SMART Learning

SMART Learning

The Rhodes Business School ‘SMART’ learning methodology

RBS SMART Learning Methodology

Borrowing from the age old SMART goal setting acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound) Rhodes Business School created its SMART Learning Methodology (the SMART this time meaning Simple & Specific, Measurable & Manager Inclusive, Achievable, Results Oriented, & Time Bound). A somewhat radical approach (that can perhaps be best summed up as ‘learn less, change more’) that encourages training participants not to try to learn everything presented to them in the workshop, rather to work with their manager prior to the training to identify a handful of key learning outcomes specific to their needs.

The methodology is built on the belief that here are several common (but important) flaws in the traditional way that workplace training is conducted that can dramatically limit the transfer of learning to behaviour.

1 The first is that program participants (who often haven’t been in a learning environment for some time) aren’t first taught ‘how to learn’ – i.e. no one can learn ALL the information provided in a full-day workshop – far better to focus on just 3-5 targeted learning outcomes!

2 The second is that they haven’t identified ‘what to learn’ – i.e. what 3-5 key learning outcomes, specific to their needs, should they focus on in the workshop?

3 The third is that they aren’t properly ‘prepared to learn’ – i.e. rather than providing them with the training materials AT the workshop, let them have them BEFORE the workshop so they understand what they’re about to learn and can prepare some appropriate questions related to the key learning outcomes they’ve identified!

4 The fourth is that they don’t have a plan for after the workshop – i.e. how to successfully implement their new learning

5 And the last is that, from identifying the required key learning to measuring their success at implementing it, the participants’ supervisors/managers haven’t been recruited to assist in their learning process (often meaning the managers are negative about their team members participating in training…particularly if it results in little or no change in capability!)


Before embarking on their learning, all Rhodes Business School workshop participants are first provided with advice on ‘how to learn’ and ‘how to implement their learning’.

This simple process starts approximately one week before the workshop by providing them with a straight-forward  topic-relevant survey that encourage them to work with their supervisor/manager to identify three to five key learning outcomes (specific to their personal needs) of the training they’re about to take and score themselves for their current capability in each one.

Participants are then provided with their learning materials BEFORE the workshop in order that they can acquaint themselves with the topic and, more importantly, prepare questions related to their personal targeted learning outcomes.

The final part of a Rhodes Business School workshop focusses on providing the participants with strategies for implementing their targeted learning outcomes and, crucially, how to involve their supervisor/manager in this process.

Finally, at an agreed time after the workshop (typically six to eight weeks) the participant and supervisor/manager are encouraged to again work together to score the participant for the capability in the targeted areas.

This strategy not only provides a clear indicator of the improvement in the participant’s performance and/or capability but is also proven to significantly improve the transfer of learning to increased capability and the positive engagement of supervisors/managers in the learning process.

To find out more about the ways that Rhodes Business School provides the maximum transfer of learning to behaviour and ROI contact us now via the form on the right of this page or via [email protected] or on 1300 RHO AUS / 1300 746 287.

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