“Modern corporate learners” are an enigma.
They want to learn but abhor classroom training.
They crave deep learning experiences but do not want to sit for too long to “study.”
This gives headaches to many L&D professionals. They have a hard time figuring out how to connect with their “enigmatic” audiences and make them pay heed to their messages.
But L&D professionals do have one thing clear: the traditional didactic models of learning have outlived their needs. They need newer training models to connect with the modern corporate learner. They need to design learning content to appeal to their learners—a demanding breed that wants training to be developed and delivered considering their lives, likes, and routines.
To help them out in this endeavor, here are six proven ways to create content that talks to and CONNECTS with corporate eLearners:
1) Create RELEVANT content.
Modern learners demand value from the training they go through. If they do not get a whiff of “relevance” or see a trace of “context” in a course, they do not think twice before leaving (or just clicking next to complete it quickly).
The themes here are “relevance” and “context.” They create engagement and memorability. They add value to a course. They give learners compelling reasons to look forward to and sit through your course.
As an L&D professional, you must ensure that you pack every course you create with meaning. Else you risk losing your learners.
Below are some tips on how you can create relevant and contextual courses:
- Listen and understand your learners. Connection comes from thoughtfulness. When you put in the effort to understand what your audience really needs, you can deliver content that makes sense to them and talks to their hearts.
- Talk to your learners to find out about their workplace woes, their professional aspirations, and the success stories that inspire them. Now create stories out of these and include them in your course. This personal touch will endear you to your audience and have them hanging on to your every word.
- Take cues from your audience’s lives and create realistic scenarios out of these. When learners see snippets of their lives and glimpses of their dreams in your course, they will have the emotional motivation to engage more.
- Provide concrete solutions that solve the real-world problems of your learners.
2) Create CRISP content
If you had to describe the modern corporate learner in two words, it would be “busy” and “distracted.”
Your audience is too busy to spend hours sitting through an eLearning course. Your audience has too many goals to meet and ample deadlines to keep up with. They don’t want to wade through a tome of information to get to what they want to know. If you dish out useless information to them, expect your courses to be tossed away.
Bite-sized learning is the norm today.
According to research, microlearning produces 17 percent more efficient transfer of learning from the classroom to the desk than traditional learning. We remember more when information is delivered to us in small (digestible) chunks.
Microlearning is also 30 percent more cost-effective than providing classroom-based training. You can develop and roll out these bite-sized courses faster than creating hour-long learning modules and then organizing classroom-training sessions to deliver them. Bite-sized learning modules can also be created at a fraction of what it costs to design and develop traditional eLearning courses.
Here are some tips on creating effective bite-sized learning modules:
- Create microlearning modules that deliver only relevant information. Don’t give in to the temptation to overload your course with nice-to-know information that learners would prefer not to know.
- Design and format your bite-sized sessions so that you can deliver them on mobile devices. Mobile learning paves the way for you to provide just-in-time content, which is the way the modern corporate learner is used to consume information.
- Create a learning program that facilitates frequent delivery of these bite-sized modules. Repetition reinforces the learning.
3) Make them SHARE-WORTHY
Think for a moment what posts do you share most on Facebook. Think about the blogs you comment on. Remember those books and movies that touched you the most. They all have one thing in common—they stirred your heart and roused powerful waves of emotions in you.
Social media provides plenty of examples of “viral” content—content that garners hundreds and thousands of views, likes, and shares within a short time.
As a learning manager, you too want to create such share-worthy content, learning that gets talked about, and courses that learners willingly and happily engage with.
Here are a few tips on how to create riveting content that engages the modern corporate learner:
- Create content that stirs powerful emotions in your audience. Think stories, for example.
- Present information using form or media that naturally engage the senses. For instance, you can create games out of information or reformat textual content into an animated video.
- Create content keeping in mind that your learners have short attention spans. Cut to the chase right away.
- Create immersive experiential learning experiences that enhance relevance.
