At 5 AM I’m awakened by the pulsating vibration of my Fitbit. I scramble out of bed and into the bathroom to beat the backup alarm of my phone going off and waking my sleeping wife. I throw on my workout clothes and stumble my way into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. With my black elixir in hand, instead of heading out the door to the gym, I head to my home office. You see, the date was March 16th of this year, and because of the lockdown, my gym was closed indefinitely.
Ever since college, I’ve started my day with some kind of workout. Cardio machines, swimming, group fitness classes, formerly called ‘aerobics’ (I told you I’ve been doing this a while), or weight machines, I do it all. Call it an obsession, fascination, or by now, 30 years later, just a plain habit. Either way, my routine was interrupted, and I had to figure out what to do.
I find myself in my office and I sit down at the computer and begin to Google, YouTube, and even Pinterest, which, believe it or not, is more than wedding planning and ways to transform your home into one of Chip and Joanna’s farmhouse masterpieces. I had a few dumbbells, but during my search, I find all kinds of equipment and workouts that I could do in the privacy of a new garage gym!
Within a few short minutes I had a plan and I was ready to execute. I did not have to take a 2-hour training, attend a workshop, or shadow someone else who was an expert in garage gym renovations. Instead, I was able to control my own learning experience at the time and place I wanted to consume the information, and in a way that most appealed to me, who, being a visual learner, was through video and images. That being said, it begs the question, why do we learn at work, differently than we learn in our own lives?
In many organizations, Learning and Development departments still serve as ‘ticket takers’ for the organization and provide a plethora of training opportunities for their associates. However, the kind of learning they provide is not always tied to the overall business goals or objectives, nor are they designed in a way that actually appeals to how we learn and consume information in today’s technologically rich society.
Many L&D departments are almost obsessed with the desire for associates to ‘get through’ the highly polished training that they’ve created. E-Learning courses with rich animations and slick voice overs paired with ‘user engagement’ activities such as ‘drag and drop’ and ‘matching’ fill the learning landscape in many organizations. However, there are two fundamental problems here. Number one, training should never be something that someone must ‘get through’. Training should be something that associates want to do in order to become the best version of themselves performing the jobs they were hired to do. Many organizations talk about the idea of continuous improvement for their associates, but how can you do that, when the only time the associates are in the Learning Management System (LMS) is during their onboarding or their annual compliance training?