New learning primarily challenges those that teach today.

As the OECD Pisa-Study 2018 concludes, students are only as good as their teachers. And in this case, what applies to teaching students can also be transferred to HR Learning & Development.

Internal qualification experts such as trainers and HR developers are a decisive target group. As multipliers they are effectively building the skills of staff while acting as guides for current changes.

Our case illustrates how to transform a conventional train-the-trainer programme into a modern, forward-looking qualification approach.

Neue New Teachers, New Learning
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A premium automotive manufacturer finds itself confronted with various L&OD challenges. There is, for example, the central requirement to quickly prepare the workforce for the digital future.

Internal trainers and HR developers are experienced and well trained, but most of them still use the same methods as 20 years ago. They, themselves, have a considerable need for development when it comes to new learning.

At the same time, the outlined change creates an increasing learning pressure, requiring the timely implementation of new teachers and qualification format.

Obviously, the manufacturer is not alone in this challenge. Well-qualified trainers with experience in “future learning” are a rare find on the current market. Those that are newly recruited for this role therefore demonstrate a broad range of different skills and show a wide variety of development needs.

How “teaching” has been taught so far

Our client’s previous Train-the-Trainer programme was designed as a classic “one-size-fits-all” curriculum. Developed many years ago, it comprised several classroom modules and accompanying self-learning units in PDF format. The programme is representative for a traditional understanding of “blended learning” containing all things relevant for the qualification of this target group: brand, company, role, methodology, didactics and application.

Over the time, the programme had grown to twelve (12!) classroom days and has always been identical for each participant.

From curriculum to adaptive concept, from teacher to learning guide

The architecture for this contemporary “Train-the-Trainer” programme was influenced by two central considerations: How does a qualification concept for the future look which meets the above challenges and requirements in equal measure? And how is the role of the learning guide of the future defined?

It quickly became clear that a new version of the programme needed to be designed to adapt to individual qualification needs while considering a variety of prerequisites. It was therefore built as an adaptive qualification concept that can map individual learning paths. Content is segmented in micro-teaching units and can be accessed individually.

Of course, new learning is at the centre of meeting future qualification needs. Virtual learning modules, community learning, workspace learning and virtual learning support make up the majority of the programme. Where live training adds the highest value, classroom modules are complementing the course. Here, too, new designs and methods are used to strengthen learner’s self-efficacy.

We could also say: New Learning is learned through New Learning – by the new “trainer”. In the future, this trainer will be more of a learning companion who supports individual learning at the workplace and assists the learner in shaping his or her own learning path. This is fostered by feedback and by purposeful questions, or by individually arranged exercises.

In this way, learners develop into learning designers and co-moderators of their own qualification – and, thus, from trainer to enabler.

Qualification in tomorrow’s zeitgeist

The conception and coordination phase took place in several iteration loops with the customer and began with facing several pending decisions: Which competence model will be used and how will it be operationalized? Which resources are used to make implementation as lean as possible?

The overall concept follows the competence model of ability (transfer into application or action), knowledge and attitude (motivation/ mindset) and provides learning nuggets for the development of all competences. First, the learner explores his own learning fields in a development centre to then design his individual learner journey based on this experience.

Following the 70-20-10 approach of “Future Learning”, live workshops and small modularized knowledge bits are available virtually and on the job. Mandatory modules are combined with “on demand” offers. Throughout the programme, learners take part in community learning. Regular blogs and small tasks promote learning and exchange in different group sizes and compositions. They ensure learning transfer and enable the mutual exchange of experiences and support.

Specific skills, such as methodology and didactics, are taught in accompanying virtual classroom training sessions. With a learning guide as a sparring partner, the learner carries out an individual project enabling him to apply and test what he learned.

The good old “certification” at the end of the programme is a classroom event. It is somehow the tribute that is still “paid” to the old world. But that also makes sense – and certainly makes you proud. The event is combined with a future workshop and marks the final shift to new learning.

Because here, we are also talking about a change in learning culture …

Learners start with a virtual information phase before the actual start of the programme. This creates transparency in communication and an understanding of the new learning process. The participants get to know Community Learning right from the start.

This is the current status quo of the programme.

The first virtual tasks of the now following pre-phase make learners more familiar with this new learning format and prepare them for the live kick-off event.

