While a brand’s success is ultimately determined by a number of factors, we believe there is one that matters most – relevance. Brands that earn and re-earn consumers’ loyalty again and again are relentlessly relevant. They never sit still; are never satisfied with the status quo.

To achieve this kind of relevance every part of a company must be involved, including employees. Their attitudes, beliefs, capabilities, and behaviors must align with the broader brand strategy. Hence, an effective learning and development environment is critical to every organization.

Unfortunately, most traditional learning and development programs are not built with a cohesive brand strategy in mind. At best, most systems are designed to maintain the status quo. At worst, they actively work against efforts to innovate. Organizations need a learning and development approach that can keep pace with the rate of change happening at a company, both externally and internally, and quickly adapt to its employees’ shifting learning needs.

How to Build a Learning & Development Strategy

At Prophet, we face the same challenges, so we created a fresh approach to learning and development, built around two key ideas: always-on and distributed learning.

These two ideas are interconnected, and both need to be present in a successful development program.

Always-On Learning:

  • Happens every day. It includes simple acts like reading a relevant news article, teaching someone a new skill and completing a virtual course.
  • Encourages a constant state of curiosity. Every employee asks “why?” and “how?” and pushes to understand and apply each piece of knowledge.

Sounds almost utopian, right? It takes time to get there, no doubt. And one of the most critical components of achieving always-on learning is a platform that allows for distributed learning.

Distributed Learning:

  • Enables everyone to contribute in some way – by creating, teaching, sharing or discussing content.
  • Welcomes participation. The right platform encourages participation and engagement among employees.

6 Best Practices of Building a Learning & Development Environment

At Prophet, we have created an always-on, distributed learning environment. Here are the most critical best practices we’ve found:

1. Follow The Path to Retention

There are a variety of learning models, but we’ve found there are three key stages to memory retention and application:

  • Acquiring the knowledge – when employees learn something new, either through single or multiple channels
  • Experimenting with the knowledge – when employees apply it and make it their own
  • Amplifying the knowledge – when employees share it with others or explore related topics

Reinforcing each stage, even in the form of small nudges or reminders, increases the chances employees apply what they have learned in a meaningful way.

2. Keep It Varied

Different formats are needed to deliver different types of content to different learners. People need more than one way to access content, and we recommend deploying several forms, including short videos, online courses, blog posts, in-person sessions, peer-to-peer forums, and one-on-one coaching.

3. Tailor The Journey

It can be easy to get lost in a sea of content when operating in an always-on learning environment. Creating personalized learning journeys for different functions or positions help employees navigate to the most relevant content.

4. Make It Bite-Sized

Whether it is a 3-minute video or a 15-second quiz, creating ways for employees to engage during little pockets of downtime makes learning fun and accessible.

5. Enable a Sense of Community

Prophet has an Intranet where employees can directly contribute content they believe others will find useful, and a space to start a dialogue with colleagues around any question or topic of interest.

6. Make It Fun

While the word “gamification” is over-used, there truly is a magical attraction people have with quick games they can easily jump in and out of, and rack up rewards over time.

Final Thoughts

 By creating an always-on, distributed learning environment, we’re able to cover a broader variety of learning needs over a shorter period of time, and adapt faster as those needs change. This enables us to remain relentlessly relevant to our employees and clients.

Interested in learning more about what makes brands stand out from the masses? We created the Prophet Brand Relevance Index™ (BRI) to help companies measure brand relevance and understand how it can unlock growth.