Developing a High-Octane Approach to Learning

The new learning audience is dynamic, mobile and highly sophisticated.
L&D teams must push the envelope
to create new blended learning strategies.

 

Organizations today are quickly understanding that their learning strategies need to be restructured. With changes in how work is performed (telecommuting, globalization, decentralized workforces) and in the learning audience itself (Baby Boomers to Gen Me), organizations face the most complex learning environment ever presented.

The fundamental driver for this quickly increasing level of complexity is that learning in all forms must take a blended approach to attract the learner to want to learn and maximize depth and length of retention. Learning that isn’t appealing to the learner (i.e., fun, interesting and highly relevant to their professional and personal development) will go nowhere.

There are two components to making learning appealing:

  • Learning Content Development, which must employ imagery and mixed media with eye-popping graphics that draw the learner into the subject.
  • Delivery, which must be multi-modal to keep the learner’s attention and make the learning easy to apply. Most importantly, the delivery must be done in a way that provides performance support at the time of need of the learner. The days of the one size fits all course have come to a close.

These principles apply to all forms of learning, including mandatory and compliance training. Just because learning is required doesn’t mean that learners will remember it or apply it – and they will go kicking and screaming into having to participate. The most heavily regulated organization must apply a blended learning strategy that compels people to want to learn and offers an engaging way to do so.

We also must realize that learning is happening all around us in the workplace. In today’s need for learning and training that is relevant and available at the speed of business, employees seek out what they need to know, from whomever has it.

Organizations must understand that the new learning audience is dynamic, mobile and highly sophisticated. Learning and Development teams must push the envelope to create new blended learning strategies that embody an instructional, collaborative and formative approach that attracts and motivates the learner. But do we understand how to develop a high-octane blended learning approach? How do we make sure that this approach is aligned with the needs and compliance requirements of the business?

We must develop learning strategies that include:

  • Multiple modalities that promote and encourage a mix of company and learner-generated content
  • Socialization and discussion around the learning
  • Coaching and mentoring to help reinforce the learning
  • Real-world practical application that encourages learners to embrace a new way of thinking and acting.

Without this approach, learning will just be a “check the box” exercise with no discernable impact on individual or organizational performance.

 

Contributor

Michael_Rochelle_Headshot-073Michael Rochelle
Chief Strategy Officer and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group
Twitter: @MichaelRochelle

Michael oversees consulting, strategic services, and advisory support for Brandon Hall Group members. Michael is also one of the company’s principal analysts covering topics such as learning, talent, sales and marketing, and executive management.

Michael will be the keynote speaker at NextSteps 2016, NetDimensions’ Global User Conference, on April 13th – 15th. Learn more at the NextSteps website.

Learning Portals – Transforming the learner’s experience

The term “learning portal” is used liberally in the training industry, but what does it really mean?

By common definition, a portal is described as a gateway, doorway or entrance. Likewise, in computing it generally refers to a website that provides links or gateways to other websites. This idea affords businesses with the opportunity to consolidate relevant learning resources and tools into one location to accomplish a specific business or learning goal.

So, how is a portal different from a Learning Management System (LMS)? It’s a fair question with a fuzzy answer.

LMS’ such as NetDimensions Talent Suite are highly configurable and are capable of providing a portal-like experience using out-of-the-box functionality. However, organizations commonly configure their LMS as a one-size-fits-all solution to provide a superset of content and tools for many people within the organization, and covering many different subject areas.

A custom portal, on the other hand, provides a learning experience that targets a specific business goal, audience or subject area to deliver a focused, holistic learning solution. Today, we see that businesses are developing portals for multiple subject areas, including:

  • New hire onboarding
  • Sales training
  • Service training
  • Manufacturing training
  • Compliance or technical training
  • Extended enterprise and more

 

So what’s the big deal?

Gamification: The Role of Mobile & Social

The always-on mobile age has reshaped the opportunity for gamification in every interaction in our connected lives. From “checking-in” on Facebook or Yelp to crossing off the latest achievement on our Fitbit, we are ready to highlight our achievements – and become participants in a gamification-driven engagement program.

Additionally, social interactions are common in all gaming platforms and are now expected in gamification mechanics. One of the most common social interactions in gamification is through badging, points, levels, or other social recognition techniques that showcase the skills, competencies, experiences, or accomplishments of users.

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Another social interaction is through challenges or contests against other users and the posting of top achievers on leaderboards or the social sharing of their accomplishments. Both these interactions increase engagement by rewarding (either directly or indirectly) users that perform the desired tasks or engage in the desired behaviors that show an understanding and retention of the training materials.

The confluence of these two trends presents an opportunity to introduce a mobile gamification strategy to your staff development and training programs.

In today’s always-connected age, every mobile employee is generally carrying a smartphone or a tablet and can be drawn into a gamified experience at any time, wherever they are.

Mobile games that include the same actions a learner must perform in real-life can further increase the responsiveness, engagement, and effectiveness levels. Moreover, mobile gamification can incorporate many of the functions and applications found on mobile devices expanding the depth and breadth of the learning experience. For example, use of the device camera to record a learner’s observation about a shop floor process that can be shared on a learning portal for peer-to-peer comment and rating resulting in the reward of points for the level of peer rating received. This type of activity, while not immersive, can draw the learner into the activity and maintain their interest.

Peer to Peer

As you review your mLearning programs, take a fresh look at how you can add gamification elements to the experience. Re-think how the learning experience can be created. You will not only make the learning program more engaging, but will be tapping into two emerging trends in learning and staff development.

For more about Gamification and its potential for learning and development, download our white paper Gamification – Does it have a place in your L&D Content Development?.