Did you know, 70% of learning in the workplace occurs because of peer-to-peer engagement and informal processes? That means, on average, more people pick up critical work information by watching others, participating and taking on challenges compared to what they would by being mentored or using formal reading/course material.
The modern business world has quickly noticed the importance of group learning. How well your team works together to problem solve and educate each other is commonly referred to as a ‘learning ecosystem’.
Unlike other buzzwords (that you’re probably sick of hearing about) a learning ecosystem helps visualise the flow and distribution of information in your workplace. It’s a natural comparison and not a flashy show word to grab your attention.
The principle revolves around harmony and balance in which learning occurs naturally and as a result of concerted effort. An organisation with a good learning ecosystem allows staff to influence each other and promote continuous learning.
Breaking down the study material, a natural ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. It’s the process of how the smallest creature can impact the largest; and how the energy transferred from the sun reaches the plants and animals. Similarly to a biological ecosystem, a business exists on similar fundamentals.
Seeing your learning and development as a natural ecosystem can help you identify the many intricate workings and relationships that you may need to adjust to strengthen the overall workplace culture. So here are three key steps to establish the pillars of a strong learning ecosystem.
Establish The Roles Within Your Learning Ecosystem
An ecosystem is about balance – too many of one species can cause catastrophic damage to the whole cycle. You can’t have an office full of sharks and expect the fish to be OK. A learning ecosystem means everyone has a role to play in the transfer of knowledge.
An effective template is breaking your workplace into:
Chief Learning Officers & L&D Teams
As overseers of the ecosystem, it’s your responsibility to implement tools and ensure team members from each department are engaging correctly. You also have to keep the overall goal focused, and align learning content with your business goals.
Managers are the motivators and guides for employees. A manager should help employees set goals, resolve obstacles, show the paths to reach those goals and promote further learning opportunities (personal & professional).
The executive acts as the sun in most natural ecosystems – they are what gives the whole system energy. Executive-level support is needed for the systems to be integrated into the company’s culture. Their presence also helps bolster engagement by promoting L&D, creating executive course content themselves, and encouraging top-down incentives for learning.
The core responsibilities of employees is learning. Employees need to take advantage of the structures and systems in place to learn and pursue measurable learning goals and OKRs effectively. If they discover any gaps in learning or flaws in the systems, it is their job to communicate them to the managers and CLOs.
Use A Learning Tool That Facilitates Peer-to-Peer Knowledge Flow
The end goal is to create a healthy and autonomous learning ecosystem where information can bounce between departments. To do this you need a tool that smooths out the flow of knowledge.
Peer-driven learning platforms give employees the ability to learn from one another. A Collaborative Learning Platform harnesses colleagues and peers’ collective knowledge, which allows them to learn, share ideas, and innovate to achieve company and team goals.
People want to learn from those closest to them. About 55% of employees will seek new skills and answers by asking coworkers before using LMS or online search engines.
A traditional LMS system could be preventing your organisation from growing as much as your competitors and others in your industry. Collaborative Learning Platforms are a new solution that aligns your team by keeping them engaged and continuously learning.
Pay Attention To Your Ecosystem
If you want a thriving learning ecosystem, you need to pay attention to all your learning and development programs. The quality of the technology and content you’re using will directly impact the growth of your employees.
A learning ecosystem helps bridge the skills gaps in your workforce that could become detrimental if left unattended. You may be asking yourself, “how do I track my staff’s learning progress?” and “how will I see benefits from this?”. The answer is you need measuring strategies that align with your business goals.
As you develop your learning ecosystem structure, make sure you create clear measurement standards to monitor progress.
These can be:
- Assessments: Small tasks, quizzes or tasks which allow employees to display their knowledge.
- Surveys: Give employees the ability to communicate their opinions on the development process so you can better understand how they see the system.
- Job Performance: Is there an improvement in the performance of your workforce? It doesn’t need to be an overnight success, but gradual improvement and staff self-solving problems without relying on managers and leaders shows that your ecosystem is flowing smoothly.
By following these steps you can help create a thriving learning ecosystem. If you want a LMS that can help maximise the effectiveness of communication in your organisation, WorkPlan Learning is exactly what you need to establish and maintain business growth and success. This innovative system will help to align your team by keeping them engaged and constantly learning. Click here to start your free trial today!
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A natural ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Similarly to a biological ecosystem, a business exists on similar fundamentals.