Peer Insight Connects Content to Context

Organizations face an urgent need to develop their talent assets at all levels—from developing their employees faster, to preparing them to be effective leaders, to making sure they’re agile enough to lead in a global marketplace. So when I overheard a discussion recently along the lines of, “How can we make our training initiatives more agile and impactful,” I wasn’t necessarily surprised. It’s a question more and more organizations are asking their Learning & Development personnel and suppliers.

      Unfortunately, many are unable to confidently answer the question. The reason being, the talent development industry is once again undergoing a transition. Some might even call it a revolution. And in this murky state, many organizations are searching for new solutions to their age-old problem. What is the best way to develop leaders ready to lead in the 21st Century?

      This position paper will propose a solution to that question.

      If you’re a trainer or instructional designer, your solution, methodology and talking points are well established. A few of the basic tenets include:

  • · Information is king
  • · Training should be consistent and replicable
  • · Training should be scalable
  • · Training is generally linear (1 + 1 = 2)
  • · Knowledge accumulates over time

       The basic principle behind training is represented in this illustration.

 Knowledge Accumulation Over Time

 A common Perception exists that knowledge obtained from training is linear in scope over time. However, a more realistic view looks quite different, suggesting it’s not linear after all. In fact, it suggests that knowledge accumulation ebbs and flows. Why? A primary factor responsible for learning loss can be explained by, “The Forgetting Curve.” The Forgetting Curve simply hypothesizes the decline of memory retention over time when there is no attempt to retain it or use it. It’s illustrated here.

 In simple terms the old axiom, “If you don’t use it – you lose it” applies to training initiatives and knowledge in general.

      Let’s transition now by taking a look at Peer Insight, a peer learning tool. Here, the talking points are quite different. A few basic tenets include:

  • The Forgetting CurvePeer Insight helps students create an emotional connection to the learning
  • Peer Insight challenges the belief systems and behaviors of students
  • Peer Insight creates an environment where studentscan be vulnerable without judgment
  • Peer Insight provides a path to self-insight
  • Peer Insight leverages the knowledge of the group

      The challenge most training initiatives face is figuring out how to make it stick. Having the right content is rarely the challenge. The challenge is incorporating sufficient context into the training initiative. 

In simple terms, training tends to be a Content Rich/Context Light learning environment that disseminates information in search of an application (which may or may not occur). Think of it as information for future use.

Connecting Content to Context

Peer Insight meanwhile is a Content Light/Context Rich format, making it a natural cohort to a Content Rich initiative. In combination, they’re synergistic in scope – thereby enhancing the stickiness of a training initiative.

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How do you change human behavior?

"The active ingredient to large-scale behavior change is facilitating insight in social situations over time. Research points to the importance of a three-step process: seeing something different in a social setting, having an insight about that behavior, and making these types of connections over time. Insight to action causes change. If you have those insights and discuss them in a social setting, you are more likely to want to change."                                                                            David Rock
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From our internal studies, we’ve learned that using training on the front end and augmenting it with Peer Insight on the back end greatly enhances training effectiveness. It’s as if 1 + 1 = 3. In essence, Peer Insight makes training content more real, applicable and relevant. Plus, the impact over time is additive, which is illustrated here. 

Training Augmented with Peer Insight

      Plus, Peer Insight has over 50 Topic Decks to choose from, making it a perfect fit under a wide-variety of scenarios. This makes Peer Insight well aligned with most topic focused training initiatives. In addition, the Peer Insight tool offers numerous benefits related to scalability, cost and most importantly – effectiveness. If an organization has a specific need, Growing Your Leaders also develops custom topic decks.


The need to accelerate, broaden and deepen talent and leadership development at all levels of an organization is mission critical. The challenge being, how to best develop the skills, competencies and capabilities of employees. Growing Your Leaders proposes that Content Rich training should be delivered in tandem with Peer Insight, a Context Rich tool. Plus when Peer Insight is utilized, students are better prepared mentally, emotionally, and interpersonally able to apply their new skills to real world scenarios and problems.