Benefits of Instructor-led Facilitation in Online Learning

Instructor-led facilitation in digital learning

Benefits of Instructor-led Facilitation in Online Learning

When transitioning from offline to online learning methods, organisations tend to overlook the role and value-add of the instructor. While the underlying reasons for digitalisation of learning are often related to scalability and flexibility, efficacy should not be forgotten. Generally, self-paced learning forms a major part of the online learning delivery. However, in many cases, the engagement rates and learning results leave a lot to be desired. Hence, we are seeing more and more blended learning and other hybrid approaches take form. In the interest of improving learning results while retaining scalability and flexibility, instructor-led facilitation is a great approach. Here are a few key benefits and ways of making the most out of instructor-led facilitation.

Instructor-led facilitation of discussions among learners

Just like in the classroom, a lot of the power of instructor lies in their ability to facilitate discussions among learners. As learning is fundamentally a social experience, discussions are very important. Not only do they seem to increase learning retention by a wide margin, but they also help learners to expose themselves to new thoughts. This consequently helps them to reflect and improve their cognition of the problem or topic at hand. Ultimately, this should result in increased social presence and more comprehensive understanding of the learning.

Thus, organisations should enable their trainers to become champions of instructor-led facilitation. Having access to different features of social learning platforms can help a lot in this regard. You may even adjust the mix of learning towards less content and more discussion. While this helps to avoid learners’ cognitive overload, it also helps to increase efficiency. Often in corporate learning, the problem is not the width but the depth. An approach like this helps in just that.

Delivering the right amount of ‘Push’ to keep learners engaged

While ‘pushing’ learning content may not usually be the best approach, a ‘push’ from a learning management perspective can prove valuable. From time to time, learners may drift away from the intended schedules and goals. In a sheep herder like fashion, one goal of instructor-led facilitation should be to bring these learners back to the fold. However, the approach should not be forceful. Rather, the facilitators should engage the learners and figure out why they’re not partaking in the optimal manner. Once you understand the root causes of why learning engagement is decreasing, you can adapt your delivery to solve those problems.

Digital platforms provide a lot of opportunities in delivering the discreet ‘push’. At large organisational scales, you can automate a fair bit of it, and even deploy artificial intelligence tools to aid. However, there’s value in the personal approach too, which should not be blindly dismissed.

Instructor-led facilitation as a medium of learning support

Finally, the third major benefit of an instructor-led facilitation approach is support. Like in traditional instructor-led settings, learners clearly benefit from the ability to ask questions. This means providing a platform for learners to engage with the instructor when having problems; not understanding content, goals or responsibilities. All learners are not comfortable in posing questions publicly. Furthermore, many learners may rather just leave it be, rather than going out of their way to ask the trainer. Hence, it’s important to provide a seamless and fluid way of teacher-student interaction. This way, you’ll ensure that learners don’t give up too easily.

Here are a few examples of learning support tools and mediums that may help you.

Do you need help in enabling social interactivity in your digital learning delivery? We can advise you on technological tools as well as methods of incorporating instructor-led facilitation in your online learning. Just contact us here

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Digitalising Onboarding Programs – 3 Ideas for Increased Impact

Digital onboarding programs

Digital Onboarding Programs – 3 Ideas for Better Experiences

Onboarding programs and new employee orientation are generally areas that follow a common pattern. Companies hope to give learners all the information they need to get from 0 to 100 in the least time possible and to become a part of the community. However, the effectiveness of orientation programs in their traditional format suffers a lot because of one simple thing – cognitive overload. New employees joining a company are already anxious, just because they are coming to a new environment. In this situation, many companies take the silly path of trying to drop as much information to the new guys as possible – and expecting them to retain some! As you may guess, the retention with this approach is not great. Could digitalisation help to solve some of the problems with onboarding programs? Here are 3 ideas for digital onboarding programs.

How about Blended Onboarding Programs?

