MLevel

Learning Intensity: Are We Setting the Bar Too Low?

What I like most over the many years I’ve followed Elliott Masie is how he thinks. I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone in our industry who spends more time thinking, speaking and writing about how to make organizational training more effective.

A topic he wrote about a while back is the idea of “learning intensity”. Elliott was kind enough to let me reference this concept in this post.

Elliott recommends that we think about learning intensity as we implement training in the following ways:

  • Intensity of Interaction
  • Intensity of Content Struggle
  • Intensity of Evaluation/Assessment
  • Intensity of Transfer
  • Intensity “Brand” of Learning

His concern (and I certainly agree) is that all of the webinar and video via YouTube training we are moving to is dialing down the intensity of training, especially if the goal of that training is to build skills and competency. Learners need to be challenged to learn effectively. It requires hours of practice to embed complex skills from training, not minutes. And the practice needs to be challenging to get the best efforts of the learners as they build their competency during the training.

We have to set the intensity bar higher if we want our employees to get more out of the training than just “check the box, I’m done”.

How learning intensity relates to Game-Based Learning

This is where I think well-designed game-based learning can be really valuable in organizational learning, for the following reasons:

1.  Skill-based games are some of the most highly interactive forms of learning – much more so than classroom, webinar, video or traditional elearning. Learners quickly become immersed in the storyline and the challenges presented as part of the game.

2.  The competitive aspect of game-based learning can’t be underestimated. Until you’ve seen your employees stretching themselves during the game to achieve higher scores than their colleagues, it’s hard to realize how much learning games get the best efforts of learners as they play the game and internalize even the fine points of the taught skills.

3.  The ability of the game’s mechanics to evaluate each learner’s interaction during each scenario allows the course to provide more precise feedback to the learner on their performance than other training experiences.

4.  The level of engagement attained by game-based learning (as learners actually have fun during the experience) creates a better learning mindset, as learners open their minds to not only learning and mastering the skills. Games provide a more positive and memorable learning experience if they are challenging enough.

Elliott sums up his view on learning intensity this way: “To be honest, I am a fan of intensity in the learning process, at key phases. The teachers and courses I remember most that have truly shifted my skills and competencies were quite intense. As a teacher in face-to-face classrooms or online sessions, I design around intensity and look for ways to create learning activities, stories and moments that are more intense.”

How memorable is the training you’re providing your employees? Let’s dial up the intensity of our training — challenge is good!

What are YOUR thoughts on this topic? Let us know!

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