Many people believe that learning stops once a person graduates from high school or college. Every October, people are encouraged to celebrate adult learners during National Learning & Development Month (NLD Month.) If you’re an employer, this information should hold special significance with you.
According to Forbes, employee dissatisfaction due to a lack of training and development is a key reason why good employees quit. If you suspect that some of your employees have left for the same reason, take heart. Here are ways to foster a learning culture at your workplace.
According to the eLearning Industry website, adult learners have specific traits that make them different from child learners. On the whole, adult learners want to learn something practical. In the workplace, this means they need to learn something that impacts their daily work or help them advance. Employees should learn what the benefit will be from what they are learning. For example, a videographer who’s asked to learn Adobe After Effects, should be taught about the special effects they can create with that program.
It’s also important to remember that adults wrestle with a lot of responsibilities. When creating a training and development program for the workplace, employers make the lessons flexible and relevant. This might include integrating social media learning or instructional games. The best instructional designers also allow adult learners to learn from their mistakes.
Finally, whatever instruction adults are given, it should be in small chunks. This method of training works with the brain’s learning capacity instead of against. Pushing too much new information all at once causes cognitive overload.
If career training and development is such a critical factor in keeping employees, why don’t more employers do it? A lack of time is a primary reason why more time isn’t devoted to helping employees reach their potentials. Yet, as the Forbes article points out, it is human nature to make time for a person’s most important activities.
Sometimes obstacles like corporate bureaucracy can get in the way. Aside from companies not wanting to spend the money for training, many programs are too hard to implement. These training systems sound nice in theory, but leave something lacking in practice. Often, they’re difficult for already overworked managers to put in place. Again, one of the ways around this issue is to keep the adult learner in mind. Even the most gifted learners do better if the information is presented in smaller chunks that are easy to absorb.
Companies that embrace employee training also create a work place that promotes constant learning. This approach to the work environment actually encourages closer employee relationships. As employees become better trained, they can pass their knowledge on to other employees.
These companies also end up with employees who know what to do when the pressure is on. Many jobs by nature are high stress. Employees who are properly trained and who regularly get to use their new skills are in a position of readiness when things turn difficult.
For managers trying to promote a better workplace, National Learning & Development Month offers a good “excuse.” Most people think of formal classroom training when they think of job training. But, as the NLD Month website points out, learning can be watching TED Talks or hosting business related book clubs. It can also be playing structural video games or attending online classes. Fortunately, today’s technology has made training adults easier than ever.
Adult learners count as the most eager learners around. They learn because they want to grow. They’re self-directed, though appreciate guidance and support. Once trained, they have more job satisfaction and are more likely to contribute to a culture of growth. To sum it up, adult learning is both personally and professionally rewarding for all involved.