Putting the Systematic Learning Process to Work

As a leader in workplace learning and performance, FKA has developed a simple formula to guide design and delivery of learning programs that maximizes learning. Regardless of whether learning happens in a classroom, online, or in the workplace, effective learning uses the Systematic Learning Process.

Three Phases, Five Components

The Systematic Learning Process identifies three important phases that learners need to experience during learning:

  • Presentation
  • Application*
  • Feedback

* Since Application and Feedback are so closely linked we often refer to this as Application/Feedback.

The three phases of the Systematic Learning Process are broken into five components:

  • Motivation
  • Information Transfer
  • Test for Understanding
  • Practice
  • Constructive Support

Presentation

The Presentation phase of a lesson begins with motivation as an integral way to engage the learners by identifying for the learners the need and relevance of the topic, both initially and in an ongoing manner. During Information Transfer the content (skills and knowledge) is chunked in a meaningful way. Finally, the learners’ understanding is tested to ensure they are ready to move to the lesson Application. Testing for Understanding (TFU) activities are essential in all facilitated and non-facilitated strategies. TFUs are built into the design of the program, and if the learning program is facilitated, enhanced by the Instructor.

Flipped Classroom

In an earlier blog, we explored the flipped classroom as one evolution in learning delivery driven, at least in part, by millennials’ learning expectations. In the business learning environment, the flipped classroom can be part of a blended learning solution that follows the Systematic Learning Process.

For example, the Presentation phase can be delivered as self-directed pre-work before learners attend the facilitated portion, whether that will be done face-to-face or online. That means most of the in-class time can be spent on Application and Feedback, where learners can focus on applying the content and discussing how to integrate the new skills and knowledge into their jobs.
FKA “flipped” the classroom the moment we began designing blended learning solutions, and well before the term, “Flipped Classroom” became popular.

Allocating Time to the Three Phases

While all components of the Systematic Learning Process play an important role in learning, instructional designers must decide how much time to allocate to each. While preferences vary both by learner and content to be learned, most learners prefer at least 50% of their time is spent with Application/Feedback where they can be actively engaged. FKA recommends, as a guideline, that 30 to 40% of time be allocated to Presentation with the remaining 60-70% to Application and Feedback.

There are certainly circumstances where more Application/Feedback than what is routinely recommended is appropriate. We spoke earlier of the “flipped classroom” and the focus mainly on Application/Feedback in the facilitated environment. There is also the case for more Application/Feedback when learning a difficult skill or task that is critical for performance back on the job. Conversely, it may be appropriate to have less Application/Feedback if the objective is only to make learners aware of the information, such as, overview courses given to new hires. We always want to avoid designing programs that rely on too much time spent on “data dumping” or “death-by-PowerPoint”. Such Presentations minimize rather than maximize retention.

Advantages of a Proven Systematic Learning Process

Putting FKA’s Systematic Learning Process to work means:

  • By thinking about the five components of effective learning programs it is easier to come up with blended solutions where the best possible instructional strategies and methods are selected for each component.
  • Incorporating initial and ongoing motivation is built into the process, regardless of whether the learning happens in the classroom, online, or in the workplace. Watch for an upcoming blog on Motivation.
  • The information to be transferred can be chunked, with opportunities to test for understanding after each chunk. This not only increases engagement, it increases retention.
  • By recommending 60-70% of the time is allocated to Application/Feedback we ensure learners have ample time to Practice, Practice, Practice! with constructive feedback. This results in better learner engagement during the program and improved performance and organizational results back on the job.

FKA President
Michael Nolan
President


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