Somewhere between grade school and the real world, “fun” took a back seat in the learning process. Stories are no longer told around a magic carpet, catchy songs are no longer sung to remember important information, and engaging games and exciting rewards have vanished from lesson plans.
As we age, learning becomes a much more serious and structured event, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, having fun can improve learning retention and recall – regardless of the learner’s age. It’s amazing how a simple story, game or role-play session can improve knowledge retention for adult learners.
Informal learning accounts for a large portion of how employees consume information and apply learning to their work. Whether gaining tips from a colleague or watching a quick video online, informal learning occurs throughout our organizations every day. It’s the organic nature of this learning that makes it engaging and entertaining. The challenge for many organizations surrounds how to document, harness and leverage informal knowledge for the benefit of the company.
This challenge only grows more complicated when considering the essential skills necessary for the future of work. Research reports by LinkedIn Learning and the World Economic Forum reveal that creativity is one of the most critical skills that employees will need in order to navigate the future workplace. As technology continues to transform business and take an increasingly active role in streamlining business practices, human skills like creativity become more essential.
“We need people who are not just very narrowly trained in their discipline, but we need people who can think outside the box and can think critically and get creative,” according to Rebecca Winthrop of Brookings Institution in the “New Skills Now” report by Accenture.
Creativity is a process of discovery that requires innovative, unstructured thinking. It’s not a skill that can be developed with a one-and-done training solution. So how can learning and development (L&D) teams help employees tap into their innate creativity through informal learning? Here are a few things to consider:
Celebrating Learning Moments
Learning can occur in the most unlikely places – from the breakroom to the walk to the car at the end of the workday. However, oftentimes, no one hears about it. These learning moments get buried among typical day-to-day activities. Finding ways to share and celebrate these moments can spark inspiration in other employees and build a strong learning culture that embraces and encourages the learning process.
Prioritizing Quiet Time
Today’s employees are busy jumping from meeting to meeting and project to project, leaving little time to pause and reflect. People need time to reflect on their experiences in order to truly learn and improve. These moments of solitude can breed innovative solutions to troubleshoot recurring problems or devise new alternatives to processes and procedures. Helping employees find time to brainstorm and think more deeply about their work can have amazing advantages.
Making Time for Team Building Activities
Organizing team building activities provides employees the opportunity to interact with coworkers in a casual, relaxed setting. Structured activities like happy hours, book clubs, sporting events or other social outings can improve employee morale while also enhancing communication and collaboration skills. Having casual conversations can strengthen employee relationships that will lead to more productive meetings in the future.
Making Learning Fun Again
Orchestrating fun learning activities for the business may sound more like a job description for a party planner than a training professional, but it’s quickly becoming a crucial part of the L&D professional’s role. By making corporate learning fun, L&D professionals can transform business as usual and kick-start innovation that will lead to more creative problem-solving and cutting-edge solutions.