Posted on 17th January, 2017 by Amber Gallacher
Technology-based training solutions have revolutionised the way employees are now learning how to do their jobs. However, since the learning process requires a lot of time and effort, considering learners’ needs has to to be a high priority if we want the material to be truly effective. The busy working lives of modern employees do not leave much room for them to devote hours and hours to lengthy training courses. Learners want quick, relevant content, which is tailored to them. Hence the need for short elearning courses, also known as microlearning.
Accessible-anywhere mobile learning and on-the-job performance support materials mean that learners can develop work-based skills faster than ever before. While this instant training content is great for time-saving, it’s not necessarily the best way to achieve the true goal of learning: behavioural change. In order to effectively change habits and develop life long skills in learners, the content needs some depth. Not forgetting the all-important preferences of the learners, this deeper material does not have to be time-consuming and boring.
So what counts as deep learning exactly? It involves content which is inspiring rather than informing, memorable rather than monotonous, and stimulating rather than samey. Moreover, it should be challenging enough to keep users engaged and motivated to continue through the learning journey. Content that is too easy is likely to be rushed through and completed without much further thought. If we can motivate learners to think a bit harder about the training they’re faced with, it will help them to absorb the content and has the potential to provoke further discussion.
Providing an opportunity for social learning and the ability to contribute and share with others will actively encourage better retention of information. Towards Maturity’s 2016 In-Focus report states that 77% of employees feel that working with colleagues is an essential part of learning at work. Social learning could present itself in the form of online group discussion or a virtual classroom session. This can not only help towards the deeper learning process, but also create a sense of community in the workplace.
So since bite-size style training has been proven to be what our learners want, but deeper more meaningful pieces are shown to have greater benefits in terms of achieving learning goals and behavioural change, where can there be a compromise? A solution of smaller combined elements, otherwise known as blended learning, could be the key to delivering the right balance of easily digestible but impactful learning. Think part face-to-face sessions, part engaging online content, and part social community-based learning. These are small elements of learning when viewed individually, but when used together they have the potential to really aid the process and facilitate a change in habits.
At LEO Learning, we believe that short elearning courses do not necessarily have to lack depth and impact. If you feel your organisation could benefit from more meaningful learning content, get in touch.