The Three Types of Learning – Part III – Application Learning

As much as we sang the praises of experiential learning in the previous article, it’s important to note that experiential learning isn’t the be-all and end-all of learning. The best approach is to incorporate all learning types since each one offers a piece of the learning puzzle.

In this article, we’ll look at application learning as a third approach that can be included in a strategic training program that yields maximum ROI, increases employee morale, and minimizes costly employee turnover.

What is application learning?

Application is the ultimate form of learning by doing. It lets learners figure out things in real time, putting them in the actual environment and equipping them with the tools and resources they’ll be using. If knowledge learning is watching someone ride a bike, and experiential learning is riding in a closed environment with training wheels, then application learning is hitting the open road on your own.

Creating robust employee training by blending learning styles

Let’s consider how these three learning styles can be combined to produce a very robust employee training initiative.

Imagine you’re expanding your customer support team and want to equip this team with the skills they need to create quality customer relationships. A blended learning approach might look something like this:

Knowledge learning

  • Reading company history
  • Studying brand guidelines
  • Memorizing scripted responses to common inquiries
  • Reviewing email templates and other standard communication vehicles
  • Viewing the organizational chart
  • Participating in an “on boarding” event where various leaders review company information, goals and expectations

Experiential learning

  • Listening in on a customer support call
  • Working in the customer tracking software or the CRM that the sales and customer support team use
  • Role-playing how to resolve a customer issue
  • Brainstorming solutions with colleagues
  • Holding group discussions to debrief real customer interactions
  • Working in small groups to problem solve specific corporate and customer issues

Application learning

  • Handling real customer support issues
  • Fielding phone calls from actual customers
  • Documenting the results and tagging the follow up to ensure the issue is fully resolved and check backs with the customer is in place
  • Crafting emails and other communications

This is just one example of how utilizing all learning types can look in a real-life situation. How much time and weight is given to each type of learning will vary according to different industries and the type of skills required to perform the work. Labor-based workplaces like factories, warehouses, and fulfillment centers may focus more on experiential and application learning. Industries that require more knowledge-based work, such as communications and software development, may devote a greater portion of their training to knowledge and experiential learning.

Virtual training solutions that are easy to use and incorporate all three learning types

You may be thinking that this learning approach may sound great in theory, but would be difficult to implement.  How can you combine traditional “classroom-style” lectures and reading with experiential exercises and on-the-ground application learning?

Jigsaw Interactive is doing just that. As a the only virtual training solution designed for learning, Jigsaw’s virtual learning environment quickly and easily adapts to all types of learning. By incorporating technology that empowers each individual learner, it goes above and beyond the one-size-fits-all approach to produce a truly unique learning experience that’s engaging, adaptable, and impactful. Schedule a demo to see how it works.