Learning agility as the key to more L&D analytics

How space learning works

You are offered 10 flashcards with short text information. After you read the text, you have to answer questions on what you've just learned. How many questions would be answered correctly? Our research shows that the average result would be 3-4 correct answers. The first thought we had when we received this information was that it was impossible. Later we understood the reason.

If we offer learners to answer questions (in other wording) they would answer 7-8 questions correctly.

It happens because human memory doesn't work like computer memory where the information is stored and then retrieved. Human memory, to be more precise circular-neuronal activities are triggered each time "from scratch".

Each subsequent trigger (same or similar information) helps our brains to "understand" that this specific information is important, and that's why each time we retrieve the same piece of information more quickly. That's what makes micro and spaced learning so effective.

Spaced learning helps to measure a very important metric - learning agility.

Learning agility vs. Knowledge accumulation

Learning agility can't be measured with the tests users take after they completed the learning courses. If we compare our brain activity with any reservoir, say bathtub, learning agility can be rather compared with the throughput capacity of a tap, not with the amount of water that stays in in the bathtub.

To measure learning agility, we need to measure how many attempts and how much time a learner needs to understand and acquire new knowledge. In other words at what level of complexity is the knowledge they can gain, and what attention spans are.

In more scientific words, learning agility is the form of general abilities that indicate their cognitive activities.

Final tests can be used for this metrics as they evaluate the amount of knowledge left after completing learning activities. Learning agility and intelligence are connected but are not the same. Learning agility is about cognitive flexibility and curiosity, ability to act in new circumstances.

Advantages of measuring learning agility

When we demo our system with potential clients, they often ask us to skip how microlearning is implemented in SNAPSIM - they want to learn more about how our system can help them to make their L&D process more efficient. But microlearning is at the heart of our learning process - it is used as the bases for evaluation of learning agility and the progress in developing new competencies of all users.

How employees learn in our system? Each working day the employee spends about 15 minutes to read new learning material and answer the questions to what was learned previously. The system analyses how easily the user acquires new knowledge and how many attempts they need to answer the question correctly. That's the bases of measuring learning ability.

Learning ability can open three very important doors:

  • identify high potential employees (those who can take leadership position),
  • engage line managers into learning (evaluate behaviours),
  • evaluate efficiency of L&D process.

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