Ongoing learning is essential to any businesses overall strategy. It gives employees a fire in their belly, they'll feel valued having the opportunity to grow their skillset and grow within the company.
We know budgets can be tight, however, and there may not be enough money to properly invest in training for all your people.
How can you be sure the initiative you're spending on is going to get results?
Here are some great low-cost learning initiatives (some of them are even FREE) that you can take advantage of within your organisation today!
1. Self-directed learning
Self-directed programs give the learner a sense of control and that gives a better acquisition. Scientific research has shown it influences cognitive processes, such as attention and memory.
It keeps employees from feeling like mindless drones being ordered to learn. The most important criteria are simple - the choice must be theirs.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t give deadlines for learning modules to be completed. We think that’s incredibly important but scheduling training time becomes less and less possible. With a cloud-based learning program, your employees can learn when and where they like and in their own time!
Implementing self-directed learning pathways also helps highlight actively disengaged workers and allows you to focus your attention their way!
Create Employee Development Plans
Hold sessions to assist employees in making their own development plans.
These should include their personal mission statements, their short-term and long-term career goals, their current skills gaps and plans to close these gaps.
2. Establish a peer-mentoring program
The most valuable asset in your company is the people. From the newest hire to the founding executive, each employee brings talents and knowledge that you can tap into.
Some of the best trainers are already in your back pocket: your current workforce. Set up a mentoring program to access and share their wisdom. Pair employees knowledgeable in a subject with others who need to improve their skills. For example, a seasoned manager who knows about project management could mentor an employee taking on more complex projects.
Do you have employees that design and build video games in their spare time?
Maybe they’d like to help develop a training program that uses gamification (as long as you compensate them for their time!). Is your CEO an exceptional leader, widely recognised in the industry?
Tap them for a training session on how to solve problems and overcome obstacles. When you start looking, you may be shocked to uncover the variety of skills and understandings employees have.
Do a little sleuthing and find out more about your employees’ interests, hobbies and expertise. You might uncover employees with valuable skills they can teach to others. A respected senior executive could teach a seminar about leadership, or your IT expert could lead a workshop on a new software program recently implemented.
3. Training process gamification
Game-based learning and gamification are both trying to solve a problem, motivate, and promote learning using game-based thinking and techniques.
Gamification involves turning the learning process, as a whole, into a game by applying game principles (e.g. point scoring, achievement badges, rules of play) to it in order to motivate and engage learners.
Failure is a source of feedback and learning, collaboration is necessary, and learning and assessment are tightly integrated.
Game-based learning (GBL) involves using a game as part of the learning process.
GBL is aimed at teaching a discrete skill or specific learning outcome, rather than being an overarching training philosophy.
It is an effective way to teach new concepts.
We do this with our customised training modules, hosted on a cloud-based LMS, which have learning activities within the training modules to help break up videos and keep engagement levels high.
Turning elements of a training process into a game or challenge can serve as a fun, memorable way to educate employees and allow them to better retain information.
In fact, any activity that teaches information in a fun context can be a very effective training tool.
Not to mention, low-cost.
4. Utilise training videos
Teaching through visual online-based modules is what we do at RedSeed and we do it well!
Why not film your monthly meeting and host it on a cloud-based LMS?
This allows everyone to receive the same great knowledge and watch when it best suits them?
Recordings can also act as an on-demand refresher for those that were at the meeting.
5. Supplement online training with face-to-face coaching
Using a mix of short, easily-digestible online learning courses along with individual follow-up discussions can accelerate the path to productivity for new starters and permanent employees.
We do this by harnessing the power of your businesses managers and assistant managers – having them lead from the top and coach trainees at the end of each learning module.
Trainees are encouraged to demonstrate their newly learned skills with the guidance of their manager who has already made their way through the RedSeed program and been trained as a coach.
The benefits include real-time direct feedback, knowledge transfer and gives the trainee an individual learning experience. The mix of video-based online training modules that participants can work through at their own pace and in-store social coaching are the perfect combination.
There are tons of ways you can engage and upskill your team, these are just our top five picks.
What are your favourite free or low-cost training initiatives?