Why Fast Learning is like Fast Food

Fast learning, but no long term benefits

One of the biggest challenges of HR and L&D professionals is resisting pressure from their internal clients to 'do it in a day'...in other words, to create one-day classroom events that are filled to the brim with learning outcomes and expectations.

But fast learning is like fast food: you may experience instant gratification, but certainly no long term energy. In fact, when we try to squeeze too much 'learning' into too little time, we end up giving our participants so much information that they become paralysed and can't take action or be more effective at work.

We call it the 'Bloat and Float' syndrome, as the following video illustrates beautifully:         

See what we mean?

Here are some things that you could do in order to meet both your internal client's need for a short intervention and your own need to provide a quality outcome:

  • Manage expectations: be very realistic and clear about what you can and cannot achieve within the available time for development
  • Clarify the business value: if this has not yet been done, translate the learning outcomes into business outcomes. This may even help your client to recognise the business value and possibly agree to allot more time for development
  • Focus: if possible, create homogeneous participant groups (by function, level of experience, similar responsibilities and challenges). The more the group has shared objectives and experiences, the more focused the workshop content can be, and the faster they will learn
  • Increase transfer of learning: have participants identify a real life challenge of their own prior to the event, and use the event to help them create a solution which they can then apply immediately when back at work                      
And of course, choose a provider who is experienced in balancing theory with practice, and who deeply believes in 'learning by doing'. Hint, hint.               

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