Sports and business share a crucial common denominator: competition. It’s no surprise, then, that business leaders often derive inspiration from high-performing athletes.
They push their minds and bodies to achieve peak performance and overtake the competition, just like any good business should.
Businesses themselves are not unlike bodies. Both are complex systems of interconnected parts, and they rely on executive function and synergy in order to thrive.
So, what does this have to do with an agile learning culture?
Well, another key similarity between athletes and businesses is the need for training. Athletes, especially top-performers, train in a way that is agile. But the unfortunate truth is, most businesses do not.
Let’s explain. The average business provides training that is infrequent, very long, and has little follow-up. Nobody got to the Olympics by running 400 laps once a year.
An athlete’s training never stops.
Athletic training is customized, varied, and consistent. It prioritizes speed, efficiency, and flexibility. In other words, it is agile. And that is the sort of training businesses should aspire to.
Agile training, in the business world, involves continuous training that helps employees – and organizations – quickly adapt to our tumultuous business world.
Lucky for you, you won’t have to spend hours studying history’s great athletes in order to implement an agile learning culture in your organization.
L&D experts, like ours at RTG Solutions Group, have already boiled agile learning down to a science. And today, we’re letting you in on how to incorporate it in your company.
Here’s what this article will cover:
- What is an agile learning culture?
- Core principles of an agile learning culture
- Strategies for agile learning
We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it.
WHAT IS AN AGILE LEARNING CULTURE?
An agile culture can be thought of as a continuous learning culture. It is a type of business environment where high-quality learning is central to the employee experience.
Development is constant, training is readily available to everyone, and critical thinking is encouraged. Therefore, the business operates in a constant state of self-improvement.
An agile learning culture emphasize flexibility, collaboration, and efficiency in learning. The goal is to create a workforce that is able to quickly adapt to our ever-evolving economy. And it works.
Here are some of the benefits of creating a culture of agility in learning:
- Higher employee engagement
- Better problem-solving
- Increased innovation
- Lower turnover
- Better business processes
- Little-to-no needs gap
These are just a few of the ways in which a learning culture can unlock new potential for your business.
For a closer look at the benefits of a learning culture, check out this article: What’s all the buzz about a continuous learning culture?
CORE PRINCIPLES OF AN AGILE LEARNING CULTURE
There is a big difference between a company that offers training, and a company that has a culture of learning. Most companies offer some sort of training – but the ones that achieve excellence build learning cultures.
So, how do you make the leap between offering training and fostering a learning culture? In short, learning has to seep beyond training modules and sessions. It must be present in all areas of work, and its presence must add value.
Here are some common denominators of companies with agile learning cultures:
Open to new ideas from anyone in the business
In companies with agile cultures, feedback, questions, new ideas, and solutions do not go to waste. In fact, they are encouraged and utilized to solve problems and innovate. Too often, leadership views feedback and radical ideas as a threat. But, in an agile environment, employee input is seen as a valuable resource that can transform the business.
Learning is not a one-size fits all approach
A crucial principle of agile learning is that training must be adaptable and flexible. Ideally, training must be uniquely tailored for each employee, according to their goals and needs. Relevant training doesn’t just give you more bang for your buck – it enables each employee to reach their maximum potential and meet their career goals.
Strong vertical and cross-functional communication
Communication is vital to the transfer of ideas and information in an organization. Therefore, the strength of a company’s culture hinges on its communication channels. Strong communication naturally facilitates learning and collaborative problem-solving – one of the primary goals of agile learning. Conversely, communication breakdowns create major obstacles and prevent teams from putting their best foot forward.
Strategic use of technology
New technology is not a cure-all. However, when implemented strategically, technology can be transformative. And, in an agile learning environment, carefully integrated technology creates new possibilities for training. That, in turn, creates new possibilities for what your employees can accomplish within your business.
The gold-standard in training technology is the Learning Management System (LMS). You can learn more about that here.
STRATEGIES FOR AGILE LEARNING
Agile learning prioritizes training that is flexible, collaborative, and efficient. And thanks to the boom in remote learning, there are more tools and techniques designed to provide agile learning experiences than ever before.
Again, technology won’t create an agile culture for you. But, once you have the right culture and processes in place, the right technology can dial up the agility and open up a new world of learning.
These are some of the most effective tools for agile learning in 2022 and beyond:
Microlearning is a quick-win strategy that provides constant learning and reinforcement. The idea behind it is that people are more likely to remember new information if it’s delivered in bite-size pieces, rather than large chunks. Microlearning is a great addition to any agile training program, as it’s flexible, easy-access, adaptable, and cost-effective.
Microlearning is changing the game. We wrote a whole blog about how to implement it in your training program, which you can access here.
Are phones a distraction in your workplace? What if they could be the key to achieving your agile learning culture? With mobile training, smartphones become your employees’ greatest development asset. With adults in America spending more time than ever on our phones, it makes sense to incorporate mobile learning into your training strategy. Bonus points if you combine mobile training with microlearning; you’ll have a hard time finding a more flexible training duo than that!
Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)
In case you haven’t heard, AR and VR are taking the business world by storm. It’s being used for sales, marketing, and even training. While you don’t need all the bells and whistles to deliver outstanding training, immersive learning experiences like AR/VR can cement learning more quickly and thoroughly. In an agile environment, quick yet quality learning is key.
Gamification has been around for quite some time, but it’s gained newfound popularity in recent years. Gamification involves adding game-like qualities to non-gaming activities, such as training. It can be as simple as adding badges and leaderboards to your training program, or as complex as a customized video game that teaches safety protocols. No matter which way you choose to go, gamification has a strong track record of increasing engagement. And engagement is crucial to long-term learning.
Need a crash-course on gamification? We’ve got you covered. Click here to learn more.
We talked about the importance of customized learning experiences in agile workplaces. Adaptive learning is the most advanced way to deliver unique training that is perfectly suited to meet each employee’s needs. It uses AI technology to modify the training content in real-time, based on the employee’s skills and knowledge. In other words, the training materials and goals self-adjust to provide the most targeted training possible. It doesn’t get more agile than that.
An agile learning culture is the key to thriving in an unpredictable economy. it requires long-term commitment to embedding learning into every nook and cranny of your business. It may be hard work, but once a culture of agile learning is achieved, your business will operate like a self-correcting super-computer.
Are you ready to embrace a future of agility and success in your organization? Contact us today to speak with our learning culture specialists!