The learning landscape is changing...
Corporate learning solutions are being challenged to evolve. An increasingly mobile workforce coupled with continuous advances in technology is leading us to ask how to provide engaging and effective learning programs that are sustainable in the foreseeable future. A continuous learning culture is the ultimate goal for most organisations, as the lifespan of skills is much shorter in today’s dynamic environment. Making training accessible, meaningful and effective takes some planning and commitment from the top, and a thoughtful approach to the partnering of technology and learning programs is valuable.
We take into account several key changes in learning approaches in recent times. Fist, mobile and social learning are experiencing organic growth as more employees take the lead on their personal learning journey. Social learning through observation, asking questions and interacting with other learners is one of the oldest recognised forms of learning, and arguably one of the most effective. Some organisations are adding to social learning by leveraging subject matter experts in live chat platforms to further benefit from this real-time learning experience.
A barrage of information from multiple sources may be normal today, but it does not mean that people are learning. If our goal is to accelerate learning to improve the overall quality of work performed by employees, we need to reconsider how to help people learn.
Then to Now
There are 4 well-known learning styles according to the VARK model: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinaesthetic. Each learning style responds best to a different method of teaching. Auditory learners will remember information better if they repeat it out loud or listen to audio replays, while kinaesthetic learners respond more to hands-on activities.
How can we continue to benefit from time-tested methods such as apprenticeships while making the best use of audience mobility and technological advances? eLearning is typically part of any learning solution today, and it remains a cost-effective way to deliver training. Done well, eLearning can cover a lot of information and concepts, while allowing learners to self-assess their progress and review important or challenging topics or chapters. But how to take the next step, ensuring that learners remember and apply the concepts? Unless the information is used in some way relatively soon, recipients will forget it. Remember the strength of traditional learning solutions involving apprenticeship or immediate active application of skills? Today we can replicate this experience with simulation-based social learning, an effective and engaging platform for the application of knowledge in a safe and fun environment.
It seems that today’s learner needs new skills to really benefit from what may feel like a bombardment of information. Trainers can help by:
- Guiding learners to develop filters to discard what is not immediately needed;
- Provide the opportunity to immediately apply concepts to real-world situations;
- Give the opportunity to practice and gain feedback in a safe, fun and challenging environment [enable learners to iterate, iterate, iterate];
- Remind learners that knowledge is not about knowing, but rather the ability to apply knowledge.
Technology that helps
Today’s learner is mobile and device-savvy, meaning learning needs to be accessible anywhere anytime. Don’t forget about the suitability of the LMS – is it well-adapted to multiple devices and part of, or an extension of, a learning ecosystem and experience? The best learning programs are ineffective without the support of a well-designed and configured LMS.
There is little doubt that video provides an excellent mix of entertainment, information and rich content that engages learners. Consider how best to use it in your learning programs – it can alleviate boredom and make the learning experience more relatable.
Gamification is a welcome component to all audiences, whether newcomers or the more experienced workforce and it is a natural extension of other learning options. According to Forbes, [when commenting on the 2019 learning trends to watch out for], claims badges, points, leader boards, and community engagement motivate even the most jaded learner!
Adaptive learning uses AI to provide customised, personalised and responsive learning opportunities. Virtual and augmented reality are emerging as tools that increase learner engagement.
Importantly, usability remains the key driver of the uptake of new technologies. Also, just as for our external customers, relevant content is a critical success factor of learning that sticks!
Time to Learn
The 2018 LinkedIn Learning Report, indicated that learners don’t always want to learn only at home or only at work and may be quite open to accessing learning from multiple platforms. Organisations are moving away from the objective to provide top-down-learning solutions via large training departments, to empowering the employees to lead their personal learning path. However, the number 1 challenge, according to this 2018 LinkedIn Learning Report, is that while 68% prefer to learn at work, people also find it hard to make time for learning. The second biggest challenge cited is getting leaders to take an active role, even though employees would like input from their manager on what to learn.
It is the blend of technology, content, application and social interaction that will form the recipe for success. Putting the learner at the centre of the experience will ensure the right content, the right channel at the right time, and sets the learning experience up for optimal return.
If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando.
The Actando Consulting Team