Why does Huthwaite International use learning journeys?
First of all, the learning journey is one continuous experience with different phases.
It is not a series of classroom sessions with some other things wrapped around it.
A learning journey is a 7-week experience during which there will be one to four sessions in a physical or virtual classroom.
The learning you will do in advance of each classroom session and the on the job learning you will do as you begin to apply new skills and behaviours, are an essential part of your learning experience. There are four key reasons for adopting a learning journey approach:
1. Learning is about doing things differently and doing different things. Short courses may not adequately provide a bridge from theory to practice. In one study, only 7% of short course attendees said that they had implemented the skills they were sent to learn when they returned to work. Knowing what you should do, is different from actually doing it.
2. Time is short and group learning time is extremely valuable (and difficult to obtain). By looking at which method of delivery is most efficient for learning what is needed, we use the most appropriate tool for the job at the most appropriate time. From our experience of over 40 years of developing and delivering learning interventions, we know group based learning in a safe space where it’s OK to make mistakes is ideal (if not essential) for developing the kinds of skills and verbal behaviours which are the bedrock of our programmes. To build Skills you need to Practice and gain feedback from someone who can observe what you do, recognise your strengths and provide pointers for how you can improve. However, we also know that if we bring a disparate group together who have wildly different levels of understanding and experience, then the skills and practice components are nowhere near as effective as when we have a group with similar levels of understanding. That’s why we ask people to acquire the necessary knowledge– at their own pace and when it is convenient for them – before they attend the group based virtual classroom sessions. We also know that if people don’t use the skills they have learned quickly after they first encounter them, then those skills are easily lost and knowledge is less likely to be retained. That’s why we build in a period of Workplace Transfer immediately after the skills and practice session. During the Workplace Transfer phase you will try out new skills in the real world; reflect on what happened and – with the support of your coach – plan how to continually develop new skills.
3. Habits are hard to change. OK, we know that some people take up exercise, stop smoking and abandon a lifetime of cream bun addiction just by making a decision, but most of us find our habitual behaviours difficult to change. Most of the people who attend Huthwaite programmes are already skilled as sellers, negotiators and communicators. As well as having some terrific skills and behaviours we will build on, they may also have some habits we’d like them to unlearn. Unlearning takes time and so we give them time. Time to try things out, reflect on what works and plan for future development. That’s another reason why our programmes provide active support for the workplace transfer stage, when new approaches, knowledge and skills are being applied in real work situations.
4. People learn from each other. It also seems more straightforward to try new things if other people are on the same journey as you. Learning from the questions of others, sharing their experiences and successes and having someone alongside who knows exactly how you are feeling as you try to do new things, is a powerful boost to learning. It’s even more powerful if you have a safe space in which to share your ideas, concerns and progress; ask for help, get feedback and discuss options with others having similar experiences. That’s what our collaborative platform provides - a safe, structured space, enabling an extension of the conversations ordinarily confined to the classroom.
"The mere fact of having to organise my thoughts so I can explain them to others often shows me a new way forward".
Professor Stephen Hawking