Why are the modalities for action learning so effective? In reality, they are not innovative methods that replace existing methods of face-to-face, e-learning or role-playing training. Regardless of the modalities put in place, action is always the final objective of learning. In other words, the learner will systematically need to transfer his or her theoretical knowledge by acting for real.
What is new is the fact that this crucial phase (the transition to action) is equipped with tools, thus enabling learners to practice in order to effectively build their skills.
All learning follows the same 3 phases: knowledge, belief, andaction. Each phase has its own specific obstacles and challenges, requiring reinforced support from training directors for the learners.
Knowledge corresponds to what the learner hears or reads: a reading, an e-learning video, a lecture, a sharing of experience... This is a purely informative phase, where the learner increases his theoretical knowledge on a given subject.
In this first phase, having limited attention span is a real hindrance. Indeed, it is very difficult to allocate one's attention to different tasks at the same time: we are not made for multi-tasking. We will necessarily focus our attention on certain elements of a given training, thus to the detriment of others. For example, focusing on the text of a particularly dense slide will prevent us from listening carefully to what the trainer is explaining at the same time. Not forgetting that there are, unfortunately, a plethora of distractions outside the training, which are constantly interfering with us (for example, notifications on our mobile phone...).
In order to optimize the transfer of knowledge, the challenge during this phase is to define as much as possible the scope of the training: it is necessary to focus the content on a specific skill, and in a context as relevant as possible for the learner.
For example, offering training on communication, organisation and administrative procedures at a distance will represent too much effort to concentrate learners on too many different subjects. Focusing first on the aspect of distance communication will be a first step towards better knowledge acquisition. Offering training on distance communication for cross-functional managers is an even better approach, since the elements presented will be very relevant to the learners then targeted, who will recognize their everyday life.
This phase represents what learners interpret of their training, i.e. what they understand of it, but also how they appropriate the information acquired during the first phase and how they prioritise the axes in relation to their own issues.
In this phase, learners do not so much face a barrier to learning as an increased need for support. Indeed, this phase is absolutely fundamental since it is in this phase that the action plan that learners will want to put in place in order to develop their skills is formulated. Thus, this is where an important work of personalization must begin: learners must be able to appropriate the content of their training, that is, be able to make links with their reality and translate it into actions relevant to their context. This makes it possible, on the one hand, to envisage the transfer (the conditions under which the practical application of theoretical knowledge will take place) and, on the other hand, to increase the perception of its value (the expected effectiveness of the transfer), thus strengthening their motivation and generating a real intention to act.
Once the first (purely cognitive) phases have been gone through, learners enter the action phase, the most crucial for learning (and paradoxically the least equipped!). Indeed, this is where the main obstacle to the development of skills becomes apparent: theintention-action gapThis is the gap between the formulated intention (in the previous phase) and the actual action. Learners are subject to their cognitive functioning which is largely biased (and this is normal!). The cognitive biases blocking our passage to action are numerous (we present some of them in our series " Nudges at Work " published in Echos Start): learners, too often left to their own devices during this phase, due to a lack of capacity to deploy a heavy human support system, do not finally take action... Unfortunately, our cognitive capacities are limited as we have underlined above. And this behavioural inertia (not carrying out one's plan of action) prevents learners from effectively increasing their skills.
It is to overcome this major challenge of skills development that eDoing solutions have been developed, thanks to functionalities based on behavioural sciences. As close as possible to the cognitive functioning of learners, these solutions make it possible to bridge the gap between the belief phase and the action phase, by accompanying the learner from the formulated objective to a concrete and measured progression of his/her skills.
Supporting learners in the transition to action not only increases the impact of the upstream phases of learning, but also reinforces future learning. Indeed, the transition to action sets in motion an iterative loop: each action generates new learning and new experiences, allowing the learner to identify new opportunities for taking action... and therefore for learning.