I would claim that the key ingredient to learning is simply taking ownership of it. If I want to learn something, I will find a way. And while sometimes it's difficult to find the right tools to learn, it's definitely true that motivation is the key when you are provided with free training workshops by your employer. You get free education - what else could get in your way? Let's explore.

Personal reasons


In our experience with Panda Training, personal reasons might be a cause of distraction. When something bad happens in the employee's personal life, sometimes there is just no space for learning and applying new things. That being said, we only encounter such cases occasionally and they are quite a rarity.

Bad training

That's kind of an obvious one. Except that sometimes when all the vendors are long-term partners, it's hard to suspect anything. I am a proponent of finding out what works and what doesn't with hard data. More on that here and here.

Perceived relevance

As you might have seen in my previous article, we found perceived relevance to be the key factor in whether people are likely to learn. Now, the reasons for low relevance might be multiple. One of the most common ones is the strategic alignment. The company's management considers the priorities after a consulting project and decides that a set of new AI-related capabilities are essential for everyone in the company. Yet, if the everyday man on the shop floor doesn't realise why that decision has been made and doesn't know the roadmap of the company, he is unlikely to be very engaged. People need a strong WHY and in work environment that WHY is often interconnected with the company's strategy.

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Also, don't discount personal preferences. Perhaps the person just doesn't like a certain subject. Unless the employee is convinced to change the attitude, the results are likely to be fruitless. And in the matters of relevance it's usually way easier not to send people for whom the subject matter is irrelevant into the training to begin with. That obviously requires a certain pre-assessment or volunteer (not to be confused with voluntold approach) opt-in.

Learning culture

Learning culture is a big one and there are many angles you can approach it from. Is the environment encouraging learning? Is the leadership of the firm setting the example? Do employees have time to spare and experiment? Are the middle managers supportive? What about the peers? Are the small learning communities existent and their creation encouraged? Do the employees have the possibility to go out and learn outside the company? Is there enough candour to let the manager know that a certain team is lacking in certain capabilities?

These are some of the reasons why employees might not be taking responsibility for their learning. Some of them are easier to handle, some - more difficult. Learning culture is, probably, by far one the most challenging ones. It's hard to find tools to influence it and it's hard to measure it. Using this opportunity, let me tell you about an event that we are organising to help managers with exactly this challenge. It’s an interactive workshop on the topic of “How to develop a learning culture in your company” with the ex-Head of Training Strategy from Booking.com

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You can read more about the event and buy the tickets here.


Dima Syrotkin, CEO at Panda Training Oy