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How to Align Microlearning for Holistic Workplace Training


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Investment in training for many organizations often results in a roller coaster effect: a temporary improvement in performance, followed by declines or learning plateaus. According to research published in Learning Solutions, 80% of what employees learn is forgotten within 30 days. Battling this up and down cycle has become a constant challenge for trainers. How do you replace incremental and fleeting increases in knowledge with lasting fluency that learners can call upon in real performance situations?

Holistic learning offers a solution to not only make these gains permanent, but also to give people the skills to continually improve their own performance. So stop feeding your learners, and teach them to fish instead. In this webinar you’ll learn:
- The science and psychology behind why holistic learning works
- How to design a holistic learning program, and why microlearning should be at the center
- How to teach best practices and metacognitive strategies to give learners a 360º view of a topic
- Why holistic learning saves time, money, and improves performance--permanently

On-demand webinar link:

About the presenter

Alex Khurgin
Director of Learning, Grovo

Alex Khurgin is the learning expert at Grovo, a cloud-based training platform that identifies digital skills gaps within an organization, and provides development plans to close those gaps with highly engaging, 60-second videos. Alex works closely with the product and content teams at Grovo to help implement Grovo's learner-first training method, which combines elements of holistic learning, competency-based learning, and microlearning to drive quick, meaningful, and lasting performance improvements.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at

Title: Teach Your Learners to Fish: How Holistic Learning Makes Performance Gains Stick
Partner: Training Mag
Speaker: Alex Khurgin, Director of Learning, Grovo
Date: Thursday, February 12, 2015
Time: 1:00PM ET / 10:00AM PT
Duration: 1 hour