Naturally, the fundamental nature of onboarding – welcoming an employee to the workplace – cannot warrant a fully digital approach. People still need to be present. However, a blended learning approach to onboarding could help to provide a better experience. The usual company “starter kit”, comprising of company information, benefits, policies etc. can be easily digitalised. There’s no valid grounds for wasting time in the traditional classroom setting for these types of things. Rather, developing these starter kits into a digital onboarding programs helps to free up time. You could then use this free’d up time for e.g. networking sessions and inspirational speeches that build and demonstrate the company culture.

You can also use Augmented Reality (AR) for onboarding programs. Click here to find out more. 

Delivering the necessary knowledge as “performance support”

Let’s face it. Most of the contents of non-digital or digital onboarding programs are things of little interest to the employees. Until they need the information that is. Things like policies and company guidelines seem totally irrelevant and unnecessary on the first day. Yet, later on, employees could benefit to convenient access to this type of information. Hence, it could make sense to deliver the content in a format optimal for performance support and learning in the workflow. Think of the information as microlearning nuggets to be consumed at point of need. You’re ultimately saving up a lot of time for your employees both old and new, while increasing flexibility and convenience.

Enabling Social Presence through digital communities

Social presence, the feeling of being a part of something, is terribly important both from an organisational and learning standpoint. Digital communities and social learning tools provide a great way of engaging your new employees already before they come in on their first day. By enabling new joiners to start creating their own profiles, introducing themselves and learning about their new colleagues, you can alleviate a lot of the pressure and social anxiety that happens on the first day. When there is less anxiety, the onboarding process will be a lot smoother. Great digital onboarding programs should always include a social element since one of the most important parts of the process in the networking.

Also, you can leverage the opportunity to let the new joiners voice their opinions and expectations, as well as collect feedback from them. This way, you’ll be able to identify potential challenges ahead of time and intervene accordingly.

Would you like to take your onboarding and orientation activities to the digital era? We can help you accomplish that. Just contact us here and we’ll get back to you. 

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Social Presence – Key to Impactful Learning Experiences

Social Presence in Learning Experiences

Social Presence – Key to Impactful Learning Experiences

Fundamentally, learning is a social process. There’s no dispute that our social context; interactions, engagements and relationships all play a role in shaping our knowledge, skills and capability. Thus,  it’s vital for learning professionals to understand the value of social presence. Social presence, simply defined, is the feeling of being part of something. It seems that this social presence is why face-to-face training is still relevant. People come to the classrooms not only to gain knowledge, but to interact, form connections and engage in social activity.

The failure to replicate this type of environment may have been the reason why traditional eLearning never became the success it was set out to be. However, technology has evolved tremendously from the days of that type of eLearning. Hence, we nowadays have the capabilities of nurturing that social presence even with digital tools. And here are some considerations to help you along the way.

Building Connections and Facilitating Interactions

To attract learners to your digital learning experiences, you need to make sure they have the same possibilities of connecting with people than in face-to-face. Facilitating learning through a social platform helps tremendously in this regard. People can build their connections, engage in discussions and share experiences. People don’t only learn through the materials or the instructor, but from each other also, which the peer-to-peer connecting opportunities facilitate.

Interactions also play an important part in learning engagement. When you are physically disconnected from other learners, it’s vital to have opportunities for interacting in different ways. Enabling people to build profiles, like, comment, share and follow – all fundamental concepts of social media – helps to nurture the social presence and keep learners engaged.

Build on experiences encouraging reflection

Naturally, all learners are individuals and thus have their own individual context – prior experience, background, exposure etc. It’s important to build on these individual experiences, which is one of the primary ways of adult learning. Reflection is of equal importance, enabling the learner to link new knowledge in to previous experiences and form the understanding required for application. Finally, even individual experiences and reflections are powerful when shared with others, as we also learn by mimicking and mirroring. Thus, enabling social presence is important and you should make it possible even across activities that may feel “individual”.

Leverage on groups for learning ownership and support

Social presence can also be an important tool for motivation. When people are actively engaged in a learning group, they are more likely to take ownership of their learning. This means that they are more likely to seek out learning opportunities based on their personal needs e.g. to better participate in discussions. Due to the collaborative nature of learning, individuals are also less likely to drop out of the activities. There’s a sense of commitment to the group and no-one wants to let their peers down!

These type of engaged communities also go a long way in internal support. Whenever someone is struggling, it’s easy to approach people for help. Furthermore, in an engaged community, people often proactively identify opportunities in helping other people. This creates a great platform for both emotional and performance support, which can reduce the L&D department’s work quite drastically.

These are a few ways of leveraging on the power of social presence in your digital learning. If you’d like to learn more or need tools for facilitating social presence in the digital era, just contact us

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3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

Informal Learning Digital Approach

3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

Informal learning arguably makes up a large majority of all workplace learning. According to the 70:20:10 theory, informal learning accounts for up to 90% of all learning. Yet, the corporates often focus and drill down on the 10% – formal learning. As informal makes up such a large part of the learning mix, it’s important that we try to facilitate it in our organisations. It starts by doing more ‘pull’ instead of ‘push’ and creating channels for open communication, collaboration and internal influencing. Here are three easily implemented digital approaches to support informal learning in your organisation.

1. Creating communities for Social Learning Experiences

As with so many other things, communication is always the key. For informal learning to happen, you need to establish peer-to-peer communication channels within your company. These can be totally unstructured, like employees using their own social media tools to exchange information. However, it is generally advisable to adopt a semi-structured approach, whereas the company provides the platform for social collaboration and knowledge transfer. As such, the company also controls the knowledge being exchanged, and is able to intervene in problematic situations. With proper learning data tracking, you’ll also be able to pinpoint who are the internal influences and key opinion leaders within your own organisation.

In these communities, whether online or offline, employees can collaborate, exchange ideas and provide peer support. The approach is supported by the social learning theory, according to which students learn by mimicking and following others.

2. Curating accessible ‘Pull’ learning resources for on-demand needs

While corporates have generally adopted a ‘push’ model of learning, whereas content is authored by the company for to fulfil certain learning objectives, a ‘pull’ approach might is required as well. Instead of engaging in time consuming instructional design processes, companies should make the best use of free resources. The internet is full of free videos, documents and knowledge bites to use. Instead of designing content from scratch, corporate L&D professionals should focus some of their time on curating these types of content. A ‘course’ is less and less frequently the best solution to individuals’ learning needs.

Resources in various bite-sized formats, on the other hand, provide informal support at the time of need. Providing a library of curated supporting resources based on observed business needs provides a good basis for informal learning. Learners don’t have to waste time on searching the open internet for alternatives, as you’ve already curated the best resources for them. Furthermore, it’s much more easier and agile to produce curated resources than author formal courses! Hence the L&D team can save a lot of time as well.

3. Enable learning ownership and user-generated content

With a ‘pull’ approach to learning, you’re enabling individuals to take ownership of their own development. To take it further, you could also encourage them to take ownership of the organisation’s informal learning by allowing user-generated content. This type of sharing of best practices, tacit knowledge and tips and tricks is nothing new. Yet, in the age of social media, you can reap the benefits of it by providing a collaborative social learning platform. Therein, the employees can create their own content (e.g. videos) or share external resources (lectures, blogs, etc.). Even simple discussions and comment chains can provide valuable knowledge nuggets to others in the organisation.

Realistically speaking, the L&D team no longer has the best knowledge or the time to develop formal courses. Due to the speed of the economy, they might not even have time to curate all the necessary resources. By enabling users to be a part of the learning content development process, you’re able to scale up much faster. Meanwhile, you’re encouraging a more collaborative culture and letting employees to take ownership of the learning process, which should increase engagement by quite a bit. That’s the power of informal learning.

Do you need help facilitating the informal learning needs within your organisation? We’ll be happy to share you more in-depth insights, best practices and tools. Just contact us

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Learner-Centric Design – Deliver Engaging Learning Experiences

Learner-centric design

Learner-Centric Design – Deliver Engaging Learning Experiences

Traditionally, corporate learning has been a rather top-down function: the company defines the right knowledge, benchmarks and learning goal posts. However, in today’s environment, a top-down approach doesn’t meet the requirements of the modern learner. Corporate learners today expect companies to provide personalised and tailored opportunities catering to their specific professional needs. Furthermore, with the current pace of change, a top-down approach is too slow to respond to the constantly evolving needs of the daily business. Moving to a more learner-centric design approach comes with multiple benefits: increased engagement, more self-directedness and cognitive presence. But most importantly, companies can cater to the unique learning needs of their employees and help them to succeed in their jobs. Here are a few cornerstone steps you can take to understand your learners better and provide activities with learner-centric design.

1. Know your learner

The first initial point of failure for learning initiatives is relevance. It’s easy to take a one-size-fits-all approach and roll out of-the-shelf learning activities across the organisation. This leads to overlaps, inefficiency and motivation slump when learners need to complete topics they already know or that are not relevant to their jobs. Thus it’s important to understand who your learners are. Where do they work and what’s their role and seniority? What’s their previous learning history in different subject matter areas? How do they prefer to learn and what are the most effective delivery methods for them?

This type of information is not hard to collect. There’s a lot of easy tools for collecting information, feedback and employee input. Hopefully, you have most of this kind of information recorded in your information systems. Ideally, you are also leveraging learning data to understand your employees better (with e.g. xAPI).

2. Personalise learning activities

Once you have got to know your learner, you should start personalising the learning activities. To excel with learner-centric design, you should also explore different modalities. Some learners may prefer video based content, whereas others require a more collaborative learning activities. Naturally, the most effective method of instruction may vary by the topic. Once you’ve grasped the modalities, you should start personalising for different skill levels and existing competencies. By branching your learning content, you enable competent individuals to skip through certain segments and provide more rudimentary materials to the beginners. You can use historical learning data or pre-activity assessments to map out the existing skill level and competence of the employee and guide them to a “bespoke” batch of learning activities accordingly. This enables them to get learning material of the right difficulty, in the right format, at the right time.

3. Enable self-direction and develop shared commitments to learning

Even with highly personalised learning and great programs, it would be foolish to believe that we can cater to all the learning needs of our employees. There will always be a lot of topics which they would like to learn more about – and you shouldn’t restrict them. Instead of confining the learning to corporate uploaded content in an LMS, let the learners take control and ownership of their own learning. Encourage them to venture out of the traditional space (e.g. the LMS), to look for resources online or subject-matter experts within the organisation. And recognise them for it.

Furthermore, encourage them to share their findings or subject matter with others in the organisation. Social learning helps the employees to update their skills at the speed of the business, something that a top-down approach simply cannot answer to. By shifting to a learner-centric process, where the employees can learn from each other instead of just the trainers, you are developing a shared commitment in learning. The employees grow to understand that their participation and activity matters in making the learning successful. In fact, the employees form a core part of the learning process. They help in sourcing and curating content and engaging and guiding other learners.

4. Use constant feedback for learner-centric design

The final thing we need to acknowledge to be successful in learner-centric design is that no product is perfect at launch. No matter how much analytics we run or how well we know our learners, content always needs iteration. Hence, it’s important to establish a strong culture of feedback across the learning activities – in both ways. Naturally, you’re guiding the learners and their progress with personalised feedback. However, it’s equally important that you’re also collecting feedback from them. This helps you point out and define areas of improvement at both activity and content level. When learning content becomes redundant, the people who apply it in their daily jobs are the first to notice. When the delivery method of a program is not optimal, the learner is the one who suffers first.

To take it further, you can also use feedback to move to a more pragmatic needs-based approach to training needs analysis. Let the learners have a say on defining the needs and learning activities to be provided. This helps to get them the content they truly need, resulting in a natural increase in engagement.

