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Jon Kennard


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Four easy ways to encourage a learning culture at work


For all the conferences and events we go to, often the overriding message we come away is the same, and has been the same for a long time, at least since the crash of 2007/8. Training budgets are one of the first things to get cut when money is tight. There’s no reason to believe this will change either - so we need to do what we can with what we’ve got, while we can. Corner cutting, hacks, ‘it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission’-type stuff, you know the drill.

Training is a subsidiary of learning. Training is only one way that we learn. They are not equivalent. But a learning culture is paramount within business, whatever your industry is. It fosters curiosity, it joins up departments, it grows your employees’ brains. Literally. So here are four tips you can put to work pretty easily.

Become the learning curator. Show people all the free resources available

Yes I mean MOOCs, yes I mean wikis, and yes I mean twitter chats. As learning professionals we may talk about this stuff but it’s still new to a hell of a lot of people. you have to assume that people don’t know these things exist, until they physically drag you outside and tell you to shut up about MOOCs.

Start a company-wide daily email bulletin

It doesn’t have to be long and onerous. A fat-free actionable one-liner with a link to something interesting, which could be nothing more than an inspirational quote. And I don’t mean the sort of epigram that sails past you on the motorway at 70mph on someone’s back windscreen, I mean the philosophies of a learning pioneer, distilled into emailable form. Here’s a wordy example.

The amount of detailed information which an individual has at his command and his theoretical elaborations of the same are mutually dependent; they grow in and through each other. - Hermann Ebbinghaus

Tie it to employee KPIs

The hardest one of all, but nevertheless, digging a bit deeper into employees’ targets for the year ahead and pointing out how a few simple learning techniques (e.g. Pomodorospaced practicediffuse thinking) could cut time to capability, market readiness and all that.

Promote case studies of inspiring business leaders

They don’t have to be philosophers, they don’t have to be modern, and they don’t have to be Richard Branson. But people respond to inspiring stories, and business leaders at the top of their game got there in part by learning, be it self-directed, informal or otherwise.

Author Profile Picture
Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

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