“Do it again. Play it again. Sing it again. Read it again. Write it again. Sketch it again. Rehearse it again. Run it again. Try it again. Because again is practice, and practice is improvement, and improvement only leads to perfection.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway
A Kung Fu student, asks his teacher: “Master, why does my ability not improve? I’m always defeated.”
The master, pensive and forever patient, answers: “My dear pupil, have you seen the gulls flying by the setting sun, and their wings seeming like flames?”
“Yes, my master, I have.”
“And a waterfall, spilling mightily over the stones without taking anything out of its proper place?”
“Yes, my master, I have witnessed it.”
“And the moon… when it touches the calm water to reflect all its enormous beauty?”
“Yes, my master, I have also seen this marvellous phenomenon.”
“That is the problem. You keep watching all of this instead of practicing.”
Research by K Anders Erickson indicates that to become truly world class in anything, you need to deliberately practice a specific task. But don’t miss out on an important detail here – expertise follows when you practice something deliberately. It means that you break up a task into several micro – tasks. You pick up one of the microtasks, practice it for a couple of sessions, perfect it before you move on to the next one.
To take the example of driving, a good trainer would first get you to focus only on manoeuvring the handle before you move on to managing the accelerator and brakes. The key word here is ‘deliberate practice.’
In the corporate world, it is a common phenomenon wherein employees go through an elaborate training, but there is no discernible difference in behavior post that. Or during the workshop, it seems an easy thing to do – but in the real world – the employees feel stumped.
Consider the handling of an angry customer. In the real world, an employee is in the midst of dozens of other executives, shouting through their phones. The employee would have already handled 5 angry customers before this and maybe, not even had the opportunity to take a proper break. Now you ask him to handle the next angry customer and demonstrate empathy. Real life is far away from the comforts of a training room.
One of the key reasons for failure of training in transferring to the workplace is that employees do not get an opportunity to ‘deliberately practice’ the skill in a safe environment before they could try it out in the real world. In fact, research indicates that almost 80% of what we have learned can be lost in the first 30 days. So without deliberate practice, there is not much hope for your training intervention to deliver on the expected ROI.
At FocusU Engage, we are determined not to let your training investments go to waste. We create opportunities for deliberate practice through the use of mobile based microlearning. This serves 3 main purposes:
• Practice Anytime, Anywhere: Through short engaging modules, we create engaging challenges which learners can access anytime and anywhere and complete on their mobile phones. This deploys ‘spaced repetition’ to ensure learners refresh important concepts and get an opportunity to experiment in a safe space.
• Transfer of Learning: Based on our interaction with prospective learners and managers, we design unique learning challenges which the learners are most likely to face in their roles. We encourage learners to use what they have learnt to :
– To solve problems at the workplace
– Changes his/her behaviors or responses to situations
– Make better decisions
• Cost Effective: Gone are the days when you have to spend thousands of dollars to develop an eLearning program, only to be rendered irrelevant in the next week. We use easy authoring tools to help you design practice activities most relevant to your current context.
Some of the other ways you can encourage participants to engage in deliberate practice through microlearning are:
• Go through the content at their own pace and refresh concepts from the workshop
• Participate in quizzes and assessments which test their knowledge
• Interact with others by sharing experiences and evaluating responses
• Work on a live project to apply their learnings and receive feedback
• Work on practice scenarios and receive feedback on responses
• Have a safe space where they can experiment and think without any constraints
Case Study: How an MNC embraced Agility through learning reinforcement
We worked with the Learning & Development team of the multinational beverage company to improve the competency of ‘agility’ in their projects team.
In a detailed discussion with the Business Head, we identified the following:
• The business objective was to improve the percentage or projects based on the principles of SCRUM.
• In discussion with the SMEs we identified a variety of project areas where learners could deploy agility and the challenges they face in doing it now.
Our solution employed a two – fold strategy:
• An experiential workshop wherein learners had to use the agile methodology to build an aeroplane using toy pieces. The session simulated the environment of SCRUM: including a product log, sessions for customer feedback, interaction of stakeholders and collaborating for success – sudden changes in requirements etc.
• We followed this up with a 90 – day practice window where we posted mobile microlearning challenges where employees had opportunities to apply the principles they have learnt on live projects and reflect on possible improvements in past projects. Through regular dashboards and updates, we kept the engagement level ongoing and found some wonderful applications which indicated transfer of learning.
Here are some snapshots from the mobile based challenges:
Here is what one of the participants of the program had to say about the journey:
The entire set of topics had a good coverage on the day to day activities in a corporate life. It was fun to solve the challenges and a good learning experience. Thank you.
If you are looking for a learning partner who cares deeply about creating effective and engaging learning experiences. Look no further. Give us a call today.