The following post was featured in eLearning Industry on February 20th, 2015.
These days, finding out almost anything is easy. Want to know the answer to a question? Just Google it. Want to get career advice? Poll your peers on LinkedIn. Need to see the latest breaking news? Watch it broadcast online.
While this type of immediate access to information has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks. Employer and employee expectations are out of synch. Employers have higher expectations on staff to remain in the know. Yet, they often do not provide employees with instant access to the information they need. Employees expect the information they require should be at their fingertips. When it isn’t, they search outside the organization to get it.
This conflict poses a huge challenge for those responsible for corporate training because they can no longer control the information employees receive and there is an increasing risk that the information they uncover themselves is outdated or completely inaccurate.
Besides these misaligned expectations, today’s information deluge means employees face more distractions than ever before that interfere with daily tasks. Incoming tweets, emails and texts, combined with websites, videos and apps all vie for learners’ attention. In fact, throughout the workday, interruptions disturb employees as frequently as every five minutes and two thirds of knowledge workers complain they don’t have time to do their jobs (according to the “Meet the Modern Learner” infographic by Bersin).
With competing demands and constant disruptions, it’s no wonder employees feel distracted, impatient and overwhelmed as they try to keep their heads above water. Not surprisingly, for professionals responsible for corporate training, capturing the time and attention of today’s modern learners as well as ensuring the information is correct and consistent, becomes an almost impossible task.
By joining modern learners on their own turf and adjusting for shorter attention spans, increasing job demands and information overload, modern trainers can engage modern learners in new and more effective ways. Here’s how:
6 Ways To Engage The Modern Learners
- GO On-Demand
Gone are the days of scheduling training sessions at a single time and location. Web-based eLearning apps that modern learners can access from desktops, tablets or mobile phones make it simple to participate in training whether they’re in the office or working remotely. Making learning accessible anywhere and anytime also means employees don’t have to travel to training sessions to get the information they need to be successful in their jobs.
- GO Short
“I don’t have time!” is a common complaint from learners who believe training takes them away from completing important job functions. Offering online training in short five-minute bursts each day means employees can increase their knowledge on an ongoing basis over time without feeling overwhelmed and without impacting their regular job duties. Chunking training information into bite-sized pieces also makes it more manageable for learners to digest—allowing them to be more open to receiving training in the first place.
- GO Personal
Employees learn differently, at their own pace. Using adaptive eLearning technology provides individuals with the training information they need at the time they need it. This eLearning technology also allows content to adjust according to learners’ roles and competency levels on various topics. Depending on how learners answer questions, the material changes to either re-educate them on certain subjects or reinforce information they already know. By creating a personalized knowledge map, this type of eLearning technology can track learners’ progression over time and also help them master topics that are integral to job performance. Learners who have more knowledge have higher rates of individual success, which translates into increased success for the organization as well.
- GO Interactive
Traditional classroom-based training or online course delivery requires employees to do a lot of listening. The large amount of material covered, combined with increasingly short-attention spans, results in learners not retaining enough information to apply it on the job. Even when information is presented in shorter formats, research indicates learners will begin to forget what they learned almost immediately after the event. More than ninety percent of the material they learned will be forgotten in as little as a month. Technology that allows modern learners to take a more active role in their learning (by asking them to click on answers to multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks or match responses) drives participation, engagement and long-term memory. It also reinforces the information in the brain so learners have a lesser chance of forgetting the material completely.
- GO Fun
Mention training and you’ll likely hear a lot of groans. But make it fun and learners are much more receptive. Taking advantage of eLearning technology that applies game-based learning techniques is a great way to connect with modern learners at every age and role in an engaging and entertaining way. eLearning technology that incorporates gamification is key to making the learning experience enjoyable and drives high participation. Examples of gamification include games and activities that allow learners to overcome challenges, offer the chance to compete with other learners and give them the opportunity to earn points or rewards for their efforts. Additionally, incorporating leaderboards and other stats so modern learners can review individual performance and see how they measure up against their peers, is a great way to take advantage of gamification elements in eLearning Technology.
- GO Long Term
Training sessions can’t make a positive impact if learners cannot recall and apply the information after they have learned it. Turning to eLearning technology that incorporates repeated retrieval—the practice of learning a concept, testing recall of that information, reviewing the concept again and then testing recall again—ensures modern learners maintain their knowledge and solidify it in memory over the long term. Additionally, eLearning technology that uses questions to challenge learners to recall information at different intervals (e.g. days, weeks, months, etc.) increases information retention. Research shows memory retention improves as the time intervals between the information increases, stimulating the brain to remember.
Written by Carol Leaman