Learning Fast, Learning for Keeps

Program reinforces training, enhances employee development

albAt Advanced Business Learning, “Learning at the Speed of NOW” is not just a catch phase, it’s an imperative. The program devised by the 17-year-old company describes the urgency of learning and retaining in the business world.

“Our intent with Learning at the Speed of NOW is to educate companies and individuals on the need for targeted, reinforced and continuous learning directly applicable to the job at hand. This is a competitive advantage to companies to ensure they have ready resources equipped to do the job now,” says Tom Jenkins, CEO of Advanced Business Learning (ABL).

The speed-learning program addresses the need of businesses to train employees quickly but also in a way that results in retention of information. Research cited by ABL shows that the average training and development program results in a steady decline in the use of newly acquired skills. Only about 50% of skills are still in use three months after the typical training event.

“Many companies send their employees to training in the hopes they will come away with a new skill, behavior or knowledge. Unfortunately, what happens is the employee spends time in lengthy instructor led workshops that are generic in nature and provide little or no reinforcement back on the job when the employee tries to apply the learning. This is both a waste of time, talent and money,” Jenkins says.
ABL calls its answer to this problem the Continuous Learning System.

“The Continuous Learning System improves the performance of the participants at a minimum of 20% over training alone,” Jenkins says. “Renowned learning organizations such as Wilson Learning Worldwide have conducted multiple independent studies on the business impact of learning sustainability, or lack thereof, which continues to substantiate the need for continuous learning systems.”

The system, an inventory of tools and content designed to reinforce learning speed and retention, involves activities that can be adapted to any business training program. Jenkins cites as an example recent work the company did for the U.S. Navy recruiting command:

“We designed a reinforcement ‘gamification’ or simulation to enhance recruiters’ knowledge and interpersonal skills in an engaging, photorealistic, immersive learning environment. While interacting with potential prospects, learners were assigned missions to challenge higher order thinking skills, gain points and compete with other recruiters, all within set time limits.

“To make it fun, game elements were added such as the learner being able to ‘blow up’ the paperwork with a simulated battleship – something many of us would love to do!”

Elements of the Continuous Learning System include two vital components:

• Learning in a Box: Pre-packaged workshops focusing on “main things” topics. Conducted in staff meetings, Lunch and Learns including activities such as application of skills and tools, interactive dialogue and sharing of best practices.

• Flash Training: A small unit of instruction delivered in small segments, sometimes called “micro-learning.” This can include a five-minute, online mini-lesson designed to impart exactly the knowledge needed in a specific situation, as well as brief updates from supervisors following a break or at the beginning of a shift change.

ABL’s Continuous Learning System can be delivered in-person or digitally.

“We frequently design flash training that is mobile-ready on any device. For instance, we designed custom training for the Air Force for field use. We work with subject matter experts from the organization to develop the learning outcomes specific to the participants and then design the training to achieve the desired outcomes. At the Department of Energy, we are developing training for field inspectors to detect illegal contraband on cargo shipments.”

In addition to the U.S. Navy and Air Force, ABL’s clients in recent years have included the Federal Defense Intelligence Agency; the Bureau of Land Management; Pacific Northwest Lab; the Department of Commerce; and the State of Arizona.

What private businesses might profit from ABL’s Continuous Learning System?

“Any organization with a desire to grow, learn and develop their employees are potential clients,” Jenkins says.

To learn more about the program and its use at your business, contact Tom Jenkins, at tom@advancedbusinesslearning.com or by calling (480) 222-7507