ISSUES BASED LEARNINGTM:
A REVOLUTION IN PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION
Question: How many hours of training have you attended over your career? How much of it has ‘stuck’?
Answer: Not enough to justify the investment.
Professional development is a part of life for most mid-senior level leaders and aspiring leaders. But traditional training – be it face-to-face or delivered online – has not evolved at the same rate as the modern workforce.
Current training methods focus on teaching capabilities and skills, and not teaching individuals how to solve problems they are facing. They do not take into account the needs of individuals, they don’t effectively bridge the gap between theory and practice, and they’re delivered at a fixed time rather than when they’re needed.
A 2019 Harvard Business Review article noted that ‘More than 50% of senior leaders believe that their talent development efforts don’t adequately build critical skills and organisational capabilities’
Rewire your thinking with Issues Based LearningTM
Developed by award-winning leadership facilitator Ben Larkey of Learning Republic, Issues Based Learning™ puts the individual in the driver’s seat of their own learning.
Issues Based Learning™ is an adaptive, personalised learning approach that grows with the individual or organisation. Based on human-centred design principles, Issues Based Learning™ enables one to identify what skills they need to solve their own issue(s). It’s a system that allows learners to identify the skills they’ve already gained through formal training and organise them into optimised, repeatable processes.
The system is delivered through a blended learning approach combining face-to-face and solutions-based training methods, with the key place of learning being the workplace. The system comprises four key steps:
Recognise and collate the skills and tools that individuals and teams have accumulated, through past training, into a format that can be easily accessed. This collection of skills and tools will form your the Library of Learning™. In this case, we refer to a ‘tool’ as a specific set of skills combined to achieve a desired outcome.
Reframe workplace challenges into defined issues that can be described (or articulated). Issues being the challenges and problems that can either directly or indirectly impact the person and the team in which they work, or lead.
Rewire the ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ patterns by creating combinations of skills and tools from the selected Library of Learning™ that can be applied to solve the specific workplace issue. This dynamic process is called the PlayList Maker™ and the combinations of skills and tools linked to a specific issue form the PlayList™.
The combinations of skills and tools linked to a specific issue form the PlayList™ and the dynamic process in which it is created is called the PlayList Maker™.
Repeat and coach those skills and tool combinations (PlayLists™) so they become productive habits. It is a self-defined, systematic process applied through reflection and application. There is no right or wrong.
So, what’s different about the Issues Based LearningTM approach?
It’s made to measure. Learning is based on individual competency or needs analysis, rather than the general needs of the business.
It puts the individual in charge. Issues Based Learning™ empowers the individual to draw on a library of tools and skills to solve their unique challenges. The organisation supports the individual by helping them apply these tools and skills in their workplace.
It creates a common learning language. A Library of Learning™ enables an organisation to identify a collection of tools and skills that can be applied to a wide range of issues. Drawing from this Library of Learning ™ means that training is more concise and efficient, and creates a common language within the workplace.
It’s about application, not just theory. Most traditional leadership and sales training focuses ‘thinking’ skills instead of ‘doing’ skills. People feel positive after workshops but don’t know how and when to apply the learning. Issues Based Learning™ centres around the ‘doing’ – what you say, ask or do to solve an issue.
Learning is delivered in real-time, not at a fixed time. It’s a reality of life that the most effective learning happens when there’s an issue to solve. Issues Based Learning™ empowers the individual during one of these ‘reflection moments’ to access the skills and tools they have learned and apply them in a real context. Their training is valid, real time and not limited to a prescribed training program schedule.
Simple and powerful: A learning system when and where you need it
Issues Based Learning™ shows individuals how to use the tools they already have to solve their workplace issues. Learners come away with customised PlayLists™ that are highly relevant to their individual circumstances, feeling empowered to compile new PlayLists™ as needed. They’ll share their PlayLists™ with colleagues and contribute to a culture of continuous learning in your workplace.
Best of all, learners will begin to develop powerful habits and a new attitude to problem-solving that will continue to serve them throughout their career.
To find out more about Issues Based Learning™ and arrange a consultation, contact Learning Republic.
1 HBR Mar- Apr 2019 ‘The Future of Leadership Development’ by Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas, page 4
Written by Ben Larkey
Ben Larkey is one of Australia’s most versatile and experienced leadership and sales development professionals. As the founder and head facilitator of Learning Republic and Issues Based Learning™, Ben has more than 25 years experience working with individuals and companies that shape our world.