What Is The 3x3x3 Approach, And How Can It Help Learners?
As Learning and Development is being entrenched as an indispensable job perk in attracting, retaining, and growing talent, it’s vital to supercharging the learning experiences you offer to your learners. One effective framework that can enhance learning experiences is the 3x3x3 approach to learning. We adapted the model from McKinsey  to the Learning and Development context; the approach can make learning experiences more engaging and learner-centric. This article explores the power of the 3x3x3 approach in Learning and Development and how it can revolutionize your learner journeys.
Set 3 Learning Goals For The Next 3 Months
The first step in this 3x3x3 approach is guiding learners to set three clear and specific learning goals for the next three months. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound to three months. These learning goals will need to be aligned with the learner’s overall big picture, and long-game learning objectives, too. By helping learners define their goals, you help them create a sense of purpose and direction, which motivates them to stay focused and committed to the learning process.
Setting three goals allows learners to balance the depth and breadth of learning. For example, if they’re learning a new programming language, their goals could be to master the fundamentals of coding, build a small pilot project, and solve a small but complex coding challenge. By diversifying their goals around a broad theme, learners can gain a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter while also honing specific skills on the topic.
Offer 3 Different Learning Methods
The next aspect of the 3x3x3 approach is employing three different learning methods. This ensures that learners engage with the material from multiple perspectives and, thus, enhance comprehension and retention. Learning methods can include reading books or articles, watching online videos, attending workshops or webinars, participating in microlearning online courses, joining communities of practice, or even experimenting hands-on with practical projects.
By combining different learning methods, you tap into various learning modalities, such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. You also prompt learners to explore each modality, which brings unique advantages and helps them grasp concepts from different angles. For example, completing a microlearning course on a particular topic provides a structured understanding, while participating in discussions offers the opportunity for learners to exchange ideas and curiosities about their own understanding of the topic. Watching how-to microlearning videos can offer learners practical insights, applications, and use cases on the topic. These modalities and learning methods help learners deepen, broaden, and even personalize their learning experiences.
Offer 3 Pathways To Apply Learning
The final step in the 3x3x3 approach involves practicing three levels of application. Knowledge is most effectively retained and internalized through active application and practice. The three levels of applying learning include:
Repetition is key to reinforcing learning. It plays a vital role in the learning process, offering numerous benefits for comprehension and retention. Foremost, repetition strengthens memory and recall. When information is revisited multiple times, it becomes more ingrained in our neural pathways, facilitating easier retrieval. Repetition also enhances understanding by allowing learners to delve deeper into the subject matter, uncovering nuances and connections that may have been missed initially. Repetition acts as a powerful tool to solidify learning, enhance comprehension, and foster long-term retention. Just like we practice “set and reps” in the gym, practicing repetition helps the learner retain what they are learning. Offer learners opportunities to review and practice the learning material through exercises, quizzes, and gamification. Repetition solidifies concepts and helps them become second nature.
You can offer learners the opportunity to apply the knowledge in practical situations or real-world scenarios. Applying learning through pilots is a strategic and practical approach to testing and refining new concepts, ideas, or initiatives. Pilots allow organizations to gather real-world data, evaluate feasibility, and identify potential challenges before implementing changes on a larger scale. By implementing small-scale trials, organizations can assess the effectiveness and impact of their learning in a controlled environment. Pilots also provide an opportunity to gather feedback from stakeholders, make necessary adjustments, and improve outcomes. This iterative process enables continuous learning, adaptation, and innovation, ensuring that valuable lessons are learned and applied, leading to more informed decision-making and successful implementation of initiatives. This could involve working on pilot projects, solving specific problems, or simulating realistic scenarios. You help learners deepen their understanding and develop practical skills by bridging the gap between theory and practice.
The highest level of mastery comes when learners can effectively teach or share what they have learned with others. Peer-to-peer learning is a dynamic educational approach where individuals learn from and with each other. It emphasizes collaboration, knowledge sharing, and active engagement among peers. In this model, participants take on the roles of both learners and teachers, fostering a supportive and interactive learning environment. Peer-to-peer learning promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and the development of communication and leadership skills. It encourages individuals to take ownership of their learning journey, benefiting from diverse perspectives and experiences. This inclusive and empowering method cultivates a sense of community, enhances motivation, and facilitates the transfer of knowledge in a meaningful and impactful way. Peer-to-peer learning, cohort learning, mentoring, writing blog posts or articles, conducting presentations, leading workshops, and teaching others not only reinforce the learners’ knowledge but also challenge them to articulate ideas clearly, answer questions, and engage with different perspectives.
The 3x3x3 approach to learning offers a structured and comprehensive framework for making learning experiences more engaging and value-adding for your learners. By setting three specific learning goals, utilizing three different learning methods, and practicing three levels of application, you create well-rounded learning experiences for your learners. This approach allows learners to explore a subject in-depth, gain diverse perspectives, and develop practical skills. It promotes active engagement, motivation, and a deep understanding of the material. By adopting the 3x3x3 approach to deliberate learning, you unlock your learners’ full potential and pave the way for continuous growth and lifelong learning, which is foundational to enduring business performance results.