The Future of Learning-Part One (This is a series of blogs on how we learn)

August 31, 2011

In 2007, companies spent $127 BILLION dollars on training.  What is the purpose of training?  Either to impart a particular technical skill or to create a change in behavior. Technical training success is easy to gauge.  You either can perform the skill or not.  Unfortunately, most of the training designed to create behavioral change fails to accomplish this goal.

Did you know that up to 90% of learning and 100% of the application of that learning takes place outside of the classroom?  Think about that for a minute.  That explains the “three ring binder” syndrome.  We go to a training session and are excited about the many changes we will make.  Then, we get back to our work and our daily lives, and that enthusiasm falls by the wayside.  So we put the binder a shelf.  A year goes by until we need the binder.  So we take the contents and inserts out of the binder and throw them away.  Does this sound familiar? We’ve all done it.

The future of learning will be self paced with ample opportunities to access the learning whenever and whenever you want.  You will be able to create connections that will allow you to learn at your own pace and utilize the learning techniques that work for you.  We will have learning via social networks, via our phones, and via the internet.  Learning will take place in groups and everyone will help each other to learn.  Learners will have accountability built into the learning and mentors to help them to understand and apply all of that great information out there.  That is why all of our programs are a year in duration.  We have found that the changes in behavior due to the application of the learning BEGINS around the four to five month mark.  And this learning environment is filled with continual follow-up, daily application, daily reflection, ample accountability, and is reinforced continually by informal learning methods such as weekly emails, blogs, chat rooms, videos, and other media.

It comes as no surprise that we don’t ever create any behavioral changes in a weekend seminar!  With this continuous learning model, these behavioral changes are pretty solid by the seven to eight month mark, and we give it a few more months just to be sure and to let any slower paced folks catch up.  And it doesn’t end there.  We have reunions each year and check in with some evaluations followed by a 1/2 day session where we check in with what has changed, where are you going now, and what will you need to get there.  The participants then create new plans going forward for that next year.  It is vital to check in because people will revert back to old behaviors, especially during stressful times.  And can you think of any more stressful times than now?

Check out the following videos that illustrate these points.

TED Talk by Salman Kahn:


Also, take a look at our take on traditional learning and how we have changed that paradigm with the Total Leadership Program: