Small Steps, Big Changes

The Challenge of Change

Training and Development professionals know that making big change stick is no easy task. People get comfortable with the way things are. No matter how beneficial change may be, it can be hard to take the first steps. Even motivated learners sometimes struggle to stay engaged. In the L&D industry that challenge is par for the course, and there are more tools than ever to overcome this educational hurdle. One proven strategy is to make small, systematic changes over a set period of time that gradually lead towards a greater goal. 

Big Changes Need Big Timeframes

A runner training for a marathon doesn’t begin with a 24 mile run. An author can’t write a best-selling novel in one sitting. No new manager can take a new eight-point improvement plan and immediately master all eight points. 

No matter the area, real change is a result of repeated small actions over time. For example:

  • Listening more during manager-employee one on ones, one meeting at a time, every time
  • Months of daily training to make a marathon run a reality
  • Choosing a healthy snack to maintain weight loss
  • Keeping to a budget regardless of that special sale or holiday
  • Staying on top of class material to avoid last minute cramming
  • Going to bed and waking up at a regular time to improve health and energy

Big Timeframes Need Big Reinforcement

Any training solution that will actually work needs to include some form of reinforcement for the duration. In an article for Psychology Today Gretchen Rubin suggests it can take over two months to successfully form new positive habits:

“According to a recent study, a daily action like eating fruit at lunch or running for fifteen minutes took an average of sixty-six days to become as much of a habit as it would ever become. However, there was a lot of variation, both among people and among habits – some people are more habit-resistant than others, and some habits are harder to pick up than others.”

Consistent reinforcement is the key to behavior change, but getting that key turned is often expensive, ineffectual, or both. Personal trainers get expensive fast, but anything less than that risks leaving trainees without the support they require. Unless the personal trainer is a chatbot.

Big Reinforcement Needs Chatbots

Conventional wisdom states “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We see the best long-term results when we work together. Like a traditional personal trainer, chatbots can track individual progress and give course correction. They can record performance data and suggest areas of improvement. They can give weekly, daily, even hourly—if needed—reminders and motivation. But unlike a traditional personal trainer, chatbots scale. Once built, chatbots can handle any number of trainees for just the cost of the messages sent. Little, unobtrusive messages that lead to big changes.

Chatbots are flexible, scalable, and attention grabbing. With the freedom to chat where the user already is, be it SMS, Facebook Messenger, Viber, or something else, chatbots can be persistent without being intrusive. This positions them to be uniquely suited to assist with habit formation and training retention. In the results-driven world we live in, chatbots go a long way towards delivering those big changes we’re looking for. Check out this article on 8 Ways Chatbots Are Shaping L&D for more chatbot use cases.