Activity of the month: Turning theory into practice!

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“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards a ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast”
Leonardo Da Vinci

One of our clients recently used On.Board to build a leadership program for their front-line management team. The aim of this program was to help their employees apply the “theory” learnt and put it into “practice”. This client had already invested into a leadership skills content management tool from the acclaimed Harvard Business Review called “Harvard ManageMentor”.

This tool is great because it has a variety of self-paced modules that address a full spectrum of issues employees face as managers. It includes quizzes, scenario-based questions and assessments to test the learner’s understanding. However, one problem that seemed to be consistently occurring was that although many of the employees scored highly in their assessments, they often had difficulties with applying what they learnt back in the workplace.

So the client decided they would use On.Board to build a program that could not only link out to the renowned world-class content, but also provide practice, reflection and coaching activities around it to assist in applying the knowledge and increase their confidence. Furthermore, the client also linked out to other online learning content tools such as Inkling and Elucidate, bringing all their learning assets in to one program.

For example, as a sequence of activities:

  1. Firstly learners would build their basic knowledge by being pointed to a specific module.
  2. Then they would be provided with a “risk-free” practice activity, for example by watching a scenario-based video and submitting a recording of their response for review.
  3. Their assigned manager or coach would then provide some feedback. As a result, the learner would feel more confident to practice in a real-life situation.
  4. As a next activity, they then might be asked to share their experiences and reflect on how well they felt they applied the learning.
  5. This reflection would be shared with the manager for review, and they would be prompted via the platform to meet for a one-to-one coaching session. Within this session the leaders would be able to provide more in-depth feedback and help the learner create an action plan and set of goals.

This approach really helped learners to apply the learning in the workplace, become more confident managers and ultimately improve the performance of their teams.

What are your recommendations for helping employees to apply knowledge back in to the workplace? Have you tried a similar approach? We would love to hear your experiences! 

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