Learning Agility: What Is It and Why Your Workforce Needs It
A workforce’s ability to grow and adapt to changing times is necessary to remain competitive. Employees must always be learning and adjusting to industry disruptions — especially in the post-COVID era.
In a crisis like COVID-19, agile learning offers a competitive advantage. Learning agility and the techniques that enable it, ensure that employees can develop the skills they need now. Speed and flexibility to change are central to agile learning and can be built into an employee’s routine, leading to a continuous training program.
What learning agility in the workplace looks like
Break content creation into smaller chunks through constant iteration and feedback to ensure learning responds to rapid change. This approach enables employees to apply newly learned skills more quickly and rapidly impact business outcomes.
How quickly and effectively your workforce acquires new skills is directly related to whether your company can respond to a rapidly changing world. Reinventing learning and development (L&D) to provide agile learning means rethinking your culture, the kind of learning resources you provide, the way you deliver learning, and how you grow and develop your employees.
When working to develop a new agile learning program, it’s important to keep these principles in mind:
- Speed: Set up the program quickly, then evolve frequently. Content must be on-demand and in microlearning segments that can be combined over time into a complete training regimen for a given skill set.
- Scale: To scale a learning program rapidly requires understanding how and when to reach your learners. Instructors online won’t be able to reach everyone who needs training within the workplace’s window of time.
- Adaptability: The learning program must be able to change direction quickly as the reset strategy and renewal pathways change, and associated new skills needs emerge.
5 approaches for agile learning development
Modern learning technologies have made agile learning a reality in the last few years. Now you can mobilize a small team to enable agile remote learning. With these five agile learning approaches, you can guide executive leaders and their teams on how to enable effective learning:
- Give permission to learn: Some employees will dive headfirst into learning, others may resist. Leaders should continually communicate to employees that they not only have explicit permission but are strongly encouraged to take time to learn and allow time for them to do so.
- Share microlearning opportunities: Many employees who are great candidates for agile learning may be struggling with difficult personal circumstances during COVID-19. Publicize learning opportunities. Emphasize how they connect to the business and let employees lean into the opportunity at their own pace.
- Use blended learning techniques: Effective agile learning blends microlearning, coaching, and on-the-job experience. Promote learning through coaching and role shadowing by pairing learners with experienced practitioners.
- Encourage social learning: Social learning enables employees and leaders to share their experiences, as well as support and teach one another. Experienced practitioners should be incentivized to be part of a community support system.
- Repurpose existing training programs: L&D teams can redesign coursework into short modules for remote, on-demand learning. Also, many businesses have corporate agreements with learning providers that go underused. Search these platforms for learning assets that align with your company’s needs and your learners’ goals.
Stay in the learning mindset
Fostering a culture of agile learning is an investment that benefits the employee and the business, making both stronger and more successful. To explore more ways to build an agile learning workplace download 5 Ways to Build an Agile Learning Environment.