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In this modern world, continuous learning and innovation are a must if organizations want to advance and attain a competitive advantage. Organizations spend extensively on learning and development programs. But the problem with traditional training and learning programs is that they rarely result in lasting change. A relatively new organizational learning approach called Learning Dojos are making waves in Agile organizations. Is it time to create a Learning Dojo for your company? How would your teams benefit from a Learning Dojo? 

What is a Learning Dojo?

Dojo means “the place of the Way” in Japanese. It’s a term used in martial arts training. It is literally a place where martial artists train and hone their craft. Think karate, judo, or kendo. This concept has since been applied in industrial applications. It was first introduced in the business world in 2015 by Target CIO, Mike McNamara. More Agile organizations are putting up their own Learning Dojos to provide an avenue for their employees to hone their skills and mindsets in the areas of Lean, Agile, DevOps, and Product Development. 

So, are you thinking if it’s time to create a Learning Dojo for your company? Here are 5 reasons why you should.

5 Reasons Why You Should Create a Learning Dojo for Your Team

Training content is more specific to the work of employees

In traditional training and learning workshops, it’s common to be included with employees that are of a different role or job scope than yours. The training content then is aimed at being more general and should have “shared” outcomes. This makes it harder for concepts to be applied to real-world work situations. 

In a Learning Dojo, the training content is targeted to specific skill sets. This makes it easier for trainees to retain what they’ve learned as they can easily relate and immediately apply what they learned to their work after the training.

Learning is immersive

In Learning Dojos, employees are not given assessments or exams to prove they’ve learned something. They actually do the work. They solve real problems that the team or company is facing. They are given all the tools they need during training and these are the same tools they use to perform their day-to-day jobs. And unlike traditional training events that target individual learning, Dojo trainees work with teams. This social learning structure makes it much easier for employees to learn fast as they get feedback and ideas from peers. 

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Learning is experiential

I don’t know about you but when I think of traditional training events, I think of an expert who talks for hours and teaches what he knows. This type of training style depends solely on the knowledge of experts, instructors, and trainers. When you create a Learning Dojo, you democratize knowledge and learning. You allow your teams to see and experience for themselves while being guided by Dojo coaches. In the Dojo, teams can and will make mistakes but this is all part of the learning experience.

Employees are more focused and committed

Teams in a Learning Dojo will be met with real-life project constraints, problems, and risks. The Dojo essentially mimics the work that awaits teams after they finish training. This pushes employees to be more focused and engaged. 

Another factor that contributes to the heightened focus given by employees is that entering a Dojo and undergoing training takes longer than the usual training course. It can span days to weeks. And this longer immersion increases their focus and commitment to learning.

Change is more long lasting

When you create a Learning Dojo and submit your teams to it, you are essentially creating better performing teams. All the skills, knowledge, and mindsets that they acquire from the Dojo can be applied to their work. Because they’ve had the first-hand experience on how best to do things, it becomes natural for them to execute.

An Alternative to Professional Learning

While traditional training styles still have their place in the world, a Learning Dojo is an effective alternative for professional learning. When you create a Learning Dojo, you are not only investing in your employees’ learning and development. You are investing in your company’s growth and success. There are high demands in today’s business world. And if you want to stay ahead of the game, you must continuously innovate and learn new skills and strategies. Having a Learning Dojo will help you and your teams on this front and will pave the way for your business to tap new horizons. 

So, are you ready to create a Learning Dojo? You can start by reading our Learning Dojo resource

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About the Author: Lena Boiser

Lena Boiser is an Agile enthusiast. Starting off her career as a Software Business Analyst in 2010, she eventually performed other roles including Project Manager and IT Business Manager. When she was immersed in Agile methodologies in 2014, Lena found her way through honing her craft and eventually became a Certified Scrum Product Owner. In 2017, after 7 years of working in the corporate world, Lena started her own remote consulting practice. Today, she provides project management and Scrum Product Ownership services to various businesses including software development companies, e-Commerce business owners, and small to medium sized companies. She believes that even teams working remotely can harness the benefits of Agile in order to deliver results for their companies. In her free time she likes to write. One day she could be writing about Agile, the next she could be writing anything about fashion or travel.