Like many Americans, your morning routine probably includes coffee and some sort of bakery treat. The next time you take a bite of your favorite pastry, I want you to think about the steep learning curve of a pastry chef. It’s a profession that requires technical training and apprenticeship, as well as continuing education. It takes repeated application to get it right. Just knowing what types of ingredients are needed to make baked goods, confections and desserts isn’t enough. Simply learning how to combine ingredients using a variety of recipes is an effort in futility. Pastry chefs must spend time perfecting their craft — numerous hours of applying the knowledge they’ve learned to convert recipes into sweet delicacies. Only when consistent mastery is achieved are they able to deliver business value.
According to research by Brandon Hall Group, when organizations can show a link between learning and performance, they see an improvement in performance 95 percent of the time. Much like pastry chefs, your employees need to foster knowledge throughout their careers. It’s the path to true impact.
Training Is for Yesterday’s Requirements.
The traditional LMS was good at delivering training and solving for challenges like skills and compliance requirements (e.g., sanitation and safety). But there are huge differences among training, learning and knowledge that can more dramatically benefit employees and their companies.
Training is giving information and knowledge to someone verbally, in writing, through demonstrations or using another method. It is, quite simply, instruction.
Learning Is for Today.
Learning, on the other hand, is absorbing information – engaging with it in a way that increases skills and abilities and then using that information in a variety of contexts. In the case of the pastry chef, it could be attending a mobile seminar on how to scientifically break down a pomegranate or learning how to infuse new herbs into familiar recipes. Think of learning as gaining information that keeps you fresh and covers what you need to know now.
Knowledge Is Forever.
Having knowledge requires a significant next step. It is less about acquiring or absorbing information and more about actually retaining it and being able to apply it almost instinctively to achieve desired results (e.g., more plated desserts in less time). Merriam-Webster defines knowledge as involving understanding, comprehension and mastery. It requires acquiring, sustaining, growing, sharing and applying information.
Knowledge happens when you invite employees to share and absorb information so that they can then wield it to achieve results, even in new or unexpected situations. Then, you can truly help employees make a greater impact on the organization. Remember, we are working in a knowledge economy.
Fostering an appreciation of lifelong learning among employees — and then delivering learning to them effectively — helps companies answer an age-old business question: How can we improve every day?
The traditional LMS is limited in fostering knowledge due to two critical shortcomings: First, it isn’t based on this mindset of learning and knowledge. Second, it’s too narrow and often focused on the more limited and limiting goals of training. If training is the ingredients, learning is the recipe, and knowledge is the croissant.
Aligning L&D goals with business goals is the best way to develop a learning strategy. Today’s most ardent and strategic-thinking learning leaders are knowledge-seekers who value the personal and business outcomes that learning and knowledge can deliver. The outcome of learning needs to be performance and not simply learning itself.