Knowledge sharing vital component of a well-designed learning experience


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A well-designed learning experience should include the opportunity to share and gain knowledge from colleagues, even when they are geographically dispersed.

This is according to Lars Hyland, chief learning officer at learning platform provider Totara, who believes that employees should be able to collaborate with others in a less formal manner in order demonstrate their new capabilities, in addition to participating in a more structured learning programme.

“We’re always learning in our everyday experiences – we take feedback from other people, we put things into practice – and if you’re intentional in reflecting on that, which is a really key part of the learning process, then that’s how you’ll learn effectively,” he said.

“The traditional sheep-dip approach of taking people out of their everyday work, doing a training course and putting them back into the workplace, has always been dysfunctional. A well-designed learning experience has always involved the opportunity to put that learning into practice and collaborate with others.

“Informal learning has always been there – it has just been ignored when learning budgets are allocated.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has given organisations the opportunity to rethink all aspects of their operations, from where and how they work to how best to develop employees’ skills, while many employees have considered what motivates them at work and what they value from a role.

Hyland said many employees are motivated by the opportunity to build their skills and experience; recognising that an organisation’s values mirror their own; and the opportunity to carry out their role and develop their skills autonomously. These need to be considered by L&D teams.

This week, Totara launched the Totara Talent Experience Platform, a suite that combines a LMS – Totara Learn – with a new learning collaboration platform called Totara Engage, and a performance management system called Totara Perform.

Totara Engage allows employees to develop ‘playlists’ of learning content they have sourced themselves and share them with their colleagues. Managers can also recommend that employees join ‘collaboration workspaces’ on various topics in order to develop their skills further in a social and informal manner.

Totara Learn provides more structured learning content, while Totara Perform brings performance management tools including annual reviews, 360-degree feedback and appraisals together.

“The platform offers up some fresh opportunities to coordinate and align those areas,” said Hyland. “Often in some organisations there are different people who work on those areas within an HR department, but this allows them to collaborate and coordinate more effectively.”

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