their own learning requirements.

If your employees are to manage their own learning independently then they certainly require the tools and resources to do so. And it can’t simply be one-off investments from time to time – your employees need a structure to be able to pursue their ever-changing learning requirements on an ongoing basis.

Investing in such a structure following Cheryl’s recommendations will aid your organization with talent retention, gaining industry knowledge advantages over competitors and also with securing long-term L&D ROI.

Christmas is a time to reflect and think about the New Year ahead,remember to switch off too!

Christmas is a time for family – nothing is more important than thinking about and taking care of your loved ones this Christmas, so enjoy yourself, and any business inspiration you may experience? Note it, and forget about it till the New Year.


Jordan Bradley_smallAuthor bio: Jordan Bradley works for High Speed Training (HST), a fully accredited specialist eLearning course provider based in the UK. He enjoys his responsibility of managing HST’s Hub – a blog which posts weekly insightful articles on a range of topics related to their array of online courses. Jordan spends the rest of his time running around the countryside, travelling on weekends to visit friends he wished lived closer, and fighting hard in the battle against laziness, amongst other things.

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