Author: Professor Robert Brinkerhoff
Everybody knows that training is supposed to be a process, not an event. We also know that training on its own doesn’t hit the mark … it should have “impact”… it should drive performance improvement… “70:20:10” should be respected since informal learning on the job matters – a lot… social learning is powerful and popular… managers and participants should be engaged together… training should be shorter… and digitalized.
It is relatively easy to tweak our current L&D offerings to respond to one or maybe even two of these new impact-enhancing elements, such as breaking a multi-day workshop into two parts, and adding some on-the-job applications in between session. But, incorporating many of the performance improving aspects into our L&D intervention designs is a challenge – a challenge that takes a good deal of design expertise and energy.
Designing a process where the design of a training initiative combines all the things needed to create high performance is another thing entirely from designing a traditional course.
We call this new challenge High Performance Learning Journeys (HPLJ) design.
- “Performance”, because the focus is on improving on-job performance, not just “learning”.
- “High Performance” because we are after sustained performance improvement that consistently produces results the organization needs to execute its strategy, not just an occasional application of a new skill.
- “Journey” because it stretches time boundaries over weeks and more typically months.
- “Learning” because we know that true learning requires multiple cycles of acquiring new knowledge and skill, followed by application try-outs, followed by reflection and feedback.
The research that underlies High Performance Learning Journeys is based on my extensive hands-on encounters with training participants and their managers for over 40 years – determining what is actually working, and what is not, in getting the desired impact out of training programs. HPLJ is a way to put together all that stuff we know makes a difference into a practical and effective way of working that is scalable and doesn’t break your back.
We have been working for several years with the HPLJ process, we’ve studied and evaluated it to be sure that it works and to get the kinks out of it. (And there are indeed kinks, and few easy solutions). We made a decision to boil it down into a practical learning experience that others can learn about and use. We now have HPLJ certified practitioners that are out there using the process and they are finding it to be very impactful; the even better news is that this growing group of pioneers is already innovating improvements that make the HPLJ approach even stronger and more effective. We will always have a need to learn from applications for the continuous HPLJ improvement.
So our HPLJ efforts are themselves a journey – a true learning journey that has changed our performance for good. We can’t go back now. We know we are on the right track, and others are picking up the learning journey concept and promoting their solutions. This tells us that we are the front edge of a wave of innovation in the L&D profession. Where this journey goes next is exciting to think about and be a part of.