Reality Byte: Remember those campaigns by Dove and WWF? “Choose Beautiful” and “The Last Selfie” went viral because they tickled the emotions and tugged at the heartstrings of the audience.
4) Deliver ON-DEMAND content
Modern corporate learners were raised on a diet of Google. They know they can lay their hands on information and knowledge whenever they need it. They do not need to learn and memorize information now just because they “might” need it some day in the distant future.
Modern corporate learners demand the same degree of accessibility when it comes to learning at work. They want information at the moment of need, anywhere, anytime. According to research, learning is most effective when learners are “compelled” to learn from a pressing need.
Learning when one needs to is also effective because it avoids “learning loss.” We tend to forget information and lose our skills when we cannot apply these right after we have learned them.
Create on-demand content keeping in mind the following tips:
- Create content for mobile devices. Learners want to access information even when they are on the move.
- Create microlearning modules. These make it effortless to consume content on the go and comprehend it.
- Offer self-paced eLearning courses. Autonomy appeals to the modern corporate learner who is accustomed to being in charge of how he or she consumes content.
- Use advanced search and indexing features to make content easily accessible. You might also consider incorporating bookmarking features to help learners organize and manage their lessons.
Reality Byte: Netflix exemplifies the concept of delivering content on demand to an audience that thrives on instant gratification and total personal autonomy. Viewers don’t have wait for a week to catch what happens next on their favorite TV show because Netflix makes available the episodes (ad-free, too) for them to gulp down a whole season in one evening.
5) Create PERSONALIZED and MOBILIZED content.
According to Bersin by Deloitte, more than 70 percent of workers use mobile devices to look up information relevant to their work. The modern corporate learner wants to be served information Just in Time, and he or she is increasingly using the smartphone or tablet to find instant solutions to unexpected problems.
As a learning manager, you MUST be there for your audience when they search for information. Mobile learning is no longer an option! Create effective mobile content with the following tips:
- Create content that can be accessed on ANY device. This means you have to account for different screen sizes, diverse resolutions, and a myriad of functionalities. Use an authoring tool like SHIFT.
- Allow learners to choose their own path. For instance, provide them with the option to skip modules, so they don’t waste time relearning what they already know. This magnifies the sense of autonomy and makes learning more compelling.
- Consider delivering boring or dense topics like compliance training on mobile devices. Your learners will appreciate being able to take these courses in their downtimes or sitting on the sofa at home.
Reality Byte: Check this post to learn how organizations around the world are utilizing mobile learning to deliver on-demand, relevant content to their audience.
6) Include SOCIAL elements in the content
It is an increasingly social world out there. Your learners are busy; this is probably why they crave social interactions more than anyone else. And yes, they want to be “social” even when they are at work.
Your learners want to share knowledge and experiences with their peers. They also want to be able to seek out experts within their niche to ask for advice and guidance. And they want to do all these without venturing out of their offices. They want to network on a virtual platform.
Incorporating virtual networking within the learning environment improves learner engagement.
Here are some tips on how to incorporate the “social” within the learning content:
- Create a social learning platform and ensure your audience can access it easily and at will.
- Make sure your virtual platform has an intuitive interface that makes it easy for users to find other specific users and interact with them. Else, provide a detailed guideline on how to navigate the platform.
- Ensure that your platform has advanced social features like linking user communities. The more the opportunities for creating connections, the more robust is the P2P network.
- Create an environment to encourage learners to share their knowledge and expertise.
Reality Byte: Yammer is a case in point. This platform facilitates conversation and sharing of information between different departments. Here users can create groups based on shared interests, post questions for other members to answers, and upload projects to garner feedback.
To connect with the modern corporate learner, you have to come across as a friendly, helpful entity that has his best interests in your heart. This means talking to them in the language that they understand and providing them with the answers and solutions that will help them advance in their career. Let your courses do the talking for you. Create relevant, meaningful courses and deliver these to your audience just when they need it.