Consumers of corporate training and eLearning (aka. your employees) are changing – fast. Their priorities, training needs, preferences, and learning patterns are diverging from the well-beaten paths we've mapped out in the past.
So, as you're probably wondering from the title, what do today's employee learners want from workplace learning? Well, we're glad you asked...
1) They Want Intuitive and User-Friendly eLearning Courses
Many employees these days are from 'generation Y or Z'. That means that they've grown up with the Internet, had access to it in everything they do, and are early adopters of new technology. Older learners are also becoming more and more technologically literate (even our 86-year-old grandmother uses Facebook!).
Modern workers are used to Amazon, Netflix and Spotify platforms... and they are expecting the same seamless experience while taking a course.
No messy course formats, or complicated navigation, just a smart, great-looking and simple course that delivers the information they need. They want to log in and learn. That’s it!
That means eLearning that's not been thoroughly developed, tested, and re-tested is going to stick out like a sore thumb. It sounds obvious, but where before tech glitches might have been explained away as 'just a bug,' that won't cut it with the modern learner. If you aren't able to make your courses work, they're not going to respect your programs.
2) They Take the 'M' Word Seriously
There are few love affairs more passionate than that between the human race and the mobile phone. No matter who you are, everyone loves their mobile, and a staggering four out of five people even sleep next to their phone.
Today's workplace is more mobile than ever before, so this must be a major consideration when creating your courses - they should be responsive!
Learn more here: Why Responsive eLearning is Essential to Meet Modern Learner Needs
It's time for us as learning professionals to combat this disjunctive and bring our eLearning into the mobile world. If not, we run the risk of being hurled into the abyss of obsolescence, along with the VHS, Mini-disk, and HD-DVD.
What’s a mobile workforce? The concept goes beyond just working from home. According to this article "A mobile workforce combines two things:
1) People working from remote locations – including their home office, co-working spaces, and in customers’ homes and businesses and
2) People getting their work done and staying connected via mobile devices – including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even handheld printers, scanners, and payment technology."
Actually, a study revealed that companies that implement mobile technology for an untethered workforce realized a:
- 67 percent increase in productivity
- 53 percent increase in employee engagement
- 43 percent revenue growth as a direct result.
3) Employees Want to Collaborate and Learn From Their Peers
Collaborative learning moves beyond an instructor-learner model, it's about building connections, fostering interaction, and knowledge sharing between employees in the flow of work. It's then is a great way of fostering a powerful learning culture. But the statistics show that this doesn't translate into corporate training.
Bersin-Deloitte reported that while 87% of workers say sharing knowledge with co-workers is vital for their jobs, only 34% of the L&D organizations they surveyed were investing in social learning tools.
Bersin by Deloitte also reported that learners retain only 5 percent of what they hear and 10 percent of what they read, but they remember more than 50 percent of what they learn through discussion and interaction.
So for engaging today's workforce, it's all about making collective knowledge more available in learning programs, encouraging social interaction, and including flexible collaborative elements.
4) They Want to Access Content In a Split-Second
This should go without saying, but Google is go-to for most questions. Sometimes, this is great, but it can also lead to inaccurate information and less-than-ideal employee education. So we need to avoid the 'Google reflex' by making sure our eLearning programs and training content are easy to find and access. Like, really easy. In big letters. With arrows. We're serious.
1% of a typical workweek is all that employees have to focus on training and development, so make sure you make your eLearning courses on-the-go and easy to access so learners can make learning part of their flow of work.
5) They Want an Experience, Not a Presentation
In the modern world, it's getting more and more difficult to really 'switch off' from the screen. Often we transition from one program to another and one Internet window to another without really focusing. Use experiences, multimedia, and content that speak to all of our senses: this could be music, colors, and interactivity. It's a shame we can't (yet) do smells – my high school English teacher would give us lavender to put in our books, and it really helped get and keep our attention. Music, icebreakers, collaborative games, or video can all be great ways of giving a multi-dimensional eLearning experience.
6) More Than Extraneous Rewards, They Want Real Purpose
Millennials will account for 75% of the workforce in 2025, and despite struggling with debt and the crippling economy that's typified their generation, money isn't going to swing it for them.
We're dealing with a generation who've grown up seeing the effects of corruption and financial turmoil, and they're fed up with it. This has to feed into our training strategy, and rightly so. We need to recognize that workers have never been motivated by just money, but nowadays they are even less so than before. The millennial generation identifies strongly with working for the greater good and making the world a better place. Great, right? This isn't just blabber either – in one study 50% of millennials said they'd prefer to have a lower salary but find a workplace that matches their values, and a staggering 90% said they wanted to use their skills for good.
HR departments need to invest in training that helps learners see the bigger picture – how it will develop their skills, how it can fit into their core values, and what the overall 'why' is. This is no easy feat, but if you can show learners how their learning fits into the jigsaw of their lives, then your learners will be putty in your hands.
Recommended read: 5 Reasons Why Your eLearning Programs Aren’t Working