Continuous learning tools: Inspirations from the Apple Watch

Continuous learning tools: Inspirations from the Apple Watch

In a world of constant change, a learning culture is a fuel that propels the company forward, through the myriad changes and challenges.  According to this McKinsey Quarterly article, too often learning programs fail.

How do we build a sustainable, continuous, impactful learning program for the frontline teams? Let us unlock the secrets through Apple Watch’s three powerful feedback loops that make exercise a habit.

Learning, like exercise, is going against the grain

We would rather be turning around in the warmth of our beds, than putting on those shoes. We would much rather be scrolling media than be connecting our neurons and learning our next skill.

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If exercise is difficult, how do smartwatches and exercise bands help you to make it into a habit? Can we learn from the feedback loops that operate in a smartwatch and apply that to learning? Agreed, the scenario is not a lift and shift, but there might be some pointers?

What are the feedback loops that make Apple Watch a successful ‘exercise habit maker’?

We shall look at three powerful feedback loops that operate in an Apple Watch. We will examine how it can be applied to our learning systems.

First-order: Motivation for daily action

This is the most basic level of motivation – it operates on your ‘today’. Check out the Apple Watch. It will set up targets for exercise, movement, and standing for any given day. It will give you alerts to achieve these goals. These are ‘today’s gratification’. The most basic of feedback loops.

How does this apply to a learning system?

The learning system could give monthly goals in terms of ‘the number of learning days’ and ‘number of modules completed’. Tools like badges, leaderboards,  and certificates urge the learner to move forward. Discussions set up a community around learning, increasing engagement.

The objective of learning is not learning. It is knowledge. It is corporate performance. The learning system has to factor in this incontrovertible fact in its design.

Second-order: Feedback based on Knowledge levels

Apple doesn’t stop with mere motivation for action. It provides second-order inputs like calories spent. Just like spending calories is the result of physical activity, knowledge is the result of learning.

How does this apply to a learning system?

Knowledge is the second-order effect of learning. At the individual level, we want the system to learn from every learner. Learn their learning patterns. What do they know? What do they not know? The system needs to identify ‘Areas of Improvement’ for the learner and provide a feed of content to improve their knowledge.

At an organizational level, the Training Leader needs to be equipped with such tools. They should know what the teams know well, and where they could do better. That can serve as a planning input for remedial learning.

The Bsharp system is packed with tools to provide suggestions to the Learner and the Administrator based on knowledge levels. 

competing with peers

To further drive engagement, your learning system should be able to motivate users to keep learning continuously. This could be achieved through organisation-wide skill contests and KPI-based contests, with social features like voting, comments, and discussions.

Third-order : Business KPI impact of learning

The Apple Watch captures a lot of deep metrics like stride length,  balance, and a whole host of heart metrics. This is the ultimate benefit of exercise: Health.

How does this apply to a learning system?

Similarly, the ultimate objective of learning in an organizational context is performance.

The Bsharp system correlates the KPI metrics of a learner to their learning patterns. It prioritizes the various metrics and systematically provides learning recommendations and action suggestions to improve the metrics.

The third order feedback loop is the holy grail of learning – connecting learning and organizational KPI performance.

Bsharp Learn: Three powerful feedback loops in action

Three powerful feedback loops put the learner in the center of learning. It ensures learning is motivating every day, improves knowledge in the medium term, and is sustainable with long-term business impact.  This helps making learning a habit.

The process is sustainable for the learner as they see their KPIs improve over time. The program is sustainable for the company as they have now built a learning, flexible organization. They can demonstrate high strategic returns on their learning investments.

Bsharp Learn has these three powerful feedback loops operating in tandem to make your organizational learning continuous, sustainable, and impactful.

PS: Apple, Apple Watch, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other brand names belong to the respective owners. No confidential information from these brands was used to make this blog.

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