Building the Bridge – How to support asynchronous learning

In my last post we talked about why leaders should be engaged in asynchronous learning. This post talks about the next step – how we can support asynchronous learning.

Technology-enabled learning is not an alternative to the classroom. It is not an either or situation.

There are a lot of things to consider when developing an asynchronous training programme. First and foremost, it is important to remember that technology-enabled learning is not an alternative to the classroom. It is not an either or situation. Ideally, the two complement each other. Technology can support what happens in the classroom and vice versa.

This comes back to the situation discussed in our previous post – when the best learning from an event often comes not from the speakers themselves, but from the informal discussions had with peers during the coffee break about what the speakers said. It is hard for a speaker to hit everyone’s needs in a presentation or speech, but the event can spark really good, deep conversations and ideas.

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The beauty of asynchronous learning is that people can take away what they need. On a collaborative, asyncronous platform learners can discuss content and resources, gain unexpected insights and swap ideas. As their context and needs change they can revisit that content, but also review others reflections and rekindle related discussions. In order for this to happen, the training must be set up in a way that facilitates and encourages collaboration, knowledge sharing and ongoing learning. Learner focused technology can make this a whole lot easier, but the mindset must also be right. A modern training strategy must encompass both strands – the right tech and the right mindset.

When designing a training programme, ensure there is the ability and space for reflection and discussion

Technology can make training so much more personal and targeted to individual needs. It can really engage learners, getting them to delve into the issues that matter to them. When designing a training programme, ensure there is the ability and space for reflection and discussion. This is particularly important if the topic is a theoretical one so that people can relate the learning to their own situation, their own challenges and experiences. It is in that dialogue that theory meets reality and that is when deep learning happens.

The best way to approach any modern day learning provision is to think creatively about what tools and techniques will achieve the best training results. Don’t just go for the tried and tested option. Nor the latest, whizziest tech in the market. Think about what you need and what will best deliver it. Where will technology deliver the desired results? What classroom elements will deliver results? How can the two be combined and designed so as to give leaders and organisations what they want and need?

It is crucial not to fall into the trap of thinking that the main benefit of technology in training is that it is a cheaper alternative to the classroom. That is not the right approach to take. Instead, think about how technology, how asynchronous learning will benefit the individual and the organisation. Then harness that potential.

One of the frustrations felt by those engaged in synchronous learning is that the really valuable stuff does not necessarily come up at the right time. There are nuggets of good information and knowledge on the social banter, but if it doesn’t happen at a time when a person needs it, then it is lost.

With asynchronous learning, however, the learning is already there and can be built upon. This chimes well with the modern need for on demand training – learning what is needed, when it is needed, how it is needed.

At the end of the day, that is what it is all about.

NB: This is the third blog in a series on how to modernise leadership development. To find out more simply click here

About the author – Olaug Nørsterud Gardener

Olaug is the cofounder of Noddlepod, a community platform for learning, leadership and change. Noddlepod sets out to redefine collaboration and the role of learning in organisations – connecting people in valuable ways online, to produce results offline.

Specialties: • Leadership • Talent management • Knowledge Sharing • Competency Mapping • Graduate and trainee programs • Mentoring and learning networks • Performance Management

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