​Embed learning and witness change to happen

4th January 2019

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Completing the final phase of the 5E instructional model with EMBED (5E: Engage, Explain, Experiment, Explore and Embed).

Understanding and being open to change to generate a new outlook or ways of doing things is the primary aim of learning. It’s vital that learning is firmly rooted among learners, otherwise, training sessions will miss their purpose as featured in a 2016 study by the Harvard Business Review.

“Corporations are victims of the great training robbery. American companies spend enormous amounts of money on employee training and education – $160 billion in the United States and close to $356 billion globally in 2015 alone – but they are not getting a good return on their investment. For the most part, the learning doesn’t lead to better organizational performance, because people soon revert to their old ways of doing things.” (Harvard Business Review, October 2016).

Make sure learners successfully embed learning

So how can we assess learners’ understanding and abilities along with new behaviors in their work practices? Is this even possible, given that we ascribe our own meaning to learning, derived from a complete mix of our previous experience and the way we perceive ourselves?

It is not possible to predict what people will embed when learning at their workplace. However, it is better this way because people cannot be programmed like machines! But as we have witnessed, it is possible to facilitate involvement in learning, understanding and sustainability.

The design of the training session plays a pivotal role in the learning transfer and the quality of coordination in the broadest sense: communication, explanation, teaching, support, and so on.

For new behaviors to be properly applied in the workplace, several actions should fall into place:

  • at individual level, new schemas* can be produced, so that the information is remembered over the long-term
  • at group level, so that the capabilities learned can be transformed into skills in work situations.

 Long-term memory: what neuroscience says

“Understanding a piece of information is not enough in order to memorise it.”Source: Medjad, Gil, Lacroix. Neurolearning. Eyrolles 2017.

To facilitate long-term memorisation, an actual strategy must be implemented.

During training, we should create meaningful links and reactivate memory traces. Repetition and problem solving by trial and error are indispensable for long-term memorisation.

The idea is to shift from semantic memory (where you remember understanding and meaning) to a procedural memory (where the schema* is completely integrated, so you don’t need to think about it anymore). Experts, for example, have procedural memories. Shifting from one type of memory to the other happens gradually as memory traces are consolidated through repetition.

“The relatively low rate of implementing the transfer of knowledge on the ground is, in part, due to repetition disruption at too early a stage, or perhaps even no repetition at all.” Source: Medjad, Gil, Lacroix. Neurolearning. Eyrolles 2017.

Perfectly integrating a new schema* of action is great. It is like learning how to drive perfectly only to find yourself rather ineffective when you’re in a country where nobody respects the highway code!

We require a systematic approach to ensure that the knowledge from training is properly embedded. From the outset, the programme needs to integrate the way the transposition may occur in the learner’s ecosystem, which is especially the case when the behavioral aspect of the skills targeted is significant.

*no action needed

 CEGOS Asia Pacific. 2019


Author:

Sandy Hernandez, Client Solutions Director, Cegos Asia Pacific

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