planned interventions

Did you know that planned interventions are the secret ingredient for ensuring a learning culture?

If managing the L&D division (or department or function) is part of your responsibilities, then you can relate to the efforts put in by your global peers in building carefully researched, designed, and manicured training programs for their organization’s teams.

Their training programs are likely being built for better enabling the Sales teams, the launch of a new product or service, a refresher course for compliance, communicating the changed or new organizational policies, effective induction of new joiners in the organization, project onboarding of new team members, soft skills or companywide announcements and updates.

That is a lot of training content, to say the least. Clearly, the capability building of the organizations hinges on how successfully the Learning & Development teams can execute their training plans.

planned interventions

This is also reiterated by Organizational and Industry research that continues to underline the importance of High-Performing Learning Organizations. Forbes confirms it, and so does McKinsey. It is unfortunate then that, despite both the want and need for top-class L&D departments, the NPS (Net Promoter Schore) for Corporate L&D was an abysmal -8 in research by Deloitte across 700+ Business and HR professionals.

HR Leaders frequently blame the organizations’ inability to build and foster a Culture of Learning. This is at least partly true as no single entity can be isolated to take the entire blame. That said Culture of Learning is one of the central hinges upon the success of the L&D departments rely upon. HBR’s recent article on Culture of Learning highlights four ways to drive it organization-wide:

  1. Rewarding continuous learning
  2. Giving meaningful and constructive feedback
  3. Lead by example and
  4. Hire curious people

Points 3. & 4. in the list above need to be addressed directly by Hiring and Supervising Managers themselves once the need for a Culture of Learning is sufficiently highlighted and understood. Points 1. & 2., however, need some deliberation to ensure they are not left to the individual’s interpretation but intelligently guided by data.

Here two key questions need to be asked: 1. How does an organization promote, measure, and ensure continuous learning, 2. How can the feedback be objectively linked to Learning Outcomes intended from the training programs?

The L&D Managers can use the strategy of Planned Interventions to effectively answer these questions and thereby play a significant role in driving the culture of learning within the organization. The rest of this article will dive deep into this simple but profound technique of Planned Interventions.

Training and Planned Interventions

planned interventions

Most corporate training courses are designed as modules and sub-modules, each with a combination of reading material (documents & presentations) and videos. Occasionally, some training programs also consist of post-training assessments to measure the Learning Outcomes expected from the training.

In cases where the training programs use the blended learning approach, there is an additional component of instructor-led in-class or online sessions as well. Depending upon the training program’s length and intensity, the duration ranges anywhere from a few hours to a few days. However, there is one common thread in the typical corporate training approach. The entire training program runs in a continuous single sequence over hours or days, culminating in a standard assessment for all trainees/learners.

While this strategy has been in play for as long as most of us can remember, unfortunately, it does not mirror the real-life usage of the learner’s skills. In reality, the skill is used piecemeal over long stretches of time, and often there is a large gap between the skill training and the skill actually being used.

We need a change in the strategy of training that ensures better Learning Outcomes and sustained retention of the skill. Towards this end, the strategy of Planned Intervention comes in handy. When training is scheduled using the Planned Intervention method using the right Learning Management System (LMS), they also help the management quantifiably measure the learners’ commitment to continuous learning and provide pinpointed and constructive feedback.

How do Planned Interventions work?

The approach to the Planned Interventions method is fairly easy. Pieces of training with planned interventions begin similar to the regular training however, the instructor plans for follow-up meet-ups or one-on-one sessions with the attendees at pre-determined schedules after the initial training set is over.

These follow-up sessions may be spaced over a few weeks or even months, depending upon the skill the learner is being trained for. The instructor provides follow-up assessments, reading & viewing material to the learners that they go over at the time of their choosing after the initial training is over. It is best if the follow-up training is mobile-friendly, ideally downloadable, and accessible offline, so the learners can finish up when they can (e.g. commute to work, early morning, before going to sleep, lunch break, etc.)

With each set of assessments, the instructor understands the individual learner’s level of understanding and provides the next set of training and assessment material personalized to each learner. While the instructor can definitely do this manually, one learner at a time, it is best achieved with a mobile-friendly LMS that also provides integrated content management abilities. If the LMS provides built-in assessment capabilities, then the entire training can very effectively be planned on that platform itself.

How do Planned Interventions promote continuous learning and effective feedback?

planned interventions

First of all, Planned Interventions for any training are built on the premise that the learner will continuously engage with the skill they are being trained for. When you use a learning platform with strong Gamification elements built-in, the learner’s engagement can easily be driven via Points, Leaderboards & Badges.

But that is just half the job done. The loop closes once you have the ability to provide the supervisor or manager the specific insights into the learner’s strong areas and areas that need additional support. The right learning platform can also provide deep and actionable insights that the manager can use to provide constructive feedback and lend the support needed to overcome the areas where the employee needs help.

Let us take an example

Nat Beverages excels in providing packaged drinking water. They are the leader in this space across the nation. However, to increase their top line and leverage their already established supply chain and distributor network, they want to expand into producing alternative beverages other than packed drinking water alone.

Towards this end, they plan to launch three additional products: Lemon flavored drinks, packaged cold coffee, and carbonated soda water. Producing the three additional products is merely a small step toward building a formidable position in the non-packaged-water-beverage segments.

Their supply chain and the distributor network will help; however, if their sales teams on the ground that is geographically spread out across the country are unaware of the new products and how they differentiate from the competing products, the margins offered, etc.

Nat Beverage is looking at failing badly at its diversification plans. Of course, Nat Beverages knows this, and they plan a nationwide training plan to train their sales staff. Smartly they leverage their technology prowess and set up multiple virtual pieces of training that cover all of their sales staff over the course of 4 weeks to prepare them for the oncoming launch.

It would be brilliant if this strategy worked flawlessly. Unfortunately, their sales staff consists of people who have sold packaged drinking water for years. A few sessions of online training on three new products in an already crowded space will not cut it, and they will, in all likelihood, slip back into their comfort zone. Selling packaged water.

planned interventions

However, if Nat Beverages were to plan their sales training with multiple interventions using a suitable LMS over the course of 2-3 months, the results would have a significantly better impact. The LMS can initially be used for blended learning, where product knowledge and basic objection handling are covered in the initial training.

Multiple weekly planned interventions phased over the course of the next 2-3 months in the form of additional video training and guidelines to handle new objections that were not anticipated earlier can be covered subsequently. Training facilitators can monitor the consumption of training across their staff, correlating the assessments with the sales impact on the ground and providing feedback and mentoring needed; the results would be dramatically better.

LMS solutions like PlayAblo are very well suited to schedule Planned Interventions and quickly highlight the right analytics that provides the needed insights that are immediately actionable.


planned interventions

In conclusion, Learning Outcomes from training programs improve dramatically when the traditional model of conducting training in a linear sequence is broken up and spread out with multiple interventions built in. This model not only improves retention amongst the target learners but also helps them build a culture of learning via continuous learning and inputs for their managers to provide pinpointed constructive feedback and guidance precisely where the learner needs it.

1 Comment

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