If you follow the hit series Top Chef, you’ll know that the judges insist their contestants stick to preparing each of their dishes in one, unique style. A chocolate mousse should only try and be a chocolate mousse; it’s not its place to show off its citrusy side or throw on a meringue hat, trying to impersonate its cousin, the lemon tart.
But at 360Learning, we disagree with this approach. We’re more followers of Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix ideology. We think ingredients can be mixed, matched, and experimented with in a myriad of ways, all yielding exciting results. After all, collaboration often leads to new pairings and breakthrough ideas, and we’re nothing if not strong supporters of collaborative efforts.
It’s with this idea in mind that we’d like to go past the standard way of presenting one of our signature features, Learning Needs. You probably know the Learning Needs feature as a tool that facilitates collaborative learning by allowing learners to request needs to help them become more efficient and engaged at work.
We’d like to expand your palette by showing you two twists on the original idea, both in the service of making your lives as L&D professionals a little easier.
Our first variation is a flavorful use of the Learning Needs feature to ensure your employees stay focused and in the flow of work, even when they come up against a skills gap.
Imagine this scenario: You're assigned a task by your manager. As you start to plan out the work, you realize you don't know some information required to complete the assignment (How do I generate this report? How do I use this software? How do I find out which days we have off?). You reach out to a peer and they also don't know where to find the information. You search several tools and information repositories, but continue to come up short.
You start to feel a little frustrated. At your next meeting with your manager, you let them know about the blocking issue and they point you in the direction needed to move forward, but you feel like you wasted so much time. This seems a pretty standard approach, but it has some limitations!
Let's reimagine that above scenario with Learning Needs activated for your group: You're assigned a task by your manager and as you start to plan out the work, you realize you don't know some information required to complete the assignment (How do I generate this report? How do I use this software? How do I find out which days we have off?).
You reach out to a peer and they also don't know where to find the information but suggest you look at the learning platform to see if a course can assist you. You search the 360Learning platform for a course, but discover that the course doesn't exist yet. You declare a Learning Need and ping your manager as a subject matter expert who can create a course with this information. Your team members upvote the need because they would also benefit from that information.
Your manager sees the Learning Need and creates a course (the average course creation time is 17 minutes, which is probably how long you spent talking about this in your synchronous meeting in the first scenario!). Your whole team now has access to relevant, correct, and timely information.
How did that resolve the above issues?
Both the learner's and author's experience is easy, impactful, and learner-centric when you enable Learning Needs for your groups. You know when your pizza has that perfect, deep dish crust. Your learners know when your organization is invested in their development. Like a handful of your favorite toppings, learners empowered to share their needs enriches the learning experience.
But, as we all know, there’s more than one way to enjoy a pizza pie.
While ad-hoc requests support learner growth in the flow of work, Learning Needs can also help you establish a process to develop training programs and achieve business goals. Here at 360Learning, we use Learning Needs to develop our quarterly training programs. Our second preparation of Learning Needs is exquisite on its own, or alongside a salad or your favorite soft drink. Please enjoy this sample of how we enable our teams to meet quarterly business objectives.
Our Sales team works hard to stay apprised of new product knowledge, and they do so supported by our Sales Enablement team using the 360Learning platform.
Sales team members can submit and upvote Learning Needs at any time. However, in general, the Sales Enablement leader prioritizes upcoming trainings. Each quarter, she assesses the Learning Needs requested by sales and also pings other team’s key stakeholders, including product, marketing, operations, legal, and leadership. The other teams review their priorities and determine what sales will need to know. Non-sales teams submit Learning Needs requests to the Sales Group in the 360Learning platform for review by the Sales Enablement lead.
Based on new features, Learning Needs requests from sales, general business needs, and high-level objectives, our Sales Enablement leader develops a roadmap of training delivery for the next quarter. She assigns project leads who outline required deliverables and deadlines for each upcoming course.
Cross-team stakeholders confirm the project delivery date from the proposed calendar and join as subject-matter experts to work on their assigned activities. Each week, sales reps access updated training. New courses take an average of 20 minutes to complete. With minimal time commitment, the sales team starts each week armed with new knowledge to share with prospects.
We prepare Learning Needs “two ways” because they flavor your L&D strategy with collaboration and transparent prioritization. It’s easy to upskill from within when you let your learners guide you. So, whether you’re team deep dish or team thin crust (or maybe you want to sample both), go ahead and activate Learning Needs for your groups, and let us know what you think in the comments!