If you’d like to get started with more learner-centric design approaches in your organisations, we can help you in providing personalised content. We can also help you onboard tools for social learning to develop that shared commitment in your workforce. Just contact us

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Flipped Learning for Corporates – Gaining Value, Efficiency & Effectiveness

Flipped learning corporate

Flipped Learning for Corporates – Gaining Value, Efficiency & Effectiveness

For the past ten years, the education world has undergone a shift away from traditional top-down approaches. One of the emerging methods of education delivery is flipped learning, also known as the flipped classroom. In the flipped learning approach, instructional content is delivered outside of the classroom, whereas activities shift to inside the classroom. Hence, whereas learners used to study theory at school and practice at home, they now do the opposite. They now consume digital resources, such as lectures, video and readings and participate in discussions on their own time. Thereafter, they come to the classroom session to collaborate, practice and apply the knowledge in a group setting.

How corporates can benefit from a flipped learning approach?

The flipped classroom approach has made its way to the corporate world as well. There’s a lot to gain for organisations who can effectively incorporate a flipped approach to their L&D:

1. Improved Learning Effectiveness

With a flipped learning approach, you’re exposing your employees to the instructional content and activities over a longer period of time, similar to blended learning. Furthermore, by injecting them with the theoretical knowledge beforehand, they come into face-to-face sessions more prepared. This enables your trainers to shift from lectures to workshops. The employees can focus on collaborating, practising and applying the knowledge in a risk-free environment. The more application opportunities you give them, the more likely it is that you’ll see behavioural change (Kirkpatrick level 3, anyone?). Furthermore, flipped learning automatically becomes more personalised, as trainers have more time to dedicate to individual employees.

2. Higher learning efficiency

Another great thing is that you’re also getting more bang for your buck. You’re saving real money by delivering the instructional content in digital formats. With flipped learning, you’re also saving the time of both the trainers and employees. Trainers no longer need to waste their time on curating and delivering the low-value add instructional content. The employees can spend more time being productive at their jobs, instead of sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture which they could do more efficiently online. Furthermore, as you enable opportunities and activities to practice, make mistakes, fail and familiarise, you help to ensure that the learning carries forward to your employees’ daily jobs. A greater impact with less resources – that’s efficiency!

3. Increased value-add to your learners

Perhaps the best thing about flipped learning is that it doesn’t only work to boost corporate efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, the method also delivers value-add to your learners. Many employees value the face-to-face aspect of training, but not for the sake of training itself. Rather, they probably value the networking, discussion, experience sharing and collaboration opportunities that happen face-to-face. Nothing to do with the instructional content delivery! By enabling a flipped learning approach and consequently more workshop-like facilitative classroom activities, you’re giving them just that. They can share best practices, learn from their peers and put things to practice. Your employees will also value the personalised attention that the trainer finally has time for. The trainer can provide performance support, coach and mentor them, instead of just instructing.

So, how should I get started with flipped learning?

To get started with flipped learning, a simple 3-step approach is a good first stepping stone.

  1. Identify the most critical activities, where your learners need simulative practice opportunities to support behavioural change – do these face-to-face, let your trainers become facilitators
  2. Identify the instructional content that you can deliver more efficiently through online, mobile or other self-paced formats – digitalise that.
  3. Develop learning into personalised journeys, supporting the digital instructional content with application-focused classroom activities – take advantage of social learning and continuous reinforcement of knowledge

Still not quite sure? We can help you to design effective flipped learning journeys, leveraging technology to get the most value out of face-to-face. Start by contacting us!

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Experiential Learning 2.0 – Incorporating L&D into the Modern Workflow

experiential learning

Experiential Learning 2.0 – Incorporating L&D into the Modern Workflow

Experiential learning, or learning on-the-job is arguably the most effective way of learning in organisations. Whereas research supports that observation, experts have also developed many frameworks further capturing the importance of learning on the job. The 70:20:10 theory is a good example, and sets the stage by implying that 70% of learning happens on the job. While we agree that on-the-job learning might be the most important medium, we also recognise a challenge. As further research points out, experience doesn’t necessarily equal learning. Consequently, you can have a lot of experience with very little learning. Hence, it is more important than ever to ensure that we facilitate the experiential learning process in our organisations. Thus, we’ve compiled a few key tips on taking on-the-job learning to the 2.0.

