By Dave Basarab
One of the world’s largest global consulting firms had a training problem. It noticed that its new hire consultants were having difficulty communicating with clients as it related to business and financial acumen. They needed to understand the client’s business language so they could propose the proper products and services. The problem was magnified because the firm was onboarding 150 new consultants annually from around the globe, and costs to bring the new hires to a traditional classroom program were prohibitive. The solution was to implement my Learning Burst training method.
What Is a Learning Burst?
Learning Burst is an innovative, fun, engaging, and memorable way to deliver training by providing learning in short “bursts.” The Learning Burst training method gives participants the opportunity to learn at their convenience, without having to disrupt their daily workflow. A Learning Burst is a combination of an 8- to 10-minute audiocast (in a talk show format) and a PDF workbook of supporting material. At times, simulations and case studies augment the Learning Burst. The workbook material contains further elaboration of the audio topic, a short quiz, and a prompting exercise to help participants consider how they would apply what they’ve learned to the workplace. Audio segments are in a MP3 format and can be played on any compatible player/device. Workbook chapters for each Learning Burst are three to five pages long. Each Learning Burst is a self-contained discussion of a particular topic and can be taken in any order.
A series of 10 to 15 Learning Bursts make up a course. Think of it this way: Each Learning Burst is a mini-course within itself, and when you combine the bursts together, they make up the equivalent of one to two days of training.
Creating a Business Acumen Course
I worked with this company to create a series of 21 Learning Bursts for its new course—Business Acumen: Your Key to Success. We also included a business simulation as part of the Learning Burst package.
Participants: Newly hired consultants, most of whom are recent college graduates majoring in non-business fields (e.g., art, communication, social sciences, engineering); 150-plus trained annually.
Implementation: Participants individually complete 21 Learning Bursts and the business simulation over a six-month period. This assignment is a part of their New Hire Orientation program that includes an orientation to the company and the development of other skills such as marketing, presentation skills, data research and analysis, and client relations. The firm administers a proficiency examination as a check on participant mastery of the material.
This business acumen course provides new hires with key concepts and tools of analysis in accounting and finance that will enhance their job performance and enable them to interact comfortably and effectively with client accounting and finance professionals and senior leaders. The course delivered what the firm needed, allowing participants to:
The new hires were pointed a Website to download all course materials (MP3, workbook, and simulation) to their laptops—usually within two to three weeks of hire. They were instructed to complete the 21 bursts in six months, and then complete an online exam. Passing the exam is part of their employment contract and required to continue with the firm.
The consulting firm quickly realized there were significant benefits to using Learning Bursts, including:
The course is beginning its fifth year of implementation and the results are clear: a cadre of new hires who speak and understand the language of business—and who can conveniently learn anywhere at any time.
Please download the Learning Burst graphic below.
Dave Basarab, a senior learning executive, trainer, evaluator, author, teacher, and thought leader, is the inventor of the Learning Burst methodology. Basarab is the author of the best-seller, “The Training Evaluation Process,” and his newest training evaluation book, “Predictive Evaluation,” spotlights his new model in predicting training success. Basarab’s experience includes senior executive learning, development, and teaching roles at Fortune 100 companies, including Motorola, Ingersoll Rand, NCR, and Pitney Bowes. For more information, visit http://www.davebasarab.com.