Published in: Leadership & Management

How to Align Microlearning for Holistic Workplace Training

  1. 1. | 1 Teach Your Team to Fish How Holistic Learning Makes Performance Gains Stick
  2. 2. 2 Training Magazine Empowering the digital workforce February 12th, 2015 Connect: Learn more: (212) 924-2579
  3. 3. Question: A.  We’re not tracking or noticing any difference in performance after we train B.  There’s improved performance after training, followed by a noticeable drop off soon after C.  There’s an increase in performance after training, then a plateau and eventual decline D.  Performance always improves and stays at optimal levels well after the training period What is the duration of the performance gains you sustain after training? 3
  4. 4. Training’s Roller Coaster Effect •  Training and classroom learning results in temporary improvement in performance, almost always followed by declines or learning plateaus •  80% of learning is forgotten within 30 days1 •  90% of new skills are lost within a year2 •  Fewer than 15% successfully apply what they learn3 A feast of training sates a team but once 4
  5. 5. …Leads to a Digital Skills Gap •  The half-life of most professional skills is only 2.5 years4 •  Only 1 in 10 workers consider themselves proficient with the digital tools they use every day5 •  This is leading to a skills gap costing the economy 1.3 trillion dollars annually in lost productivity6! •  Current training methods are clearly NOT achieving the desired results ! You keep feeding your team fish, yet they’re still hungry 5
  6. 6. So, how do you make performance gains stick? 6
  7. 7. There are two approaches: Keep feeding your team ALL THE TIME OR: Build a team of FISHERMEN Let’s examine some examples that use one or both: 7
  8. 8. Learning We Know WORKS: What do these learners have in common? •  Military Basic Training •  Professional and Olympic Athletes •  Living Abroad to Learn a Language •  Method Actors 8
  9. 9. •  Military Basic Training •  Professional and Olympic Athletes •  Living Abroad to Learn a Language •  Method Actors FORMAL / STRUCTURED FORMAL / STRUCTURED INFORMAL / SELF-DIRECTED INFORMAL / SELF-DIRECTED IMMERSION! “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” –Alexander Pope Learning We Know WORKS: 9
  10. 10. Immersion is the Best Way to Learn •  Can be structured or self-directed — but should be deeply meaningful •  Realistic practice enables you to reach top performance •  The efficacy of a learning environment is tied directly to how closely it approximates reality7 •  Your learning environment primes you socially, emotionally, and physically •  The result is more than just knowledge: its wisdom / fluency “Fluency” 10
  11. 11. Our Brains are NOT Like… Our Brains ARE Like… 1.  University of Southern California Marshall School of Business "Media consumption to average 15. 5 hours a day by 2015." ScienceDaily 2013. Our Thoughts Create a Web of Associations Immersion is Like a Full-Body Workout For Your Brain Disciplined, structured practice massages every cortex in your brain, building the strength and connections of your web so you solve problems faster8 – aiding performance and retention. THEREFORE: •  Multisensory channels imprint knowledge through application9 •  This connectedness leads to enhanced memory functions •  More perspectives provides multiple pathway to a solution 11
  12. 12. FORMAL / STRUCTURED INFORMAL / SELF-DIRECTED •  Workers aren’t motivated or committed to continuous improvement •  They’re conditioned to believe they will be given training •  Self-directed learning only happens outside of a work context “Feeding the team all the time” “Building a team of fishermen” 1.  Colby 2.  The New Learning Architect,”The Opportunities & Constraints Have Changed” 201 Barriers to Immersion 12 •  Costs millions (billions?) of dollars •  Takes too long and is inefficient (athletes spend 6 days a week training for only a few minutes of game time / soldiers train for combat they may never see)
  13. 13. It’s IMPRACTICAL! And Neither Work Well: Formal/Structured Informal/Self-directed 13 It’s FANTASTICAL! Shakespeare Alexander Pope
  14. 14. There’s a Better Way 14
  15. 15. What is Holistic Learning?
  16. 16. Holistic Learning Is… A systematic approach that simulates immersion and leads to self-directed, continuous performance improvement and fluency. 16
  17. 17. An organized approach to a disorganized process What do we mean by systematic? •  Formal, wholly controlled, methodical •  Even informal learning is tracked and controlled
  18. 18. •  Mission •  Intellectual •  Physical •  Psycho-social What do we mean by simulation? By taking into account all the contexts of a performance
  19. 19. 19 It’s when you: What is Systematic, Simulated Immersion? Feed your team enough to sustain the process of them LEARNING TO FISH FOR THEMSELVES
  20. 20. How to Create Holistic Learning
  21. 21. Start with PERFORMANCE 21
  22. 22. EXAMPLES: •  Quantitative performance like “30% lead increase” •  Qualitative performance like “Better Team Communication” •  Actually catching enough fish to eat (not just learning about “fishing”) Focus not on knowledge, skills or topics, but the actual performance you desire — the results of which are only helpful if they’re continuous and repeatable. Start With The Act Learning is Not Enough PERFORMANCE: ** Learners, required to perform, are more likely to engage with the training 22
  23. 23. Then, CONTEXTUALIZE IT 23