On-demand and just-in-time learning work great on the job

Thanks to the adoption of mobile and other technologies, we have got access to more on-demand content than ever. Also, due to the modern nature of business and the constant change, upskilling people beforehand is becoming a mission impossible. Skills that are relevant today might not be relevant tomorrow. We are facing so many new problems and challenges in the day-to-day, that often we just have to make it up as we go along. This is where just-in time learning can help organisations thrive.

With on-demand and just-in-time done properly, people can access information and knowledge with only minor interruptions to their workflow. They are able to consume bite-sized knowledge, which reinforces their existing capabilities. Furthermore, they are able to apply the learning immediately. The application is the key part to all experiential learning. By enabling your people to learn and apply on the spot, instead of sitting them in a classroom, you can see them upskill faster than ever. Consequently, you are also ensuring that they are getting and applying the desired knowledge and not deviating too much from the SOPs or company guidelines.

You can use social learning and sharing to support the experiential learning

Naturally, amassing the library of on-demand content in the traditional way is potentially too time-consuming. Whereas learning and development professionals have traditionally curated all the learning content, that is not necessary anymore. In fact, by enabling your employees to create and share content you are able to achieve unprecedented scale. Furthermore, you ensure that the subject matter is of high quality and constantly updated. Whenever there’s a change in a particular workflow, one of the employees, a subject-matter expert, can update the key content to reflect that. Over time, the group can share best practices on any given topic as they accumulate experience.

This type of tacit knowledge gained through experience is highly valuable. It is not often that learners can get access to such a wealth of subject-matter expertise. But nowadays it is possible – thanks to technology. By giving your employees access to such knowledge base and enabling them to apply it on their jobs first hand, you are helping them to get from 0 to 100 faster than ever. That early acceleration in learning and becoming a productive individual is what helps businesses succeed in the current environment of constant change. Hence, it is important that we facilitate the experiential learning experience to reduce the time to proficiency.

All in all, experiential learning is still the most powerful way of learning. However, as everything moves so fast nowadays, we are not able to give our employees a long time to master their trade. Thus, it’s important that we take advantage of the opportunities and technologies available to transfer knowledge and develop competencies faster.

Are you facilitating on-the-job learning with the aid of technology? We happily share best practices and case studies in how to take experiential learning to the next generation. Just contact us here

 

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Empowering Employees with Collaborative Learning

collaborative learning

Empowering Employees with Collaborative Learning

In the corporate training world, we face major constraints, mainly in terms of finances and time. Naturally, this limits our ability to curate formal and structured learning activities for our employees. Hence, there are much more training needs that we can address. Yet, it is often that we have subject matter experts for virtually all these topics in our own organisation. Whereas formal training can be problematic due to the lack of agility, social and collaborative learning can help to bridge the gap in upskilling the workforce. Thus, lets take a look at how we can seamlessly empower our employees through collaborative learning.

Defining the role of collaborative learning in the learning architecture

Firstly, it’s important to start by defining where this type of social learning activities work best. In terms of employee effort required vs. value-add, it is likely that peer-to-peer learning is more suited for acquiring advanced knowledge in given topics. Loss of employee productivity is kept to a minimum, as only motivated and interested learners seek out the guidance of others. Furthermore, when there is an existing base level of knowledge, the peer-to-peer activities can focus on more experiential learning. For instance, subject matter experts could collaborate with the learners to create solutions for real business problems. Hence, you might consider providing the base knowledge through formal e-learning and then let your own experts become mentors for the interested few.

Creating platforms for peer-to-peer engagement

Consequently, for collaborative learning to work, there should be a platform for subject-matter experts and interested parties to meet. Whereas some situations may warrant a digital platform, a face-to-face approach might work well for others. The important thing is that learners are able to find “mentors” within the organisation who can guide them on their learning journey. Furthermore, learners should be able to connect with their peers to solve problems, share ideas and learn through discussion and interaction. Whatever the medium, it should be one that can be seamlessly incorporated into the flow of work. Naturally, the advantage of digital platforms is the access to e.g. discussion analytics. Proper analytics help you to capture the learning needs as well as identify key experts in your organisation.

