Once content is accessible, how do learners move through the learning experience? A crucial part of any learning culture is the ways in which people are guided to achieve mastery.
- Developing mastery is a vital part of any organization's success. There's a whole range of skills and competencies that your talent needs in order to achieve the strategic goals of your organization. So a crucial part of any learning culture is the ways in which you help people achieve mastery. Now not all skills nor people need to hit the mastery level, but for those that do, you want to make it easier to get there. Make sure your learning strategy clearly identifies the skills, roles, and functions where mastery is required, as this will help you know which tools you should make available to whom, and by when.
Mastery requires time and effort, period. Mastery takes hundreds or thousands of repetitions. In fact, Dr. Anders Ericsson conducted research on what it takes to develop expertise, and he's the one who coined the 10,000 hours estimate that Malcolm Gladwell explored in his book, Outliers. Certainly, hours and repetitions are required, but mastery demands the right kind of focus, with deliberate practice as well as feedback. Feedback allows us to benchmark our skill and make the necessary adjustments to improve, so the real sweet spot here is practice plus coaching.
Now many organizations have invested in helping their teams develop mastery. For example, the military, NASA, and airline companies have long been using flight simulators to create realistic practice. Oil companies have spent billions creating working replicas of drilling platforms so that crews can practice operating them. And of course medical personnel practice life-saving procedures all the time. But for many organizations, those kinds of resources are out of reach, or are not necessary for the kinds of mastery they need to develop.
Here are some tools I recommend that provide value to any type of organization. One tool is computer-based simulations to create life-like scenarios. While there are many companies that create simulations, I prefer ones that are customizable to a range of people and scenarios. One of my favorites is mursion.com, because their avatars are animated in realtime by real actors, so you can practice with all the realistic and unexpected elements of human interaction. These interactions can be recorded so that the learner and their coach can review them later to identify areas for improvement, and of course they can be repeated, adding more complexity as the learner improves their skill.
Another favorite tool is using video-based learning to share knowledge and encourage practice. One that is unique is called practice.xyz. It's a patented applied learning platform and methodology that uses video to create a culture of practice, peer assessment, and coaching. Oftentimes people learn mastery by seeing an expert perform that skill at a high level. This platform allows for that, as well as for learners to upload their own videos where they can receive feedback and coaching from peers to experts.
Did you know that an average of three to five peer grades is consistent with feedback given by instructors or experts? It's called the wisdom of crowds, and the research is conclusive. The practice platform is agile and scalable, and can be used over and over to drive increased complexity and improvement. Finally, keep an eye on virtual reality. The technology is getting better and more affordable, and is really valuable for certain kinds of learning. Numerous researchers have found that VR training can be 30% more effective than traditional training, and retention can be as high as 80%.
It's so lifelike that the brain actually gets a real experience of doing that behavior while being in a safe setting. The applications are mind-boggling, and can be especially valuable where practicing in a real-life situation could be very difficult or even dangerous. Silverthread is doing something unique with in-body experiences. You can look down and see your body, hands, and feet, which allows for a whole new kind of training. For example they can film a master or expert doing a complex behavior correctly, then learners can have an in body experience seeing their hands and body doing the behaviors at an expert level.
These products are currently standalones in the market, but of course the market is changing rapidly, so keep an eye out for similar and new options to crop up in the future. These are just a few ways to help people develop mastery and new innovative products and services show up everyday. Consider how you can use these tools to help your people develop mastery to drive your organization's success. It just might be the most powerful part of your culture of learning.
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- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success