Multi-channel learning | An exciting capability that is emerging is that of ‘multichannel learning’. As we approach 2020, not only do we need to recognize that our customers are using multi-channel and multiple devices to network, work and learn, but so are our employees. There are in fact, new pedagogical techniques that aim to improve the process of learning and teaching using multiple channels. It won’t come as a surprise, people learn in different ways and new generations learn using blended learning methodologies, if not in totally digital ways.
What is multi-channel learning?
You guessed it – learning through multiple channels!
The Multi-channel learning system is a deliberate, planned configuration to create the sync and synergize the power of various media to achieve optimal learning.
For people who are comfortable with the written word, like bloggers, adding some video might be the ticket. If you’re a podcaster, maybe a post would help.
Using video, eLearning, audio scripts and printable documents is one example of a multichannel approach. The choice of channels, like with customers, needs to be the learners’ preferred channels. A landscape analysis is a recommended first step. Ask your learners where they spend most of their day. A recent example with a pharma salesforce was revealed that they spent most of the day within their CRM and rearely logged on to their laptop.
So, how can that information be leveraged to provide access to new information and engage them in new learning opportunities? What if audio podcasts were embedded into the CRM coaching area, relating to some selling techniques or CRM utilisation – an expansion of the help function?
Another case in point, is that sales representatives use their iPads and iPhones throughout every day all day. So, could tweet selling tips or other relevant topics? Would a library of 15 second videos be useful in a learning library be useful to those in the field on these devices?
The recommendation is to apply the same principles as with a brand strategy and tactic – get to know your customer and their preferred communication channels and what content is compelling enough that they will reach out to channel to consume content. Create an omni-channel strategy driven by content marketing principles, and get to work to create a seamless superior user experience. Instructional design tailored to the media and the learning style will come as part of that process.
Learning is a continuous process
Learning is both a deliberate and not deliberate process throughout life, for example, learning on the job incidentally through problem solving. To quote another – learning is from the womb to the tomb! We learn as adults through formal classes, coaching, on-the-job experiences, colleagues, journals and news articles, on-line blogs and white papers to name only a few examples. We are by default, multi-channel learners. Unfortunately, these different channels and sources can create disharmony as different sources of information are consumed that can contradict.
Multi-channel learning is a deliberate use of multi-sensory channels to teach concepts and enable practice and application. The channels should provide a seamless interaction and reinforce each other to optimise learning. If the solution is sophisticated enough, it should enable the learner to customise the experience to their channel preferences and learning style, creating an individualised roadmap.
The critical success factor in a multichannel learning program is purposefulness or the ‘why’ behind the learning opportunity. Learning solutions are more successful if the learner knows why they are learning and what the application of learning will achieve for them and the organisation.
Need to change a light bulb in your stove exhaust system? Check out YouTube. There is sure to be a video on there to not just tell you how, but also show you how.
We have previously discussed on this blog site, the concept of Mobile Learning, referred to as ‘mLearning’. It was in that same blog we introduced the concept of social learning - Social Learning is the process of learning through social interaction between colleagues. It bridges the gap between formal and informal learning, and is often in real time on the job.
The ‘learning organisation’ is almost a catch phrase for most organisations’ HR departments and included in the corporate strategy. However, the reality is that every organisation needs to have a culture of continuous learning to keep up, maintain and protect, and of course grow. The 70:20:10 model is so much more relevant now than ever before – 70% of learning happens on the job, 20% through coaching, and 10% of learning happens through formal learning programmes. Learning through social media is open, available, accessible, and informal. However, information overload and fragmentation of information are common symptoms.
This is where an organisational focused social learning can play a role.
Some simple techniques are:
- Post learning content in a conversation, for example, on the company intranet discussion forum (or start one), or link existing conversations to reinforce the concepts. Re-share relevant material;
- Have a variety of materials within a learning solution for example, eLearning, a discussion forum, video material, downloadable documents, training bites via text messages, quizzes, summarised info-graphics etc;
- Use technology like the intranet or corporate social media tools like Yammer to deliver social learning on scale;
- Encourage a culture of peer review. This can operate a little like Wikipedia - to co-create the learning experience and draw upon the wisdom-of-the-crowd inside the corporate walls.
Ensure the organisation is well informed and excited about the new multichannel learning strategy, with a belief in the potential benefits for individuals and the organisation. Devise ways to drive a culture of continuous learning and learning using a variety of channels and devices. Don’t under-estimate the mindset needed to change. People need to see value in these new ways of learning and the confidence in the recognition of valid learning, as oppose to formal learning programs that can be recorded as completed and referenced. Help employees become self-directed learners.
Start small and lead from the top with a pilot.
If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando.
The Actando Consulting Team