The March Madness of Learning

march madness learningHere we are. Just a few weeks away from one of the most exciting events the annual sports calendar has to offer in the US. Mere weeks away from tip off — from the buzzer beaters, from filling out your bracket, from competing head-to-head with friends, from the theme song that veteran viewers of the spectacle know so well: Dum-duuuu dum-duh duh do duhhhhh…  And who doesn’t love the cast of characters that make up broadcast crews, even including the ads featuring the lovable trio of Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, and Spike Lee.

This is big time. There is so much to look forward to.

In the meantime, here are 4 ways that learning is similar to March Madness.

1) Coaching
This is one of the more obvious similarities between the learning and the march tourney. For those that aren’t privy to the current college basketball climate, a “one-and-done” culture is ubiquitous throughout the NCAA landscape. The motive behind this is that the best players in college typically aspire to make it to the pro level, and to do that they have to spend at least one year at the college level. They want to make it to the league, and they want to reap the hefty monetary benefits that come with being on a roster in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

So, because of this goal we have a culture in place where the best players in college typically leave after a year or two, leaving the coaches with the dilemma of how to replace their production for the following season.

The same could be said of the workforce. Coaches can be represented by anyone in a position of authority, such as an HR training administrator or a marketing manager. Players are the employees that operate under the direction of the higher-ups. In today’s market, it’s commonplace for workers to remain at a company for a shorter period, and then leave for another opportunity. With this increased rate of employee turnover, it is more important than ever to have a strong learning hub in place for new hires. With Litmos, you can create a stable knowledge base for your new learners with our award-winning LMS.

2) Win or Go Home
This is the format of the March Madness tournament, which makes it so exciting. Each team must bring their best to the table each game or else they will be going home. The format is as simple as this slogan in that you must win to advance and if you lose you are eliminated. It is a core ingredient in the madness that is created during the third month of the calendar year.

We can compare this to the interview process. For most entry level or higher positions interviewed for, you will find that there are multiple tiers of interviews. If you think about it, the process of getting through rounds of interviews to winning the championship that is getting the job – is a process quite like basketball teams fighting through team after team to get to the championship. Learning comes into play because to succeed at the interview, you need to get a handle on how to properly communicate and should have multiple soft skills at your disposal. With Litmos, we offer more than 2,000 courses, including topics such as how to be a better presenter and other soft skills.

3) Practice Makes Perfect
Basketball – like all sports – takes practice to perfect and grow in. Every great player needs to set aside the time to hit the weight room, get shots up in the gym, follow their recovery pattern, stay in shape, etc. Bottom line – it takes repetitions and practice to be great. In the classroom, an effective method of learning is through repetition. When I was studying for tests, I would turn to flash cards and repeat self-quizzes until I had everything down. This method helped immensely as I progressed through high school and college.

There is a Litmos feature that can allow you to get those repetitions in. The boost assessments allow you to send assessment questions to learners outside of a course at specified intervals. This helps aid the retention and comprehension of the material for your learners after they are done with the course.

4) Cinderella Stories
For those unfamiliar with the buzzwords surrounding the March Madness tournament, I can see where you would be confused at the mention of a Disney princess in an article about learning and basketball. The phrase “Cinderella story” is well-used in the march madness universe. The genesis of the phrase is when the unassuming protagonist achieves sudden success, a scenario most famously featured in the 1937 Disney film.

In March Madness, this is the low ranked team no-one is talking about. Until they do. It’s team that suddenly starts getting eyeballs because they’re beating teams who should’ve shaken them up and didn’t. It’s the team you have to look up to find out where the school is and next thing you know, they’re in the Elite Eight. In the learning world, this correlates to the applicant in the interview, that took the time to learn new skills, and get the job over what they might perceive as more qualified candidates. We can also view this through a more macro lens, with the smaller company beating out the larger company to establish itself in the industry.