create a learning culture

How do you create a learning culture?

Want to create a learning culture? What can you do to embed learning into your cultural practices? What are the things you need to create to get people learning? Of course, you’ll need tools, strategies, and content too. But, what really makes a learning culture? And, how can you create one yourself? There’s lots to consider, and most importantly, people to involve.

Here’s five things you can do to create a learning culture successfully:

  • Be intentional and set everyone’s expectation clearly
  • Define what a learning culture means for your organization
  • Over-communicate that you want to create a learning culture
  • Outline for everyone in the organization what they’re expected to learn
  • Use software that supports easy, continuous, regular learning for everyone

Who’s involved in creating a learning culture?

First answer, leadership. Second answer, everyone. You’ll need buy-in, and will want everyone on the same page. This is accomplished with clear communication. What matters is how the message gets shared with your employees. This is often different for every organization. Some companies work top down, while others work bottom up. Either way, creating a learning culture shouldn’t change that. Continual learning just becomes a new objective.

What should you consider first?

Good question. When you create your learning culture think of the reasons why. Define the optimizations you want to see. What are your learning objectives? Think high level. Answer the question, what do you want people to know? How do you make learning a priority? What kind of learning? Every company ultimately decides in their own way, but one kind of learning that should be mandatory is learning about your company. This includes your products, and everything every employee needs to know to do their best at work. Here’s a few questions to consider when you create a learning culture:

  • Cost (Time & Money)
    • How will you measure the total cost of your program?
    • What time will you and employees need to invest for success?
    • Where does return on investment come from? How much is it?
  • Fit into Flow of Work
    • Are you creating new systems and ultimately more work?
    • Does your toolset support learning with what already works?
    • What does employee effort and time to learn look like? Is it a lot?
  • Knowledge Accessibility
    • Is the learning material accessible?
    • Can people access what they need to know?
    • Where is knowledge stored and how is it shared?
  • Measurability
    • How will you know if your learning culture is working?
    • Do you have a system that helps you measure knowledge?
    • What about engagement? What is expected, how will you measure it?
  • Recognize & Reward
    • Find a way to recognize and reward learning directly
    • Make your rewards meaningful and appreciated by employees
    • Recognize strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for everyone

Why should you create a culture focused on learning?

They say, if you’re not learning you’re not growing. And, if you’re not growing… well, you get it… it’s the opposite. Learning means growing, and a learning culture can support your growth goals directly. Want to increase sales? What kind of learning do you think is needed? Want products built and projects finished faster? Guess what the learning objectives should become? Tie growth goals to learning objectives and you’ll know why you should create a learning culture as soon as possible.

Learning and development professionals can turn to professional industry groups like the Association for Talent Development and access their research reports for additional help and more resources.