9 Continuous Learning Best Practices For SMBs


Organizations are constantly looking for ways to innovate and adapt. Staying competitive in today’s landscape requires continuous, on-demand, learning. It is imperative to nurture a true learning culture that “supports an open mindset, encourages the search for knowledge and welcomes shared learning,” as coined by the CEB. Their research also notes that only 1 in 10 organizations practice such a culture.

It may seem intuitive to implement continuous learning but it’s harder than you might think. There are several roadblocks to consider while you’re looking at such an approach for small and mid-sized businesses with limited resources; the most common ones include unclear organizational goals, inability to foster a learning mindset in employees, and not considering the everyday pressures the employees face in performing their job roles. 

However, the benefits of continuous learning cannot be stressed enough. As per Deloitte, continuous learning organizations are 92% more likely to innovate, 46% more likely to be first to market, and are reported to experience 37% higher productivity. 

So, let’s look at how you can foster such a culture in your organization without spending a lot. 

Create a learning plan

Having a well-defined plan is the easiest way to ensure your employees are aligning with your learning objectives. You can start by having your managers identify the gaps in their teams’ operations and performance and list down objectives to work towards. Once you have objectives for teams, you can align them in line with your organizational objectives and develop a learning path for your employees. An employee must also be given the opportunity to incorporate personal learning goals in their learning path to help foster a supportive culture. 

To make this process easier, you can opt for a Learning Management System (LMS) that allows your managers to assign courses or training to their team members and has an extensive content library for learners to take up additional courses from. 

Provide quality learning resources 

Equipping your employees with proper learning resources is the most crucial aspect of facilitating a continuous learning culture in your organization. Although there’s a lot of content available for free on the internet, the quality of the courses and training programs may not be adequate. Poor quality learning resources will not only hamper your learning plans but will also discourage your employees from actively taking up courses. It is vital to keep your employees engaged with quality, industry-relevant, and trending learning materials.

Make the process easy and engaging

As for every organization, you must have employees from different educational backgrounds and technical competencies; this may impact their collective learning experience. Some employees may find it difficult to navigate a complicated interface whereas others may easily be able to take the necessary steps. Similarly, some may be keen learners whereas others may need a little encouragement and engagement prospects. This makes it essential to implement a learning solution that is easy to navigate and offers engaging learning experiences. You can look for an easy-to-use LMS with engagement features like videos, quizzes, and more. 

Facilitate continuous learning with mentorship

80% of workforce learning is reported to be through on-the-job interactions with peers and managers. If your employees are only taking up courses and are not properly evaluated, they may not be able to grasp the entire picture. It is important to have a mentorship program in place that allows employees to learn from their managers and peers. Having a mentor will help instill confidence in them and also encourage them to grow. 

Converge bottom-up and top-down learning 

One of the best examples of continuous learning is converging the bottom-up and top-down learning approaches. Unlike educational institutes, learning can flow both ways in an organization; from top-level management to executives and vice versa. You can start with a newsletter or podcast that entails both top-level management and executives sharing their experiences. The top-level management can share inputs on scaling the company and expanding of product/service portfolio, and executives can offer inputs into market conditions and customer journeys. 

Social learning 

Building a community within the organization will enable your employees to share ideas and build different perspectives based on their shared learning experiences. Giving them access to a forum will not only boost the learning culture in your company but will also help in implementing the best of ideas and practices. You can enable your employees to contribute by simply implementing an LMS that allows forum discussions and internal exchange of ideas. 

Another excellent example of continuous learning is starting a peer-coaching group on either social media or any other form of communication channel. A peer-coaching group involves forming clusters of employees on the same level in an organization which allows them to discuss their experiences and common challenges and how to troubleshoot. You can have a moderator check in on the group periodically to ensure that everything is running smoothly. 

Self-directed learning

Incorporating self-directed learning can have several benefits for your organization and employees. Since this approach allows employees to adjust their learning paths in line with their specific needs, it increases the effectiveness of the entire training procedure. Self-directed learning also facilitates deep learning and allows employees to develop specialized skills. 

Develop a two-tier feedback system

While reminding us that we are all work in progress, Bill Gates rightly said, “We all need people who give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Developing a feedback system or loop will enable you to measure the effectiveness of your learning initiatives. You can have a two-tier feedback model wherein you can take feedback from managers regarding how well the training or courses an employee has taken are being incorporated into their job roles, and from employees to understand their learner journey, course quality, and overall engagement. 

Keep scalability in mind 

As an SMB, your learning initiatives will start small. However, as your organization grows so will your learning needs. It is imperative to invest in learning resources that are scalable and efficient. Opting for an LMS that has a scalable model and offers a comprehensive learning experience is a recommended approach. 

If you’re ready to foster a continuous learning ecosystem in your organization and are looking for competent facilitation partners, check our Auzmor Learn – a leading provider in the LMS industry known for its modern and intuitive user experience, robust functionality, and advanced reporting capabilities. Click here for a FREE 30-minute consultation with our product experts! 

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