As humans, our ability to learn and create new memories is primary to our existence. Our memories or learned behavior enable our actions, understanding of words, recognize objects we see, interpret auditory signals and provides us with a sense of personal identity.
The current knowledge-based economy has pushed organizations to find ways to better utilize their human capital. With human capital being the real differentiator of any company, it is the knowledge that employees bring and the way it is applied for company processes, that matters the most.
An essential part of human capital management is providing employees with opportunities to learn, through training and professional development. But before implementing any learning process, organizations must understand that “learning does not lead to sustainability, but rather learning is sustainability.” So it’s not that training and knowledge opportunities will suddenly spark productivity, innovation, and effectiveness. Learning will be productivity, and effectiveness, and innovation. Yes, it has the power to be all that.
Because every business wants to achieve optimum results, they are all seeking for the best ways to do so. Trainiac, a leading corporate training solutions provider, states that we should start by moving backwards using Kirkpatrick’s levels of learning and training evaluation theory. Moving in that backward sense, organizations must go through the following thought process:
- In order to achieve results a change in behaviour is required. After all if one keeps going down the same road one will achieve the same outcome.
- In order to change behaviour, learning has to occur. This means that either a new way of thinking needs to be learned or an old habit or way of thinking needs to be unlearned.
- Learners need to react to the learning experience in order for learning to take place. If your people react to the learning experience and the underlying instructional design is sound, you can produce a change in behaviour, which in turn gives you the result you want. If you don’t get all of this, you get nothing. People simply smile and forget. The end.
A channel used to jump into this process is the implementation of leaning maps. According to Trainiac, “maps are large format tools that help set the context for any learning and communication activity.” They can be shared by several people while containing elements and simulations that might allow discovery. “This ensures that the learning maps become business tools that can be used to describe any issue, now and into the future.”
Put in an easy way: learning maps help employees get the message spot on.
Learning Maps can be understood as a visual representation of the business, depicting relationships within the organization and on the direct external environment. Because of this feature, a learning map supports the connections between different elements depicted in the map, while assisting them in producing new impact. “The desired outcome from using learning maps is that it generates conversations among learners in which they make connections and create meaning, new awareness and behavior. Only change that is self-determined is sustainable.”
A classic characteristic of a map is that it is directional. A Learning Map has an end goal or “destination” that needs to be achieved or reached. For example a goal of a Learning Map could be to facilitate onboarding and induction of new employees. However, a Learning Map can be non-linear. In other words a Learning Map does not necessarily follow a linear path to achieve an end goal.
Learning Maps have multiple benefits some of which include:
- Helps the employee identify where they fit within the larger organization and working environment
- Fully understand the workflow process
- Recognize and understand the business environment
- Will be able to see the business, systems and marketplace together
- Help discover the interrelatedness and context of their job – aha the big picture