When we think of agility we often think of being able to move and think quickly and easily. This is often exactly what is expected of us in our jobs. New systems, new technologies, and just new ways of doing things keep businesses competitive in the market. In fact, 61% of organizations experience three or more major changes every year. This constant state of change requires employees to keep up. Employees have to be able to learn about these changes and implement them at a faster pace. All this change requires agility, and to be able to support learning agility, companies need to start creating an agile learning culture.
Building A Culture Of Learning Agility
If you already have an active learning culture established and are ready to adjust to change, then you are in the minority. Only 17% of companies consider themselves highly effective at managing change. And only 30% have change and learning teams to support employees through the change process.
For you, creating an agile learning culture may not be much of a problem. You probably already do some of the things listed below. But if you have no learning culture, then it might be a little more difficult. Hopefully, these tips will help get you started.
1. Creating A Vision
When looking to create any learning culture, including an agile learning culture, leaders need to be on board and help create a vision. A Human Capital Institute survey from 2015 found that 74% of companies wanted to create a learning culture. Those who succeeded at doing that did so by incorporated learning, growth, challenge, agility, risk-taking, and mistake-making as a positive aspect of the culture they envisioned.
This vision and these qualities need to be incorporated into how the company communicates and interacts with outside organizations, employees, and potential employees. Agile learning needs to have a place in all areas of the organization and at all levels of the organization.
2. Supporting Peer Learning
Peer learning doesn’t usually occur via trainers at an institute but from peer experts. If you have employees with specialized skills, you can ask them to train other employees. You can also use videos and other technologies to learn from peers at other companies or even from peers based in other countries.
These practices make learning more flexible, enabling you to look internally for trainers instead of relying on outside people. It also encourages a culture of learning as the company shows that it values people who have skills and want to teach others.
3. Making Space For Teams
Many companies are learning that employees learn better when they learn together. Setting up team projects with certain tasks can help team members learn new skills and also learn from each other. They also form stronger working relationships in the process.
These relationships can pay off as employees will be more comfortable reaching out to each other when they need help on certain job tasks. Team learning can transform into peer learning.
4. Learning Continuously
Many employees, especially Millennials and Generation Z, feel that it is necessary to be involved in lifelong, continuous learning. In recent years, over 35 million workers have participated in MOOCs, like Coursera and edX, per year.
Support the agile, in-the-moment learning styles of younger employees by supporting the use of MOOCs or incorporating MOOC-like elements into their own training programs.
5. Shrinking The Amount Of Learning
Whether employees work remotely or they work at an office, they often need to learn something right at a certain moment. They need an answer to a problem right then. If they do not have any peers to ask, they have to find the answer somewhere else. For many people, that is with videos and text online.
The other factor is that people need information quickly and they need to be able to put it into practice within a short amount of time. Microlearning is a great way to make this happen as it is a chunk of information packed into 5-10 minutes. Employees can find an answer and move through their task within 15 minutes. And they have learned something new!
6. Developing New Skills
On-demand learning allows employees to gain skills right when they need them. They should not have to wait until the next day or even hours to find the information they need to solve a problem. Using technology and a Learning Management System, companies can help guide employees to the information they need. They can also help by curating up-to-date information about a variety of topics.
7. Personalizing The Learning Environment
Employees lose interest in learning if they are forced to learn something they already know or that has no interest to them. By personalizing learning, employees can get exactly the right kind of learning. Usually, this happens with the use of a Learning Management System and analytics to provide employees information that is at the correct level and communicated in the most helpful manner.
8. Taking Learning Everywhere
The next big wave in learning is mobile. When a company makes their learning platform mobile, the send a message to their employees that learning can take place anywhere, at any time.
Most employees want to learn on a mobile device and expect apps and websites to be optimized for their device. Mobile learning can incorporate other technologies such as social media, videos, and cloud computing to make the learning experience the best it can be on the mobile device.
9. Relaxing Into Learning
Some of the most effective learning is outside the usual realm of what we think of as learning. Most learning is informal. It happens all the time, from watching other people, exploring the world, and just talking to others about various topics. When companies capture the essence of informal learning and make learning a part of the everyday lives of employees, they are creating an agile learning culture.
As companies grow and employees work to keep up in this constantly changing environment, encouraging agility by creating an agile learning culture can be the perfect remedy to uncertainty and unpredictability.