The Problem with Organizational Learning

The problem with learning in most organizations is that it tends to emphasize only two parts of the four-part learning cycle: Share and Practice. I have interviewed thousands of training and development professionals and asked the question, “Which of the four steps of the learning cycle is most likely to be missed in your organization’s training strategy?” The number one answer is the first step, Engage, and the number two answer is the final step, Perform.  In fact, over 75% of training professionals share that one or both of these steps is missed consistently in the learning programs delivered in their organization. Here’s the really bad news: these two steps are the key to learner (employee) engagement.


Without focus on what has to happen in all four steps, the learner is not engaged nor are they equipped to adapt learning to the real world. While learners might know what to do and how to do it, there may well be little to no actual “doing” happening.

Shelley Barnes, Executive Director of Aveda Field Education and Program Development, shares, “[4MAT]…allows learners to not just absorb information, but interact with it and apply it immediately, with the ultimate goal of helping them reach their professional and personal potential.” By intentionally including the steps you might otherwise miss, you engage the learner at a personal level which leads to higher commitment to action.

Jeanine O’Neill-Blackwell is the President/CEO of 4MAT 4Business®, a global learning and leadership development company. Her most recent book is Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley, 2012). You can experience the 4MAT Advanced Instructional Design program on June 5-6 in Bucharest, Romania. Click here to learn more.

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About 4MAT 4Business

4MAT is one of the most widely used instructional formats in the world, with years of proven success in both corporate and learning institutions. 4MAT teaches you how to identify the styles of learning and implement the best methods to reach those styles. Our programs show you how to work most effectively with all types of learners. When everyone understands and participates collaboration and productivity soar.

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