Learning Journeys are a journey into the world of new learning. They comprehensively reform the personnel and organizational development process and combine many innovative and modern learning concepts of tomorrow – today. We have also embarked on a journey to take a look behind the scenes of the “Learning Journey” format: Come with us!
The first stage of the Learning Journey of learning
Everybody who has pressed the school desk, or the lecture hall knows this: One speaks monotonously and unagitated in the style of a frontally reader and the other listeners find it difficult to follow or even keep their eyes open. The frontal lecture was gradually replaced by a seminar, a workshop or interactive training. However, although interaction and direct participation made time pass faster, a sobering realization remained: only certain competences can be imparted through such formats, they cost a lot of resources and actually only make sense if the entire group of participants starts from scratch (or another common starting point).
In times of fast-moving change and constant adaptation, it was not far from the idea to digitise these formats because of the high commitment of resources. Webinars, podcasts or virtual classroom trainings were expected to increase efficiency in learning – after all, participants no longer had to travel to get in touch with learning. Unfortunately, these concepts soon reached their limits. A lack of individual consideration, external employment, of topic transfer and technical challenges added to the already known difficulties. The problem that curricular learning is only partially effective with heterogeneous levels of knowledge was not tackled in the first place. Not to mention the sustainability of learning.
The alternative route also had its pitfalls
At the same time, the realisation developed that knowledge content and skills in particular do not have to be acquired in presence or interpersonal interaction. e-Learning was born as a virtual brother to the good old textbook. Worldwide and at any time access to the learning content, learning on demand thus. And all you need is access to the internet. Many companies invested horrendous sums to implement their own e-learning concept in their in-house Learning Management System (LMS). Of course, with excitingly prepared and as interactive and multimedia as possible content.
The problem? The laboriously created content is always obsolete and outdated after a short time. In addition, it is often not so easy for employees to find “just in time” and “tailor-made” answers to everyday questions in the e-learning tools. Changes are usually time-consuming and costly, especially if an external service provider is involved. In addition, it quickly made the rounds that knowledge competences are only part of the necessary tools for people – primarily it is also about ability (application competences) and will (attitude competences, the much-quoted mindset). And that is where e-learning has its limits.
What is a Learning Journey now?
A smart combination of the two approaches, digital and analogue learning. And this on a temporary basis, from 12 weeks to 24 months or more, depending on the topic.
The topics can range from a limited field (e.g. “communication”) to a holistic program (e.g. “leadership development”). The concept of the Learning Journey makes it possible to design different learning architectures.
Learning Journeys solve the problem of previous learning by combining the advantages of individual successful formats and principles. These are workplace-based learning journeys that provide individual and multi-method learning nuggets and at the same time enable collaboration with other learners as well as experiential learning. They take into account interindividual differences in knowledge, ability and willingness and accompany learners on their individual learning path in a maximum of self-determination. Thus, they consider fundamental motivation principles.
Guide to the next stage of the Journey of Learning
Learning journeys of the current zeitgeist combine personnel and organisational development. What starts with an individual learning path and the development of individual employees can, of course, be rolled out to the entire organisation and has an influence on the working and learning climate, cooperation and networking within the organisation and, of course, on innovation and creativity. And last but not least, the added value of the entire company.
Such a journey follows clear principles. It is subject to a closed time frame, combines several formats in a blended learning approach and is set up as a workspace learning format. Employees should no longer learn instead of working; they should rather learn at work and in their own company. However, this also means being able to learn practical applications, knowledge and certain skills on demand. Learning in itself follows thereby the 70:20:10 principle, which proceeds from the assumption that in approximately
– 70% of our learning through own experiences through challenges and tasks
– 20% of our learning through exchange and collaboration and advice from others
– and 10% of our learning takes place through classical further education and training measures.
The different learning levels can be translated to different components of Learning Journeys. Jennings and Wargnier already suggested ways to apply this in their further development of the 70:20:10 approach.
These principles apply to the learning of the individual as well as to the learning of the organisation.
How exactly does a Learning Journey look like?
Ideally, a Learning Journey starts with a “kick-off” and ends with a “final event”. After all, achievements must be “celebrated”, online or offline. Within this framework, the development path for gaining learning experience at the workplace is accompanied by Community Learning as well as on- and off-site workshops. Collaborative learning takes place throughout the learning group and in peer groups. Virtual or live. Supported by small learning assignments and the provision of user-generated content. Learning experience is also acquired through e-learning content, practical projects at the workplace or, for example, excursions. Ideally, learners can decide for themselves which nuggets they want to work on and when. The individual learning experience can optionally be reflected by process-accompanying coaching. The duration of a Journey can be individually arranged. From 12 weeks with regular sprints, as is known from “Working out Loud“, to qualification trips lasting several years.
Especially compact journeys of 12 weeks have proven their worth.
And in “real” …
In theory, this sounds like a holistic and promising approach. But what can such learning journeys look like in practice?
Here are three examples:
Leadership & Management
The “Leadership & Management Programme” is an international qualification for middle management in stationary retail in the premium segment, which addresses classical and future competencies. It is a pioneer of new learning and working, which follows the principle 70:20:10 and shapes the development of a new learning culture by means of forward-looking learning formats.
Based on a competence analysis, an individual learning path (Learner Journey) is mapped for each participant, which essentially extends over approximately 24 months. Individual learning nuggets developed by the customer for this target group are available for the development of each competence. These can be worked on independently “on demand” and the acquisition of competence is proven promptly (mini test). Learning content is processed using innovative formats. These include community learning, virtual coaching, workspace learning (e-learning, practical projects), virtual classroom training and presence workshops. The Learning Journey starts with a future conference and a development centre, is mapped via a credit point system and ends with a graduation event. Each participant then remains a member of the leadership community, which functions as a supporting pillar of the Learning Organization.
Multipliers are people who pass on knowledge to others in the company. With their help all participants of a company can be reached when it comes to “Future Fitness”. But first the multipliers must achieve “Future Readiness”.
And this is how it works, for example:
The Community Learning Platform provides participants with initial information about the program. They then take part in a three-day on-site workshop, a discovery centre to determine their individual qualification needs, receive individual feedback and complete their first learning nuggets. The learners then embark on their individual learning path, which consists of self-directed learning units flanked by virtual classroom training and, on demand, on-site workshops. At the same time, each multiplier develops its own case with a qualification unit containing innovative media and formats and iterated with the peer group. The final part is a two-day future workshop with a deep dive into innovative qualification formats and a training centre in which the individual cases are “tested”.
What Learning Journeys can do
Learning Journeys can help to transform a company into a Learning Organization. They inspire collaboration and exchange as well as cross-departmental and interdisciplinary networking. They are clearly more than highly effective learning, development and qualification measures. The implementation of Learning Journeys lays the foundation for a new learning culture within the organization. They act as a grassroots movement of knowledge sharing through collaboration and user-generated content.
This enables the entire organisation to be innovative, creative and able to connect to the challenges of the future.