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Is the Modern Learner disrupting L&D?


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DateJuly 12, 2016 Posted by: Marije Nieuwenhuis   Keywords: Alignment, Ambassadors, learner engagement, learners

Speexx offers three tips to help today’s L&D teams adapt to the changing dynamic of today’s workforce and its learning methods.

The L&D sector has changed drastically over the last decade. As the workplace is going through a profound digital transformation, new disrupting technologies have made their way into work and training processes. While most organisations have implemented new tools and strategies in order to keep up with the new developments, there is a lack of true insight that this is not the end of the process or enough to ensure success.

Image: Cambridge Dictionary http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/disrupt

The greater challenge

As a new generation of employees is entering the workplace, we are going through a second stage of the "revolution", a stage driven by a second disrupting factor: the human factor.

This poses an even greater challenge for HR, because when you deal with people, there is no precise recipe for success. Organisations and L&D professionals need to explore the complex ways in which the new generation is changing the industry and the patterns of learning.

A recent research conducted by Deloitte portraits "The Modern Learner", an individual characterised as impatient, easily distracted, with a thirst for learning, but at the same time overwhelmed and often overworked.

The question is how do these characteristics influence the L&D industry? And how can organisations get ahead of the game, driving the "revolution", rather than trying to keep up?

1. Redesign the learning cycle

Learning used to be seen as a long term process which required consistency, repetition and time to settle. While all that is still true, the reality is that the digital learners are more impatient and expect shorter learning cycles. Deloitte's study shows that most learners will not watch videos longer than 4 minutes. This is why trends such as micro-learning are becoming relevant. The modern learner is no longer willing to commit to a learning process which requires his attention for several hours.

2. Woo the learner

A few years ago, the question was how to provide better content for learners. How to convince employees to learn? This is no longer the case. The new generation wants to learn, but they are often overwhelmed with information. Also, their attention span is considerably smaller, with data showing that a user only spends 5 to 10 seconds on a webpage.

This means that L&D now needs to stand out in order to win and keep the attention and interest of learners. We need to design learning blends that are not only efficient, but also attractive to learners. This change is already taking place through the gamification of L&D. By offering the same content, but shaped as a game, eLearning is now triggering the emotional side of learners, which keeps them actively engaged for longer. Make learning appealing and they will notice you, make it fun and they will love you!

3. Be flexible

30% of full time employees do most of their work in a different location than the employer's office. In addition, employees are moving away from a fixed work spot and their working days are fast paced. Flexibility is therefore the key. Organisations need to reach learners wherever they are. They have to provide solutions (such as mobile learning) for all possible scenarios: working in between flights, or to someone working in a remote location without an internet connection.

As Deloitte's study also shows, the Modern Learner is motivated to develop and implement his/her skills (60% of IT professionals have paid for their training themselves). L&D specialists and organisations need to meet them halfway. They need to build and secure the proper context for successful learning to take place. This includes the technology, the necessary time as well as a tailor-made learning path for each employee.

The key is to understand your learners, see how they think and what their needs are. Step into the shoes of the Modern Learner and design your L&D strategy accordingly, understanding the significance and complexity of the disruptions taking place in the learning process.

Find out how well you're addressing the needs of learners with the Towards Maturity Benchmark

Stepping into the place of the people you are responsible for and looking at the bigger picture, can be the source of a real headache. That's why we created the Towards Maturity Benchmark - a structured framework that enables L&D and HR leaders to identify priorities and create an action plan to bring tangible results in the workplace.

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