Learning And Performance Ecosystems: 5 Things You Need To Know

Businesses and professionals in this new world will need to work with a bigger picture of “Learning and Performance Ecosystem” and drive training through multiple channels (including formal and informal learning, social learning, and performance support). This combination ensures that multiple learning solutions are available to learners, and instead of one-off trainings, the focus shifts to “learning as a continuum”.

Here are some questions we need to address to better evaluate or adopt a “Learning and Performance Ecosystem” based approach, and specifically how we can create a better learning environment within our organisation.

Q1) What is a Learning and Performance Ecosystem?

One of the ways to define Learning and Performance Ecosystem is:

“A learning and performance ecosystem enhances individual and organisational effectiveness by connecting people and supporting them with a broad range of content, processes, and technologies to drive performance”.

Q2) Why is it required?

Learning and Development professionals today face more challenging performance problems and many of these cannot be met through traditional learning strategies.

  1. As we saw in question one, “Learning and Performance Ecosystem” is people-centric in nature. It offers a framework that you can use to supplement and complement your existing learning strategy.
  2. Having finite formal training (of durations that consume about 2-5% of learners’ annual work hours) can at best create baseline proficiency. It certainly cannot lead to mastery and this is another reason why formal training must be supplemented by other forms of learning approaches that are an integral part of a “Learning and Performance Ecosystem”.
  3. It also helps mitigate the challenge of “The Forgetting Curve” that indicates that there is an exponential decline in our learning after a training session; if no reinforcement is provided. This can be addressed through Performance Support Tool (PST) intervention (alongside your formal training).
  4. Most of us are familiar with the 70/20/10 model that indicates that learning happens as follows:
    • 70% from our on-the job experiences (includes handling challenges at work, solving problems, and so on).
    • 20% from feedback and observing others (peers, boss, or role models).
    • 10% from formal training.

What this signifies is that formal training contributes to just 10% (or even lesser) of our learning. Hence, informal learning (through Performance Support Tools) and collaborative learning (through social learning or micro-learning) can play a very significant role in equipping your employees to reach the desired levels of mastery.

Q3) How can it be used practically in an organisation’s learning strategy?

We can draw inspiration from Dr. Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher’s Five Distinct Moments of Need©. According to this model, learners seek support in the “Five Moments of Need,” which are:

  1. When learning for the first time (New).
  2. When wanting to learn more (More).
  3. When trying to apply/remember (Apply).
  4. When something goes wrong (Solve).
  5. When something changes (Change).

As you will note, the first two moments of need adapt to formal training (eLearning, mLearning, classroom, or blended) and the subsequent three to just-in-time Performance Support Tools (PSTs).

You can use this model to band:

  • Formal learning: For acquisition of knowledge.
  • Informal learning: For application of knowledge.

Q4) What are the expected gains?

There are following significant advantages that will reflect as gains for your learning strategy as well creating a richer learning culture.

  1. Holistic approach.
    It brings together all elements you should plan for in your learning strategy to help people not only learn better but perform better. This would lead to effective learning and its application will create a positive impact on business.
  2. Richer learning environment.
    Extending the learning from discrete elements to “learning as a continuum” will create a richer learning environment in your organization.
  3. Improved ROI on your training budgets.
    As the focus of a “Learning and Performance Ecosystem” is on application of knowledge, this will have a direct bearing on creating a positive impact on business. This will lead to better ROI on your training investment.

Q5) What are the challenges in implementation of “Learning and Performance Ecosystem”?

Organisations often resist change and see a holistic approach like “Learning and Performance Ecosystem” as difficult to implement. Frameworks like this are often associated with terms like “difficult to apply”, “not flexible enough”, “cannot be customized”, and so on.

The reality is far from this. A “Learning and Performance Ecosystem” will add value to your current approach and provide a far more dynamic framework to deliver effective learning. More significantly, this will also equip the Learning and Development team to meet new performance challenges more effectively.

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