In this article, we reveal eight tips for enhancing employees’ learning skills. Organizations should consider incorporating these into their training programs for the best learning outcomes.
1. Determine Employee’s Learning Style
Determining a learner’s learning style before the training starts can help businesses teach better and employees learn better. When the teaching method matches how an employee likes to learn, they can understand and remember the material more easily.
The National Library of Medicine identifies three learning styles:
- Auditory Learning: People with an auditory learning style prefer to learn by listening. These individuals thrive in verbal learning sessions like lectures and group discussions.
Auditory learners are likely to be the most vocal learners. One of their most prominent learning habits is their tendency to rephrase what you've taught them into a question. This is their way of processing the information they’ve been taught. It also helps them exercise their critical thinking skills.
- Visual Learning: Visual learners imbibe knowledge with their eyes. These employees prefer learning methods that involve live or recorded demonstrations. In other words, they’d rather you show than tell.
When teaching these individuals, organizations should use learning strategies that involve graphs and videos. Training modules with visuals are more likely to stick in these learners’ long-term memory.
- Kinesthetic Learning: Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn using their bodies and sense of touch. They're the most hands-on individuals and require active learning strategies. These learners thrive during the practical aspects of a training session.
Your training sessions must consider the needs of each of the above learners to make their learning process smoother and encourage continuous learning.
To determine employees’ learning styles, organizations can ask them straight during the training needs assessment.
Once they know the distribution of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners in their session, they can structure their training modules in a way that balances employee needs. For example, at the end of each lecture, they can provide training materials that are a mix of audio recordings, visual printouts, and slides.
2. Highlight Important Points
During training sessions, learners may be bombarded with too much information that it becomes difficult to remember everything. To bolster learning efficiency, emphasizing the key concepts is key. With highlighting techniques like capitalization and underlining, employees can easily determine what to prioritize mastering.
But that’s not all: highlighting these important points makes them stick in a learner’s memory. This phenomenon of remembering information that stands out due to highlighting is known in psychology as the isolation effect.
Organizations can highlight important points outside training sessions as well. They can upload training materials that emphasize these key points to their own website for employees to access. It’s important, however, to use the best website for SEO hosting services to ensure the page loads quickly. Organizations wouldn’t want employees leaving – and ignoring those important training resources – just because of slow page loading speeds.
As effective as highlighting can be, it’s best used sparingly. Highlighting too many points will lead to employees having trouble separating the wheat from the chaff. The result? Although highlighting points is one of the most invaluable learning techniques, it becomes ineffective in this case.
3. Ensure Conceptual Clarity
Conceptual clarity helps learners understand the main ideas of a subject, making it easier for them to learn more and solve difficult problems. When learners get the basics right, they do better in their job and are better prepared for real-world challenges in the workplace.
Organizations should be able to clearly explain and simplify complex concepts for employees. For this, they should be able to define concepts consistently, including their essential features and boundaries. Also, they should break down each concept into their components, and analyze the relationships between existing concepts.
The reason conceptual clarity is important is because it affects employees’ ability to apply the concepts they learn during the training sessions outside of it. When they have a deep understanding of a concept, they can exercise their creative thinking and problem-solving skills as they apply it to the workplace.
Unlike rote learning, which focuses on memorizing information through repetition, conceptual clarity gives learners a “how” and a “why.” In other words, it can incentivize knowledge acquisition, since learners are able to imagine how the concept they’re learning has real-world implications. For this reason, conceptual clarity can transform passive learners into independent learners.
4. Enhance Ability to Solve Problems
The ability to solve problems can help learners apply what they learn in real life. This skill makes them better at thinking critically and finding solutions, which better prepare them for challenges in a real setting.
Whether the problem is as simple as choosing the best website builder or something more complex like software troubleshooting, problem solvers always follow a five-step process:
- Define the Problem: The first step to solving a problem is defining it clearly. That means focusing on information relevant to the problem, eliminating assumptions, and identifying a desired outcome.
- Explore Solutions: After defining the problem, problem solvers generate a list of possible options for solving it. This step involves spending time generating ideas and comparing them to one another.
- Choose the Best Solution: With a list of solutions generated, the next step is to pick the most viable one. The problem solver uses logic, critical thinking, and a process of elimination based on the merits and demerits of each solution.
- Carry Out the Solution: At this stage, the problem solver implements the solution chosen.
- Evaluate the Results: Finally, a problem solver checks to see if their chosen solution to a problem is effective and produces the desired outcome identified in step one.
Organizations should teach employees the above steps to help them develop learning skills related to problem-solving.
To help them identify the problem, they should ask open-ended questions that get employees thinking about its effects, and the constraints and opportunities involved in solving it.
During the solution exploration step, they should be encouraged to brainstorm while providing ideation and decision-making frameworks and tools like SWOT analysis and mind maps.
