When is it a Good Idea to Ask Your Staff Commit to Their Learning Formally?
You have gone to great lengths to set out your learning and development plans, spent the last few months justifying the budget to your bosses and been through every topic with a fine-tooth comb. Finally, your internal development plan is now set and ready to go. We now need to add the participants.
Adding participants to programme means issues will arise! There will be a variety of different points which you have not thought about, so before adding the participants, have you considered getting them to commit to the learning formally?
What is a formal commitment?
Everyone will have a slightly different approach to this, but when we look to instil a formal commitment from the learner, we are talking about outlaying a statement that covers three main points:
- What content we plan to deliver and the schedule of the training
- What is expected and offered by:
- You as the employer
- Us as a training provider
- Them as a learner
- How to resolve queries (and complaints!)
Each learner will commit to this plan by signing the statement and taking a copy for themselves.
So what does this try and achieve?
When instilling a commitment statement, we are outlaying what the development has in store for the learner. In our opinion, this is super important when you have tailored the course for the participant.
In a previous post last week, we looked at the benefits of tailoring significant long term developments instead of applying a blanket learning rule. When we do this, the learner needs to know what has been tailored and have access to this information.
Imagine having a course tailored for yourself. You would be trying to build up an image of what this looks like, so creating a super clear document with this information is a great way to help them do this. We should be giving them the blueprint to the plans in which they are going to invest.
We usually drive this type of commitment when we deal with long, robust qualifications, such as apprenticeships, for example, as they contain many varied interventions to aid their learning. Qualifications are not usually just a set of workshops. They have many moving parts - and this means that the commitment needed for the learning needs to be taken seriously.
When it's not appropriate
We wouldn't usually consider formalising the commitment if the programme is less than six months and if it comprises of just workshops.
For smaller programmes, we recommend outlining the schedule and the planned content and making this clear to the learners - but formalising this through a commitment statement document might be overkill.
We have had a lot of success through formalising big year-long programmes like future leaders programmes and when we are setting up leaners with qualifications. We find that it clears up any confusion and shows the learner just how committed you are to the commitment of their learning which is a powerful driver in engagement.