How would your organization change its training procedures and technology spend if it was discovered that there was a poor fit between those things and your company learning culture?
My guess is that they would change a lot. There are at least four different kinds of learning cultures out there. What if the challenges you’re seeing in your training program have less to do with technologies, people, and budgets, and more to do with a poor fit with your overall learning culture?
A lot would need to change, starting with the way you think about learning culture to begin with.
Why Are There Different Kinds of Learning Cultures?
Different people learn differently. We’ve known that for a while. We can categorize people as auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners, or discover their DISC style of communicating and teach according to that.
But what if differences in “learning style” were not just a matter of individual differences, but of corporate differences as well?
This makes sense if we think about the overall learning ecosystem. A learning ecosystem is defined not just by the people, content, and technology that exists in an organization, but also by the learning culture that is in place. And just as people have different learning styles, organizations have different learning cultures.
Many companies in the corporate training space talk as if learning cultures are merely good or bad, strong or weak. There’s a good reason for that: When there isn’t a strong learning culture in place, it’s because the organization is missing some important key elements. That doesn’t imply that all strong learning cultures are the same.
Just as there are different ways in which individual learners learn, there is variation in the policies and attitudes that organizations take toward learning.
Organizations see the best results when they achieve a good fit among their learning culture, employee expectations, training programs, technologies, and developmental opportunities.
- Different learning cultures will onboard their people differently—and will need to set the appropriate expectations to do so.
- Different learning cultures will approach development differently, too. Do you expect learners to be self-directed? Or does leadership schedule and control development directly? Again, each organization will need to set expectations.
- Different learning cultures will lean on different learning technologies. Does your learning culture need to rely on training reinforcement? Social learning? Content curation? Self-directed learning? If you know your organization’s culture, you can know which technologies to prioritize.
- Learning culture can set the tone for corporate culture generally, so knowing which kind of learning culture you have can have ramifications that go well beyond training.
Learning About the Four Main Types of Learning Cultures
Reviewing the four main types of learning cultures and how they approach the elements listed above would be too much for a single blog post. Fortunately, we have a whitepaper “The Four Types of Learning Cultures” that goes into much greater depth, and it’s free to download.
In this whitepaper you can learn:
- Why there is a need to recognize multiple different types of learning cultures.
- How strong learning cultures are made even stronger when there is a good fit between employee expectations and the actual learning culture.
- Problems that can arise when that fit is not there.
- How the four main types of learning cultures (Traditional, Pioneering, Immersive, and Free-Form) are defined, with examples.
- How eLearning technologies work with each learning culture.
I truly feel that this way of thinking about corporate learning culture is novel and important. So take a look: Which kind of learning culture does your organization have?
- Companies do better when leadership cultivates a healthy learning culture. Read more in our blog “Leading the Way to a Learning Culture”
- Learn how you can increase employee development and engagement in our whitepaper “10 Benefits of a True Learning Culture.”
- Your learning culture is a critical component in your overall learning ecosystem. Learn more in our ebook “The Learning Ecosystem.”