Learning is a process, not an event

There is a common misconception that a training session or a single learning event can result in a real change in behaviour, skill or knowledge. But learning is about creating long-term change in our brains, resulting in us doing things differently than we did before.

We may indeed learn new things in a single training session – assuming the learning experience was designed to take into account our goals, motivations and context, and that it built on what we already knew.

But without significant ongoing practice and feedback, long-term behaviour change won’t happen. Over time, our brains will probably revert to how they were before the training.

Yet, training as an event is the standard approach, particularly in corporate L&D. A one-off session is somehow expected to result in long-term performance improvements.

Any learning intervention or training should be designed from the start on the basis that it will continue over a period of time, with regular opportunities for practice and feedback, further input, and systems in place to facilitate and encourage peer-to-peer learning and practice.