When your team has to learn, you'll want to have a reliable training program in place to support and accommodate all types of learners through a multifaceted learning approach.
That's why the strongest organizations tend to have a strong training ecosystem to support their employees. But what is a training ecosystem, and what are their main components? And how can you build the best training ecosystem possible to accommodate the learning your team needs to accomplish?
A Training Ecosystem: Definition
First, a definition: a training ecosystem is all the training materials available to learners within an organization. These can come in a variety of formats, but it includes all learning and educational content employees are responsible for mastering. A training ecosystem represents everything within an organization dedicated to employees' learning and growth. But why use the term ecosystem and not "training program?"
Think of any ecosystem in nature. No matter what type of setting, they all have one thing in common — they're made up of many parts that interact with each other to create the whole. A forest has trees, rivers, and animals that all have a specific role within that ecosystem. In a training ecosystem, each component plays a different role, relying on the others to function effectively. A training ecosystem serves as almost a living organism — adapting, evolving, and thriving based on the content, platforms, and people who contribute to it. A jungle isn't just made up of trees - the same can be said for training systems. Not only do you need one piece of the puzzle, but many that work together to create a whole system, set up for employee success.
But what are these different components that make up the training ecosystem?
Different Components of A Training Ecosystem
Each component in your training ecosystem plays a different role. Let's take a closer look at a few:
Your content is the actual information and data provided. It's what users need to learn to perform their roles more effectively. Content can include:
- Mandatory or legally required certification or training
- Policies and procedures
- Emergency response and business continuity plans
- Job-specific guidance
You can have content that your entire organization needs to learn, or content specific to teams or individuals. This resource can be developed internally or externally, depending on your level of comfort creating content or outsourcing it.
No matter what, you'll want to vet and regularly update content to ensure it reflects the accurate and updated information you need your organization to understand.
Platforms & Channels
Other components of your training system include the platforms you use to convey the information to the learners. This includes the technology you utilize to take advantage of these platforms. There are multiple types of learning systems — the important thing is to have one (or many) that fits different types of learners within your team.
Cutting edge technology is always emerging. Instead of being conducted in a classroom setting, not almost all corporate training has moved online. Here's a few great channels/platforms that an organization can use to stay current and interactive:
- Video role-playing
- Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Gamification or badges
- Podcasts and audio
- Virtual lectures
- Full courses
- Blogs or articles
- Assessments or exams
- Self-taught research
- Virtual Reality training
- LinkedIn Learning
Learners & Administrators
The learners in a training ecosystem are the people tasked with consuming content. Understanding this group and how they learn best is critical to selecting the content and platforms that enable the highest retention levels.
The administrators in a training ecosystem are the people responsible for assisting with the transmission of information from the content to learners. In the past, teachers would operate in a classroom setting. Now? They can represent:
- The learner themselves, as many online courses are self-guided and self-taught
- Whoever's responsible for developing the content, whether that is an internal department or external expert
- Educational coordinators meant to address questions about training content
Finally, your company's educational culture is also part of your training ecosystem. Your culture is not just the sum total of all components in an ecosystem; it's also the values and mission of your organization. Your culture will guide what kind of training your organization will take part in. For example, let's say one of your company's primary values is taking an ethical approach to work. It would then make sense to develop an ethics training course for everyone in your organization to complete.
Think of your company's culture — both the overarching values and your educational goals— as the guiding force for the direction in which your training ecosystem moves. Your overall brand should be reflected in your training content, emphasizing your culture's various aspects.
How to build the strongest training ecosystem possible
Now that you understand how a training ecosystem functions and what the different components of it are, it's critical to understand how to build the strongest one possible. The first thing to remember about building a strong training ecosystem is that each piece is interconnected. No single aspect of your ecosystem operates in a vacuum; each one relies on all other components to be successful.
That's why when you're defining and developing each part of your training ecosystem, consider all parts. When you're developing content, consider who the specific audience is, who will develop the content and whether they're qualified to do so, what platform you'll use to distribute the content, and how the content supports your overall organizational mission and goals. Your content should be communicated in a way that respects the audience and is convenient for them to access and understand.
Cultivating a training ecosystem best suited for your specific organization involves thinking strategically, planning each component in concert with the others. It also involves making changes when necessary. As new technologies and online learning systems are developed, you may find yourself needing to adopt new strategies. Listening to your staff and monitoring their progress using your platform is also critical to a healthy training ecosystem. Ensuring workers are capturing and retaining the information is the difference between successful and unsuccessful training.
In short, envision your training ecosystem as a machine. It has multiple parts that all require attention and forethought to operate effectively. If you're thinking of elevating or improving any aspect of your training system, you'll want to partner with a knowledge provider who can give you the best tools for the job. Let Knowledge Anywhere be that trusted partner. For more on how we can help your organization, contact us today.
Learn how you put education at the center of your organization with these great articles and resources.