How to Make Learning Sustainable

Most people don’t think of learning as sustainable – they think of it as an event. It’s a class you attend or an online course you complete. But that thinking doesn’t connect learning to applying skills on the job.

Traditional one-and-done training has lost its credibility as sessions quickly become outdated, inaccurate, and irrelevant. Your business needs sustainable learning that delivers relevant content exactly when and where it’s needed. But how do you get there?

Sustainability Requires Maintenance

For starters, it’s crucial to create and stick to a learning sustainability plan that keeps all your content fresh. As products, workflows, applications, and goals change, content needs to be reviewed and updated continuously.

Ask yourself: Does the content develop the skills needed for ideal job performance?

While sustainable learning has to focus on relevant, high-quality training, it needs to go beyond that. It needs to give insight into how effective your operations are. If learning doesn’t meet that goal, then it’s pointless.

Plus, when you pay more attention to your learning content, you build credibility. Your team will know that their training is accurate and up to date – because it will be.

Application Leads to Updates

If learning content is old, obsolete, and not applied on the job, then it needs to be updated or retired.

Ask yourself: Does the content focus on outcomes that meet business goals?

New content and updates can be captured in two ways: reactively or proactively.

You can reactively update your content as your team submits requests or as you identify training gaps. This gives everyone the opportunity to have their voice heard and builds a community of sharing through learning.

Or you can proactively ask your team for updates with regularly scheduled process evaluations. This lets the content’s importance dictate how often it gets reviewed.

Outside Views Inspire Change

But reviews of your content shouldn’t only happen internally.

Ask yourself: What outside consultants have practical experience with similar problems?

Understanding how others solve similar problems lets you explore new ways to boost productivity and create more efficient workflows. External reviews provide the perfect opportunity to meet with your business partners and discover how you can improve together.

Purpose Drives True Sustainability

It’s time to do away with “update” training. Training sessions on new features or functions have nothing to do with applying skills to meet desired goals. When you focus on workflows and outcomes, you build learning with a purpose and that makes it truly sustainable.

When you use a role-based system built on microlearning content, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time there is a change. Just update the relevant content and the system should be smart enough to deliver it exactly where it’s needed. And that’s how you equip your team to learn sustainably.

If you don’t think of learning as sustainable, it’s time to change that.

Role-Based Learning: How Managers Nail Their Goals

For managers, being in control of an entire team’s success can be nerve-racking. It’s kind of like bungee jumping off a cliff and hoping that rope has your back – hope isn’t a tactic any manager wants to rely on.

You want to know you have the right people on the right projects at the right time. And you want to make sure every member of your team is equipped with the skills they need. Role-based learning gets you there.

With a role-based learning solution, you’ll give your team the tools and resources they need not to just do their jobs – but to excel at them. And you’ll get so much more…

For starters, you’ll know what skills really matter for each of the roles on your team. You’ll have proof of what your team knows, understand where they could improve, and discover who has hidden talents. Plus, you’ll be able to set clear, unbiased benchmarks for performance and improve communication with your team. All this means, everyone knows where they stand and what it takes to get to the next level. So, your team will want to upskill – and they’ll feel more valued with your support.

If all that wasn’t enough to sell you on role-based learning, it also saves time and money. There’s no question that businesses have to commit to employee development to keep pace with change and stay competitive. But traditional training and courses are expensive and interrupt progress. They may not focus on the skills your team needs or they could waste time on what your team already knows. That’s where the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of role-based learning wins every time.

When you choose role-based learning, you’ll make more right calls, deliver better results, and nail your goals.

I Know a Guy Who Knows a Guy…

So, you got a guy for the job? Oh, he’s great—you can rely on him to get the job done right. Been doin’ it for years.  So well, he can do it with his eyes closed. But turns out, I overheard he’s thinkin’ ‘bout retiring… 

Wait, what? He’s… he’s… RETIRING?! 

Sound familiar? That moment of panic when you realize that you’re about to lose the company’s best technician who knows everything there is to know about working with your tech in the field.  

Of course, one of your first moves is to hire an apprentice who shadows them and learns everything they can from your expert, which is great. But then, only one new recruit learns from the master.  

And, you can’t possibly afford to have all your techs shadow him. Even if they took turns, he’d probably retire before you got through the entire rotation. That’s just completely impractical.  

Before you envision your productivity figures dropping and the increased stress on your customer service team, there’s a simpler solution—content digitization. 

While your young, tech-savvy recruit is shadowing your field expert, simply have them record their training sessions on their phone. Capture your technician’s expertise. Record their best practices and step-by-step processes for routine installations as well as fixes. Let them cover each unique case scenario and explain how best to address it.  

Then, with the 4D Technologies accelerated capture process, you can take those videos and turn them into a digitized single source of truth for your entire workforce. Now, none of your employees will need to “know a guy who knows a guy” because they’ll all have access to that knowledge right at their fingertips whenever and wherever they need it. 

Top 5 Ways to Upskill

Upskilling is a bit of a buzzword right now. It makes sense, because in this age of information, work environments and procedures are constantly changing.  

If you’re a half-decent manager, you’ll champion upskilling, because it means you’ll have an agile team ready to take on the world.  