When learners are choosing a solution, organizations should challenge them to justify their decision using the available data. They should also encourage employees to assign roles and responsibilities when implementing their chosen solution.
As a final tip, organizations should assist employees at the evaluation stage by encouraging them to compare the actual results of their solution to the desired outcome.
5. Teach Memory Techniques
Memory techniques help learners remember more easily. So, when faced with a real challenge in the workplace, they’ll know exactly what to do and how to do it.
The good news is, there are several memorization techniques organizations can share with employees to promote retention. Some science-backed ones include:
- Chunking: Chunking is an information organization strategy that involves grouping related bits of information together. This technique can be used when explaining related concepts.
- Mnemonics: There are different types of mnemonics, but the most common ones are acronyms. For example, when teaching employees how to ensure proper goal-setting, organizations might want to use the acronym SMART – they should ensure their goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
- Writing Down Information: In a 2021 study, the University of Tokyo revealed that writing on paper can lead to higher brain activity when recollecting information later. So if organizations want employees to develop learning skills, they should encourage them to jot down the key points of training sessions on paper.
- Spaced Repetition: This memorization technique involves reviewing the information covered over a period of time until it sticks in the learners’ long-term memory.
To develop learning skills, organizations don’t have to teach just one memorization technique. It’s ideal to teach as many of them as possible and provide hands-on experience. Learners can just choose which one is the most effective for them.
6. Encourage Collaboration and Learning with Others
Collaboration doesn’t just help learners understand topics better. It also helps them work well in a team, a skill that’s critical in the workplace. A staggering 75% of employers consider teamwork and collaboration as “very important” at work.
Collaborative learning can also have a positive effect on a learner’s personal development. When learners work in teams, they can pick up soft skills like listening and empathy, which, again, are desirable skills for employers. Besides, sharing ideas and solving problems together makes learning more fun and, therefore, more effective.
Organizations can encourage a collaborative learning approach by dividing employees into groups to work on training session-related activities. Examples of such groups include:
- Study groups
- Discussion groups
- Peer editing groups
- Project groups; and
- Debate groups
For instance, if the session is about marketing or e-commerce, organizations can give a product scenario and ask each group to come up with their own strategies for marketing the product or researching and finding the right dropshipping suppliers. Then each group should be asked to present what they came up with before the others.
The aim in adopting this effective learning approach is to get employees to work together to achieve common learning goals. However, for this to be achieved, the groups need to be small enough to ensure that every member contributes. Groups of three or four are common, depending on the number of employees attending the session.
7. Try Out New Technologies
Modern tools make studying more interesting. It’s no wonder then that in the United States, for instance, students who allot more than 60 minutes per week to device use achieved better academic results.
To develop learning skills, there is a wide variety of new technologies organizations can leverage. Social media, for instance, is all the rage nowadays. Organizations can create a social media group for learners and upload all training resources there.
Alternatively, they can use tools like the Mighty Networks platform to create online communities. With online communities, organizations can do away with all the noise typically found on social media platforms. The result is that employees can concentrate better and internalize the key takeaways of each training resource uploaded. Employees can also access these digital hubs at any time of the day to have online discussions.
Gamification can also keep learners engaged. Challenge-based gamification has been found to improve students’ performances by 34.75%. Organizations can split training programs into modules that increase in complexity. Then, they can offer an Accredible digital badge for every module completed.
8. Summarize Learning
Summarizing helps employees retain the most important things they need to learn after a training session or module.
At the end of every training session, organizations should make the key takeaways of each module clear to learners. They can even put these summaries in writing and upload them to their chosen learning channel for employees to access anytime. Generative AI can help organizations who don’t have the time to write summaries.
When the pattern of ending sessions with summaries is repeated enough times, employees can also learn how to organize information in order of priority.
Upskilling employees is key to a successful organization. But for organizations to achieve the best training outcomes, employees shouldn’t just complete the training modules. They should also understand the concepts taught to them and know how to apply them in real-life situations.
For this to happen, organizations should also find ways to develop learning skills.
Enhancing employees’ learning skills can be straightforward. Organizations just need to identify their preferred learning styles and tailor the training materials accordingly. They should also highlight key points to help them focus on what’s important. Also, conceptual clarity needs to be ensured.
Employees should be encouraged to exercise their problem-solving skills and use memory techniques. Organizations shouldn’t forget to introduce collaborative learning exercises and new technologies into their sessions. Finally, there should be a summary of training modules.
With the above strategies, organizations will have employees equipped with the essential skills and knowledge required for organizational success. For more information on rewarding employees in training and education, book a platform demo to see digital badges and digital certificates in action.
This article has been written in collaboration with Matt Diggity, the founder and CEO of Diggity Marketing, The Search Initiative, Authority Builders, and LeadSpring LLC. He is also the host of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference.
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