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Learning by doing with new business software

Learning by doing refers to a theory of education expounded by American philosopher John Dewey. It's a hands-on approach to learning, meaning students must interact with their environment in order to adapt and learn. Dewey implemented this idea by setting up the University of Chicago Laboratory School.

Here at Digital Playhouse, we want to make it easier for you to onboard digital technologies into your business that will work for you.

We don't just adopt the latest technology for technology’s sake or expect it to magically fix everything by itself, though. An implementation plan includes learning.

But it can be hard to find time for training, and people are easily distracted from online courses. Working smarter, not harder, means getting immersed in valuable training that we can use (and that sticks for longer than a few minutes). We believe that experiential learning in a physical focus space can boost workplace training outcomes, especially when introducing new software.

Even if a new technology claims to be “user-friendly,” business owners and employees still need to be trained.

Not everyone can take to new technology so easily, so a little assistance is needed to make sure the right choices are made and everyone is on board. Training also helps to eliminate first-time users’ mistakes, some of which can be very costly. However, in the right setting, being allowed to make some mistakes can help us learn better and more quickly.

In the context of business technology reskilling, employees learn by doing through training simulations. Training simulations are effective because the trainees can apply their strategic skills and expand their perspectives of the business. With hands-on activities and self-assessment, new concepts start to make sense in a realistic way that is meaningful to them. A simulation environment is a safe place to experiment and fail, where employees can gain the confidence to repeat their actions based on different strategies.

Why experiential learning works for employees:

  • They are allowed to use their creativity to solve problems and make decisions based on their own experience

  • They can reflect and learn how to ‘see ahead’ by how their different actions led to different outcomes.

  • They are allowed to learn by their mistakes without fear of breaking something. Through trial and error they learn to find the best solutions.

  • They experience satisfaction from seeing the end results of a problem they solved which improves their attitude towards continuous learning in the workplace.

If introducing new technologies and systems, whether it is a basic Point of Sale or a fully fledged Enterprise Resource System to scale the business with, employee buy-in is critical to a successful implementation. Employee buy-in is much easier to gain when employees are engaged in the process. Existing policies, procedures and training manuals need to be rewritten too, which is an extremely time consuming process requiring some end-user input. Video tutorials presented by the end-users themselves can be a valuable outcome of their experiential training, hastening the onboarding of new staff.

The 70/20/10 learning model shows that most people learn most from working and interacting hands-on with others.

That is, individuals obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from experience which relate to the job, 20 percent from social interaction and 10% from formal learning.

There are customised online learning solutions available for training business owners and their employees. However, from our experience, nothing beats sitting down with someone in person and being shown how to get started and get going with something new. The next best thing is working hands-on with your team to think productively together and share learning.

In a normal workplace situation, the leaders are the managers and supervisors. A strategic training exercise with the whole team can encourage the leadership traits of other individuals to come out. Once you identify the team members with those traits, their skills can be honed to lead changes in the workplace (e.g. as implementation champions).

Contact Digital Playhouse today to discuss how your business can benefit from assisted software implementation and team training.

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