But not all upskilling is created equal. Don’t worry, though, we laid out the top five things to look out for while on the road to upskilling. 

Use an Intelligent Upskilling Platform 

Sure, YouTube or LinkedIn Learning courses can both be used for training teams. But, how much of that course content does your team already know? And how do they know what they don’t know?  

I know, this sounds like a riddle. But, if you use a platform that intelligently surfaces content specific to filling skills gaps, then there won’t be anything you or your teams don’t know. You know?   

Are You a Reader, a Listener, or a Doer? 

The good news about technology is that we have entered an era where we can accommodate all varieties of learning styles.  

It can be frustrating for visual learners to only have audio or written instruction. Kinesthetic learners might take longer to grasp concepts without practice exercises to guide them.  

Find yourself a platform that offers it all for your teams, so everyone can feel comfortable.  

Keep it Short 

How often have you looked something up on YouTube, only to be inundated by the instructor’s life story?  

Chances are, you didn’t come for the autobiography—you came for the skills. 

 Instead, try a platform that pinpoints exactly what you’re working on. This saves you time and the energy it takes to keep your eyes from sticking after you’ve rolled them so hard at an anecdote about someone’s great-aunt twice removed.  

Nurture Growth 

Offering personalized learning paths lets teams grow their careers. Happy employees, happy company.  

If you concentrate on your employee’s satisfaction, they’re less likely to try to find a different opportunity. It can take up to $4,000 to bring on a new hire, and that doesn’t even include how much time and money it takes to onboard that new employee.  

Keep your current employees and keep them growing.  

Delivered Your Way 

Learning shouldn’t impede productivity, it should enhance it.  

Need-based learning and solutions cater to individuals, providing answers they need, right when they need them. This can look like upskilling on the go, via mobile apps, or in-application performance support. 

Isn’t it time that learning came to you? 

In Short 

Upskilling done right can feel like a huge undertaking, but it’s worth it for your team and company to make sure they have a fighting chance at actually gaining new skills. Using a platform that does it all for makes the process painless.  

Microlearning Isn’t So Easy Peasy

It’s not news that microlearning is crushing today’s learning and upskilling market. But, turning bite-sized lessons into high-quality content is deceptively tricky. 

Sure, microlearning looks easy enough to create. Anyone can take a huge course and chisel it into smaller pieces, claiming that, “Now, learning is faster than ever!” But, too many folks have experienced that less-than-optimal e-learning experience. 

The Agony 

I’m talking about the slideshow presentation that was meant for in-person lectures.  

Or the course on emerging tech where half the videos are almost a decade old and are completely outdated.  

Or the lessons offer transcription, but they’re formatted as an illegible block of text.  

Heck, maybe the instructor’s mic goes in and out, and you have to strain to hear what’s going on, and when you realize what’s happening, they’re referencing a previous lesson that was accessible at one point, but is now lost to the world wide web. 

The Ecstasy 

At the root of it, great microlearning starts and ends with great content. In most cases, for microlearning to be truly successful, this content must be engineered with quality and brevity in mind from the outset. Unfortunately, you can’t just trim videos and hope for the best. 

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if each and every bite-sized lesson went through a quality checkpoint system? You would be able to rely on the same quality and consistency throughout your learning experience!  

Not only should microlessons be brief, so you can get back to what matters to you, but they should also be stand-alone. Imagine being able to mix and match lessons, without needing to know what happened in the previous lesson to progress! Just think of all the time and agony you’d save in NOT going over content you already know! 

Good microlearning creation isn’t as easy-peasy as it sounds, but nailing down an industrialized process to produce concise, standalone content using rigorous quality assurance checks sure makes it feel that way. 


Skills Vs Competencies

Have you noticed how upskilling has become a pretty big deal recently? I suspect it has to do a lot with increased focus on being happier and more productive. A person that has more skills is more likely to be better at work, which means an increase in pay, right? 

And it’s not just individuals who obsess about this kind of growth. If they’re doing their job right, management also wants their teams to upskill and be the best version of themselves. Think: The Power Rangers after they’ve morphed.  

It’s safe to say, we’re in a culture of upskilling currently. It’s all about adding new skills, growing old ones, and training yourself on skills you didn’t even know you needed.  

But, have you ever stopped to think, what happens when you gain all those skills? Do they sit like so many pennies in a piggy bank? Or are you actually putting them to use? 

This is where competencies come in.  

Let’s step back a bit, first, though, to lay it out.  

A skill is knowing how to do a task.  

A competency is knowing when to do that task, and the best way to implement it.  

Say you learned two skills recently. One is how to ride a bike and the other is how to drive a car. Both of these skills can be used for the same end, which is getting places quickly.  

Now, the big day has come, and you’re ready to get somewhere quickly. The place is a small path running along the river and the start of it is only a block from where you’re located. Competency is knowing to take the bike and not the car.  

In a flipped scenario, you may need to get across town, and only a busy highway leads there. Again, competency is knowing to take the car, not the bike.  

Competencies translate across industries. Gardeners need to know the best time to transplant their sprouts. Architects need to know when their model is ready for analysis. Baseball pitchers need to know when to toss the ball.  

When upskilling, it’s pretty important to use a platform that focuses on gaining competencies just as much as gaining skills.