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Four steps to develop a culture of curiosity to support learning and development

schedule 2nd August 2018 by Helen McKay in Virtual College

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An enquiring mind has long been seen as a desirable attribute, even in today’s Early Years Foundation Stage Framework children under five are assessed based on their ability to show curiosity in the world around them.

Why then, is this so often crushed in later life? Fear of getting things wrong, fear of being blamed, or being sucked into a culture of ‘this is how we do things, this is how it will stay’ are all contributory factors.

So what can you do as a Learning and Development (L&D) professional to ensure the culture of curiosity isn’t crushed out of your team the moment they step through the door?

Practice what you preach

It is important that everyone within your organisations feels confident enough to put their head above the parapet from time to time to challenge, request and suggest. You can foster this in small ways through your practice. What do you do when someone requests yet another training course to be added to your ridiculously lengthy catalogue?

More importantly, what should you do? Perhaps thank them for their suggestion (rather than the usual curt email we send suggesting this is out of scope) and start a conversation about how else this training need might be addressed. Peer-to-peer discussions perhaps? Could they do some desk research into this? Are there free resources available to support the request? Listen to any feedback and even if you are unable to action, share any findings with the wider team in case others have ideas that could help.

I did it my way…..

For Learning and Development (L&D) teams using a learning management system (LMS), do you have the ability to self-register? This is ideal when working with large workforces whether that be staff or volunteers. Encourage them to self-register and investigate the features available on the system.

What about accessible learning? This may be an option for your staff to be curious and browse learning, having control over which courses (outside of mandatory requirements!) they can access.

Exercising choice and control over learning is known to produce higher levels of engagement with the subject matter. Choice and control is also a motivating factor resulting in wider benefits to the business.

Equipping Management to Support Your Curious Culture

Extensive leadership and management courses both face-to-face and online are available to support managers to embed curiosity into their culture. Look out for courses that focus on trust and empowering teams for maximum impact.

Those of you with the relevant resource can design your own bespoke courses and programmes to embed a culture of curiosity across your organisation, which is linked to your organisations specific visions and values.

Shake up your standard agenda items

We’ve all been there, you finally think a meeting is over and then comes the painful list of standard agenda items. Mixing these up a bit can support your organisation to become more curious even through the most process driven of activities. Use ‘how can we encourage employees to engage with Health and Safety training?’ rather than ‘Health and Safety’ to stimulate thinking and discussion.

Ultimately, whether it through the training you deliver or via your practice, L&D teams have the power to foster a culture of curiosity.

If you would like to talk to us about how leadership and management training can support your organisational aims, please get in touch with a member of our team.

Helen McKay Author

Author: Helen McKay

Helen is a Learning Technology Advisor who leads the charity sector strategy, championing the benefits of learning technologies across the third sector. Helen has 10 years’ experience of working with a variety of charities and enjoys volunteering for a number of local charities in her free time.

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