  24. 24. Make the mission explicit, with real business context, so learners can rally around it and believe in it. If there isn’t a strong mission or motivation, reconsider your training. EXAMPLES: •  ACTORS: Desire acceptance / accolades / Academy Award •  SOLDIERS: It’s war time / life or death •  LANGUAGE LEARNERS: Survive / thrive in a foreign country •  ATHLETES: Championship / gold medal ** Learners internalize a motivation which encourages SELF-DIRECTION Have a Reason & Communicate it This is “Mission Critical” for Training MISSION: 24
  25. 25. Perspectives offer a 360° view of training. •  Not “methods” or “ways” of training; these are cognitively variant modes of engaging with the content •  Break learning into “tracks” so it’s organized in a way that it can be explored systematically and exhaustively **Content is SELF-DIRECTED (learners can go as deep as they’d like) A) Use Different Points of View “Fish” for Contexts & Perspectives INTELLECTUAL: 25
  26. 26. (How Does it): Perspectives Tackle a Subject from a Variety of Angles •  CONCEPTUAL ………………….…………...….. “Why is Evernote So Popular?” •  PRINCIPLES/BEST PRACTICES:..... “Keep Your Evernote Account Secure” •  PROCEDURES/HOW TO: …………..………. “Create a New Note Via Email” •  CONTEXTUAL/IN-PRACTICE:….“Interview with an Evernote Power User” •  METACOGNITIVE: ……………………………………“Beta Testing Evernote” INTELLECTUAL: 26
  27. 27. (How Does it): Learning “Tracks” Create and Deliver Organized Content INTELLECTUAL: 27 Content as a single serving or a school of fish…
  28. 28. HBO GO is like “Digital” Immersion INTELLECTUAL: 27
  29. 29. 24-Hour News Cycles Use Perspectives INTELLECTUAL: 29
  30. 30. •  Employ granularity: the lessons should be small, self-contained units or “holons” that function alone and as part of a larger whole •  Separate content out into “Need to Know” (general / background) from the “Point of Need / Performance Support”to eliminate “fluff” •  EXAMPLE: Lessons are like single bricks that make up a “holarchy” of a building ** Encourages SELF-DIRECTION because learners focus in order of importance: what they need to when they need to B) Design Lessons as “Holons” Break Fishing Down to its Essential Parts INTELLECTUAL: 30
  31. 31. Use Experiential Learning / Simulation It Won’t Stick if You Don’t Take a Dip… PSYCHOSOCIAL & PHYSICAL •  Use instructor-led content / blended learning •  Design the activity to be realistic and authentic •  Relate the activity to a larger task •  Use a format that makes sense for the activity •  Give the learner ownership over the task ** Injects SELF into the learning; encourages reflection and testing of one’s ideas 31
  32. 32. We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them Albert Einstein Create an Emotional Impression Who and What Was Einstein Like? PSYCHOSOCIAL & PHYSICAL 32
  33. 33. The Relevancy of Holistic Learning
  34. 34. •  The trend towards micro media and microlearning offers content in short, bite-size chunks for ease of consumption and delivery •  Cloud-based technologies allow for accessible, on-demand content, weaving training into real life and performance scenarios •  Online lessons let you learn at your own pace for a self-directed, digital immersion The Time Is NOW (Microlearning Finally Makes Holistic Learning Possible) 34
  35. 35. •  Holistic is the great equalizer: useful for a wide range of learners, experts and non-experts •  Until now, training has only serviced elite LEARNERS •  Instead, holistic learning grooms top PERFORMERS It’s For EVERYONE: With Holistic, ANYONE Can Become a Top Performer
  36. 36. Question: (answer in chat) What is a key takeaway that you will apply from today’s session? 36
  37. 37. RECAP: Holistic learning is the only thing that will work for a digital audience in a permanent way. CONGRATULATIONS: YOU’VE TAUGHT YOUR TEAM TO FISH FOR A LIFETIME OF MEALS! 37 Holistic learning is... A systematic approach that simulates immersion and leads to self- directed, continuous performance improvement and fluency.
  38. 38. 38
  39. 39. Training Magazine Empowering the digital workforce Feburary 12th, 2015 Connect: Learn more: (212) 924-2579 39
  40. 40. 1.  Via Learning Solutions, “Trends in Blended Learning : Evolution of Learning Design and Technology” 2.  Salas, Eduardo, Institute for Simulation and Training as quoted in the Wall Street Journal 3.  Brinkerhoff, R. O., Apking, A. M. (2001). High impact learning: Strategies for leveraging business results from training 4.  Deloitte Human Capital Trends, Switzerland, 2014 5.  The Harris Poll: The Digital Skills Gap, Harris Interactive Inc., May 14, 2014) 6.  Commissioned Harris Interactive Survey, 2014 (Grovo) based on average 50K salary, 21% of time wasted due to inadequate digital skills (IDC) 7.  Hritz, Connie. “Virtual reality: immersive learning simulations are more than game play. They offer many benefits both to the learners and the organization”, 2013 8.  Perdue University, Nairne, James S. “The Myth of the Encoding -Retrieval Match” 9.  Hritz, Connie. “Virtual reality: immersive learning simulations are more than game play. They offer many benefits both to the learners and the organization” 2013 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Colby Sawyer College, “Language Study Research: Cultural Immersion vs. Technology-Driven Classroom Learning” Shackleton-Jones, Nick . The Learning Elimination Team: team.html Association for Talent Development, “Q&A with Ken Spiro: Simulations and Experienced Based Learning” References and Resources