Article: Winning the Learning Velocity Contest

 Andrew Collinson

Chase Kreger
Maximize Value

Article: Win the Learning Velocity Contest

The whole world is turning into a learning velocity contest. Whether you are in business, medicine, or athletics - the speed with which we learn has never been more significant. The idea that we can use last century’s learning techniques to get ahead in our modern world isn’t a possibility anymore. With that in mind, why do our talent development efforts struggle to adequately build critical skills that drive our organizations forward? Answer: We aren’t intentional about overcoming these two learning velocity gaps. First, the relevance gap, and secondly, the execution gap.

The Relevance Gap:In order to overcome the relevance gap, you need a partner who works like a journalist. Journalists are taught to operate from the outside in, and gradually move their way to the top. As a journalist, you are supposed to have loads of interviews with the people around the situation, so you can bring as much to the final interview as you can. The final interview needs to be with the most important person and in most cases, this is the C-Suite team that makes the final investment decision on talent development initiatives. But before we get to that meeting, we need to obtain insightful data to drive the conversation. In our case, this is where a digital assessment platform comes into play. High-level consultants should be using an assessment methodology to gather all the information from those with boots on the ground. In essence, this is where our partners tell us what is relevant and where they have growth opportunities. After the assessments are completed, we compile the data and use the information as the agenda for our conversation with the top-level executives. In this dialogue, we say “here’s what they see”, what do you see? And based on this data from your people, which gaps should we focus on closing? Ultimately, they make the decision on how to partner, we just use relevant data to help them make the best and most informed decision for their teams. This data-driven approach not only helps us overcome the buy-in gap, but it ensures we focus our time and energy on the most relevant and beneficial growth opportunities for this unique team.

The Execution Gap:When it comes to professional development, why don’t we apply what we’ve been taught? The answer to this question is what we call the execution gap. In order to overcome the execution gap, we must pay close attention to the locus of application. This is how the distance between where a skill is learned (the locus of acquisition) and where it is applied (the locus of application) greatly connects to the probability that our audience will put that new skill into consistent practice. When we reverse-engineer the entire training process, we’ve found it is much easier to apply a new technique if the locus of acquisition is close to the locus of application. This is not just a reference to physical proximity, but more so the gap in time between when the concept was taught and when it is initially applied in their real-world. We know that new techniques are less likely to be applied if we allow too much time and space between when an audience is taught, and when they execute. That’s exactly why our company built a digital training platform. Essentially, this on-demand learning system helps our partners ensure that the skills acquired during training are being applied. And yes, it’s true – we all need reminders. A good digital training platform will fill your ecosystem with triggers to bring the training techniques and best practices to the forefront of your mind, so all you have to do is execute. Simply stated, we must use modern technology to help our teams close the time and space gap between learning and applying.

In sum:When deciding on which corporate training team to partner with, ask your prospective partners what they are doing to address the relevance gap, and the execution gap. If they don’t have an assessment tool to help gather relevant data and if they don’t have a digital training platform to help your team learn on-the-go, then don’t expect your team to win the ongoing and ever-demanding learning velocity contest.

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