Parallel to the information phase, details are currently being sketched out. Here, too, there is close coordination and iteration with the customer. So the journey has just begun.

Quite exciting.
Our customer is shaping the future – and we’re the right partner.

As a conceptionist here at TCJG the first project I accompanied had nothing to do with the innovative qualification programmes which I got to know in the past. That’s very impressive and it certainly confused me in the first place.

Due to my studies of media- and educational management and my former job as e-learning responsible at a manufacturer of machines and components I got to know the educational design of Blended Learning 2.0. I am used to editing content and enhancing it with a variety of media on a certain learning chain.

But in my first project at TCJG, I was inspired by a new approach. An exciting combination of Learning Journeys based on topic related learning chains with the option to match various modules that meet the individual learner’s needs. By this approach, the Learning Journey becomes a highly individual Learner’s Journey. The greatest advantage is that everyone learns exactly what he needs and, furthermore, he is tempted to discover additional content to qualify even more. That’s great.

The binding element is the eCoach. His task is to individually accompany and guide the learner and to ensure that he exchanges his thoughts with peers, engages in collaboration and personal development. His touchpoints with the learner are mostly virtual ones. Besides that, also meetings in person are planned in the occasion of a needs assessment, instructor-led workshops and coaching sessions.

My conceptional output for this project is to create an instructional guideline for such a learning companion. For this, roles and competencies of the eCoach are precisely described. Furthermore, we document as a team detailed coaching sessions and designs for (virtual) coaching sessions that aim to build up about 50 competencies.

A major project, which is real fun to work with.

 

A contribution by Hanna Korn:

Conceptionist and New Learning Media Specialist at TCJG

Conceptionists Profile as PDF

Blended Learning

Individuality, practical relevance, meaning – these values are often associated with the generation Y. These values are important to me – not only because I am part of this generation, but also with regard to learning strategies: I do not want to follow a strict “master plan” because it can never suit everybody – individual learning is the answer, mobile based, in small units, in exchange with colleagues and coaches, exactly when I need it.

That’s why I am a passionate advocate of the blended learning approach: Start a learning path at work on the laptop, edit the next learning nugget on my iPad at home on the couch, listen to a podcast on my iPhone during my ride back to work in the underground and afterwards quickly answer a single choice question. Within the community and during live workshops I am looking forward to exchange experiences with colleagues and coaches. I discuss best practices with colleagues and my coach gives me feedback on my performance and on my learning progress. Learning – exactly as it fits into my life.

During the 3 years of working for a language learning provider as a project manager and instructional designer, I have experienced the requirement for individualized learning methods: the need for application-oriented learning tools (Why am I doing this? In how far does that help me?) is as present as the requirement for mobile solutions (Is this exercise optimized for my iPad? Can I practice on my smartphone? Will my learning progress be synchronized across devices?). Students who exclusively learn digitally for themselves often confirm not having passed a low level of competence. I also noticed for myself: I appreciate to pursue my personalized learning path – but I am unable to go ahead without exchanging ideas within my group and getting support from my coach.

For the development of blended learning concepts, it is important that all stakeholders are involved from the beginning: not the teacher who claims for himself to know better, but the learner is in focus. With the learning path being designed dedicated to the learner’s needs and with the system being extensible, the learner is able to learn based on individual likes. The system provides continual development and includes relevant and current content.

It was very exciting to participate in TCJG’s development of this blended learning concept:
As part of the project team I created a competency-based curriculum with methodical and didactic recommendations for an international leadership development program. Hereby the following questions were elicited: What does the learner need to accomplish the goals? How to structure the learning content to fit into the (working) day? How to consider different knowledge levels and priorities? The comprehensive answer is a modular design, consisting of small, varied learning units, which together result in a useful learning path. My didactical background and my practical experiences on development of educational content and environments helped me to consider a sensible combination of joint attendance phases and digital self-learning units.

The learning paths are based on a qualification matrix, which was concluded and developed from a project team based on the employees’ competence profiles. Further exciting processes were the analysis of needs in advance, which for example included Interviews with all stakeholders, the development of a credit point system and the field test with all participants who tested the concept in an interactive workshop. High value was put on the continuous development of the project and the consideration of feedback and learnings. The benefit of an iterative approach with regular testing phases is to develop in respect of the learner’s needs and not to miss the learner’s goals. That is my role as a conceptionist at TCJG.

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