Learning Nudges as Training Reinforcement Tools

Corporate learning often requires a bit more than just delivering information. It may be hard to get learners to engage, but also to retain knowledge once they’ve “consumed” the learning. However, one of the biggest challenges is in learning transfer: getting the learners to actually change their behaviours. A possible solution to these challenges is learning nudges. Here’s how to start nudging your learners towards better results.

Learning nudges as engagement tools

The first challenge in corporate learning is to get the learners actually engaging in the process. As organisations digitalise their learning programs, we are seeing an increase in self-paced learning. However, that’s often a challenge for engagement, as the responsibility falls on the individual. People forget learning tasks, or might postpone them due to other work. However, nudges are a good way of getting them back to the process. A simple reminder often goes a long way, and it can be in the form of an email, text message or a notification.

However, you shouldn’t spam either. Rather, it’s important to find the right times to nudge people. For instance, the slow period after the lunch break might be an opportunity to get people to activate themselves on some learning. Or slower periods of business activity might provide an opportunity to invest more time into development.

Nudges as learning retention tools

Learning nudges can also serve as retention tools. Just as demonstrated by the forgetting curve, people forget a lot of the learning unless it’s reinforced. Small nudges, whether it’s quick quizzes, bite-sized resources or self-evaluation questionnaires help to reactivate the previously learnt subject matter. By doing that over time, the knowledge transfers from short-term memory to long-term memory. The spaced learning theory can help to determine the optimal intervals for this type of learning reinforcement.

Driving behavioural change with nudges

Finally, one of the biggest challenges in learning is getting people to actually implement new ways of doing. Even if the learning is highly inspirational, and the learners sees the benefit of doing things in a new way, it’s just too easy and comfortable to go back to the “way this has been done”. Thus, behavioural change requires lots of support. We need to remind people, we need to encourage people and we need to collect and deliver feedback. Positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions can have a considerable impact on people’s behaviour. Learning nudges, on the other hand, are the channel for delivering those. Furthermore, you can also deliver performance oriented nudges without too much prior learning. Helpful resources are always welcome. For instance, you could remind people of the behaviours of top performers in the organisation, with the intention that they’d follow suit.

Final words

Learning nudges are a great tool for re-engaging, reinforcing and driving behavioural change. With the mass of communications tools and channels available today, running good nudging campaigns doesn’t require a lot of resources. If you’re using productivity tools or learning systems, it’s also likely that these have features suitable for nudging. The tools are there, it’s just a matter of smart, unobtrusive design. If you need help in designing learning engagement, reinforcement or behavioural change campaigns, feel free to drop us a note, we might be able to help.

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