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10 Things Modern L&D Professionals Should Be Doing

As learning leaders, if we want to improve engagement, create memorable learning experiences and improve ROI from our training initiatives, we need to get even more creative in capturing our audience’s attention and keeping them coming back for more. Instead of simply coming up with a course and telling people to take it, we serve ourselves and our audience better by finding ways to inject a learning spirit into the company. 

These are the top 10 learning and development priorities we think every training leader should be focusing on this 2021 and beyond:  

1) Creating personalized learning experiences

Modern workers are used to being able to access information when and how they want it. This makes the traditional “one size fits all approach” outdated and ineffective. We, as learning leaders, need to concentrate our efforts on providing tools for learners to access content on their own. We need to get up to speed with learner’s expectations and create eLearning courses that are personalized and centered on them and their goals.

Things like video, social information sharing, and on-demand courses are now the norm along with creating content that helps employees meet their professional goals. Employees know they need skills to advance and they want to feel like the courses they take will help get them there.

New technology is making it easier to create programs that are centered on individual learning paths. Short modules and options to learn when, where, and how a person wants to are all attractive to learners and should be incorporated by designers.

Recommended reads:

Learner Experience Mapping: Building Personalized “Learner-centric” Experiences 

The Rapid Rise of Learning Pathways

 

2) Evolving from "e" to "m"

Learning can literally happen anywhere now, and a recent study conducted by LinkedIn showed that over half of learners engage at the point of need, meaning at the time they need the information. Others do it during a commute, in their free time or at their desk. Learners are used to being able to access information 24/7, and you need to make your learning programs available in this way too.

To achieve this, we need to leverage the abilities of mobile devices. Taking advantage of mobile interactions like swiping and pinching will also help attract reluctant employees. Learning leaders that adopt a mobile mindset will disrupt and make an impact on their audience.

Also read: 5 Essential Mobile Learning Design Rules You Should Be Following

3) Tracking All Learning Experiences

Today all learning activities (both online and offline) are easy to track using the xAPI. Just like Google keeps track of what search and do online, the xAPI lets technogies like the LRS (learning record store) track of all of your employees digital learning activities at work.

Reading an article, attending a meeting, watching a video, taking a course – every each of these actions is now considered a learning activity at work.

In the SCORM era, learning leaders could only monitor what you learners did in a traditional eLearning course. Hower,  with xAPI, a new world of possibilities is now available today to have a holistic view of the entire workplace learning ecosystem.

Also read: The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things We Have Learned


4) Thinking More Doing, Less Memorizing

With the massive amounts of information at students’ disposal these days, it has become far less important for them to memorize things and far more important for them to TAKE ACTION, and know HOW and WHEN to use the information once they have it. Your eLearning courses should be designed to encourage asking questions, drawing conclusions and developing critical thinking.

Sharing content in multiple formats like text, audio, or video is still important, but any piece of content must be followed by prompts that request your emplooyees to retrieve or recall the information previously shared. 

Other ideas: You can encourage learners to reflect and discuss. For instance, have a forum to reflect, debate, connect ideas, etc.

Read more: Start Thinking Micro Learning Moments Now

5) Collaborative Knowledge and Skill Development

The workforce is more diverse than ever with a much greater range of ages represented. Encouraging sharing of knowledge is what will set the modern workplace apart from that of the past. Learning programs that encourage information sharing from peers and mentors will leverage the learning experience that most of your students are already doing.

Tools like forum discussions, podcasts, collaborative resources like wikis and other interactive means are what will set you courses apart from old, one-way lessons. If you’re still not convinced, consider that people will still share, learn and comment whether your course has an outlet or not. Giving your learners a simple way to interact will benefit you and them.

“87% of employees say that sharing knowledge with their team is critical for learning” Tauber, T. 2015. Investing in Learning Content: Redefining Priorities to Keep Up with the Modern Learner. Bersin by Deloitte, 2015.

 

6) Gamifying learning 

What do people like more than learning? That’s right, playing! So, incorporating game elements like rewards and levels into your eLearning course is a good way to get people to engage.

However, it’s more than just making a course more fun. It’s about providing feedback and clear markers of progress. This is something modern learners are far more used to and expectant of than previous generations.  All of this adds up to making learning more exciting and engaging which, in turn, makes it more memorable and more likely for students to continue through.

Note: To do this successfully, you have to involve gaming elements judiciously and intelligently. The game aspects shouldn’t overshadow the content itself.

Read more: Before Gamifying eLearning, Read this! 

7) More Than Courses, Designing Learning Experiences

In order to decide what will work for your eLearning courses, look to what consumers are already engaging in. The answer? Experience. Experience is far more important to learners than a single event, and your, course should reflect that.

Digital tools and platforms are making it possible to create a far more immersive learning experience. This is exceptionally true for Virtual Reality technology which is becoming more advanced and more prevalent. The immersive experience of VR allows learners to interact as if they were more of an assistant or apprentice versus a student in a classroom.

This technology is exploding and will continue to grow, becoming more and more relevant for training in the medical field and other jobs that are learned best through hands-on interaction.

Also read:

8) Curating Relevant Content Quickly

eLearning designers are no longer simply developing courses; they are becoming content curators too. Remember your course is in competition with all the other information that the Internet can spew back at your students. Embrace this fact and curate important content to stand up to all the other distractions learners have. 

You can’t control learning as you once may have been able to. Your students are not restricted to the information you lay out for them because there are always a million more things they can look at online. To leverage this, you need to pick and choose your content to provide structure and a path to improvement.

Read more:

9) Adopting New Mindset: Invisible Learning

Invisible learning, surprisingly, is not a course from Hogwarts, but instead a way of learning that works in the background. Instead of using learning as a separate entity, companies are beginning to treat it as a mindset.

Our growing need and ability to incorporate learning into what workers already do, creates a kind of continuous learning environment where we train the way people think. This makes learning more natural and less tiresome than older ways of learning.

This is part of the evolution that will make learning and working part of each other, versus separate entities. Workers will no longer feel like they are being forced to take time out of work or their personal time to learn because the learning will be automatic and built-in.

As knowledge and networking become more powerful and important, companies should strive to integrate learning with work to create a stronger workforce.

Read more on invisible learning here:

10) Doing More Micro Video 

Videos are nothing new in the L&D world, but we’re learning that short videos, specifically, are far more effective than longer ones. Less than a minute is the magic number for learners whose attention spans are as short as their time limits. This forces us to produce more concise and efficient visuals which are a good thing…promise. 

Read more: How Can You Use Interactive Videos For Microlearning-Based Training


Take these trends point by point and brainstorm ways to incorporate them into your learning strategy. Think about how you’d like them to be incorporated into a lesson you had to learn too.  

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