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7 Ways to Transform Company Information Into Team Learning

Updated: Jul 9

Often, when it comes to learning, less is more – especially when it is in the context of our work, our company, and our already full list of priorities and expectations. Companies need to find ways to create learning opportunities that don’t just feel like more noise, more dumped information, more stuff we have no idea when or how to process. We need to create learning opportunities that feel relevant, consumable, and actionable.

In other words, we need to think about identifying and teaching key concepts the way a marketer thinks about marketing a new product. Marketers don’t - and typically can’t - tell you every feature of every option of every product or service. If they did, you would undoubtedly tune out. They don’t tell you exactly how to use it or where to use it or when to use it. They trust if you have it that you’ll figure that part out for yourself. In other words, marketers prioritize their messages to show that they understand you, your needs, and the problems you are trying to solve.


It’s really no different in effective teaching and learning inside a company. Here are a few ideas to consider:


1.    Consider your audience.

  • What do they really need to know and do? Do they see your company content as immediately relevant to their role and actionable given their current reality?

  • What do they really care about given their role (i.e. not just what would be convenient to know, or what you want them to know)?

  • What are their immediate needs and what is competing for their bandwidth when they get your file, deck, email, newsletter or otherwise?

 

2.    Identify or predict your audience’s misaligned assumptions – and counter those first.

  • Do they think they already know? If so, lead with something you know they don’t know.

  • Do they think it’s not for them? If so, lead with an example that directly relates to them and their role.

  • Do they think it’s not a priority? If so, lead with why it’s so important – not because you think it’s important but with a story of how doing it, or not, will impact something meaningful to them.

 

3.    Focus on the high-leverage concepts (i.e. don’t overwhelm with detail).

  • Don’t overlook the fundamentals and foundational information. We often assume people already know things that they either don’t or have forgotten.

  • Target, assess, and redefine big, blur words where people think they agree but have never really thought about meanings or implications of the concepts (ex: Trust, Communication, Collaboration, Engagement, Culture, Performance).

  • Show the audience they know more than they realize. Allow the audience to bring examples and detail through reflection on the high-leverage concepts rather than always pushing your own example or case studies.

 

4.    Be deliberate about medium, dose, and frequency.

  • Everything can’t be learned through Powerpoint, just like everything can’t be learned through video. What is the right medium for the concept or concepts you are trying to convey?

  • Few of us can process and learn from massive file folders, hundred-page case studies, or endless slide decks. These may be chock full of information, but it’s too much. So, we need to think our high-leverage concepts and what it takes to convey those, no more, no less.

  • Rarely, do we learn something new with only one exposure to it. How often and in how many different ways do we need to introduce a topic, talk about it, practice it, reflect on it, and so forth. This is how learning really happens.

 

5.    Get people reflecting and talking – together.

  • The high-leverage concepts are like a stone dropped in water. Prompt and listen to how the concepts ripple through the minds and experiences of the audience.

  • Use participant reflections to surface additional assumptions, disconnect on definitions, or otherwise.

  • Focus on how people’s experiences are often very common across a lot of different settings and help normalize those so we can more clearly understand them.

 

6.    Focus on action.

  • Consuming content is useless if it doesn’t lead to action. Help people identify the thing they can do tomorrow to get better.

  • Lower the risk of action. Encourage people to start where they are. Meaningful action could be as simple as a conversation or a change in their calendar or making time for personal planning.

  • Reduce the abstraction. Use their action to help them see and feel progress so they don’t get lost in big concepts or return to blur words.

 

7.    Turn learners into teachers and teachers into learners.

  • Learning shouldn’t just happen from the top down in organizations. We can and should learn from all directions. So, we must create forums and opportunities to let learners step up to be teachers.

  • Learning can happen on the fly but needs to be supported by intentional investments in time, conversations, and content. We will show we are committed to learning by prioritizing and dedicating time to do it.

  • Practicing deliberate reflection across all levels of a company enables learning to surface that can do so in any other way. We don’t learn just by being busy. We learn by stepping out of that busyness and reflecting on what is working and what we could do differently.

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