The AFT learning model was designed to solve the problems associated with passive content-based learning. The model is composed of three parts: action, feedback, and trigger. Action represents the action-based lessons, feedback is the feedback given to the learner after the action is performed, and trigger is what causes the cycle to restart by reminding the learner to go back and perform the next action. While it may seem a bit complicated to implement this in your workplace, we’re going to show you how you can adopt this method into your organization in just three simple steps.
Step #1: Turn Lessons into Actions
The first step of the AFT model is to make your lessons action-based. Have your learners complete an activity based on what they’ve learned. Whether it’s placing them in a real-world simulation, having them participate in a group discussion, or asking them to reflect on what they’ve learned – these actions allow the learner to gain real, concrete experience. When creating the lessons, make sure the content is broken down into small chunks that are easy to digest and implement. Actions that are too big won't make learners want to perform them, they'd be too scary. Actions that are small can seem more achievable which is the essence of micro learning.
Step #2: Add Feedback from Managers and Peers
The second step is to give feedback immediately after an action is completed. Feedback can come from peers, coaches, mentors, or managers, which then further increases the learner’s motivation and desire to move forward. Feedback can be effective both online and in-person, as long as communication is fluid, constant, and positive. This continuous exchange of feedback helps build a community. This can be supported by forums and online training groups, allowing peers and mentors to all interact with one another. For example, if a trainee wants to know how their simulated cold call went, through 1:1 coaching, their manager can give feedback with comments and suggestions on how they interacted with the virtual client, what tactics they used, and how they could improve. Other ways feedback can be implemented is through follow-up questions after each lesson and creating a community space for questions and comments.
Step #3: Set Up Triggers
Last but certainly not least, the use of triggers is extremely important to the AFT Model. Different triggers include: push notifications, emails, and reminders, when your learner needs to complete a lesson or a new feature has been rolled out in your program. Once the learner receives their trigger, they are then prompted to finish whatever they started (or start what they should’ve done already!). An important aspect of triggers is making sure they are personalized and by tailoring your trigger to each individual learner, a relationship begins to build, and reminders start to serve a purpose and engage the employee. A great way to add triggers is by reviewing what step learners are at and then sending them a personalized update to get back to learning or asking them how the process has been.
The AFT Learning Model is designed to be easily applicable to the corporate world. These three simple, but effective, steps are the fundamentals of what you need in order to successfully begin training your employees through action-based learning. By turning lessons into actions, implementing feedback from both managers and peers, and setting up triggers, your learners will continue to feel motivated and encouraged throughout their training process.