Encouraging and motivating knowledge sharing

Naturally, it is vital to get the employees to share their expertise with others. Helping others is an area of intrinsic motivation for many. However, due to hectic jobs and everything that comes with them, you might want to consider extrinsic motivation tools as well. Gamification, for example, is an easy way to reward, recognise and motivate subject matter experts to share more. Naturally, it works also for motivating the learners to achieve more. Also, it is important to trust your employees to freely formulate their own training activities. This type of user-generated learning content approach is quite agile, as many personalised learning needs can be fulfilled rapidly. By giving the employees the freedom to dictate the collaborative learning experience, you’ll likely see much more motivated individuals as well.

Has your organisation taken up on collaborative learning or social learning? Would you like to find out about different ways to better knowledge transfer within your organisation? Just contact us and we’ll be happy to share our experiences. 

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How to Apply Adult Learning Theory in eLearning?

adult learning

How to Apply Adult Learning Theory in eLearning?

Malcolm Knowles’ theory of Adult Learning, also known as Andragogy, addresses the specific requirements of educating adults. Even though Knowles developed large parts of his assumptions in the 1980s, they bear great importance and relevance still today. Naturally, corporate learning is all about adult learning. Hence, andragogy is something that every L&D professional should be familiar with. As the corporate training landscape is undergoing a massive wave of digitalisation, it’s important to revisit the principles of delivering great learning to adults. Hence, in this article, we’ll look at some of the principles of adult learning theory you should consider in your eLearning.

Adult learners seek relevance and immediate value-add

To deliver effective learning to an adult audience, you need to establish relevance. Why does the current topic matter to them? Why is it being trained? How do the learners benefit immediately from learning the subject, both personally and professionally?

Therefore, it is important to put a lot of effort into communicating the relevance and value-add in all eLearning activities. Furthermore, by providing personalised eLearning, the learners get access to more relevant content and experiences.

Adult learning is self-directed and internally motivated

Adult learners are naturally much more self-directed than their younger counterparts. They expect to be involved in the goal setting of their own learning and they are ready to take on responsibility. This means that rather than providing highly structured trainer-led activities, you should be give the learners more freedom. Every employee should take part in their personal goal setting. You should also allow the learners freedom to direct their own learning and progress as best fits them. This is a part of a good eLearning strategy and delivery.

Furthermore, adults are also motivated internally rather than externally. This means that their learning is more pragmatic. As long as the subject at hand provides value-add and benefits them, they are willing to put in the required effort. Hence, it is important to communicate the value-add, as mentioned before. You should also consider nurturing the internal motivation with tools such as gamification and social learning.

Adult learning builds on existing experiences and expands through new ones

Naturally, adults in the workplace – your employees – have considerable amounts of experience in life as well as their profession. When delivering learning, you should focus on connecting the new subjects to their existing experience and knowledge. These experience are the filters through which they analyse the new and re-evaluate the old. Modern learning analytics tools together with past learning data help tremendously in understanding the past experiences of the learners. Once you understand them, you can build further learning content on them.

Also, experiences play an important part in learning the new. Adults prefer to learn through experiences – “by doing”. The perfect setting is where they can engage in learning activities on the job, and hence apply them immediately. Mobile learning is a perfect tool for this, as it enables just that. The employees can learn on-demand without long pauses in their jobs. As learners consume new knowledge on-demand, they can also apply it immediately.They thus gain the practical experiences and confidence in the newly learnt. Learning simulations and augmented reality provide great ways of bringing the learning to the job. Also, mobile learning works great when reinforcing already learned skills – as performance support.

Overall, these are the key take-aways you should build into your eLearning strategy to deliver great learning for your adult audience. Naturally, there’s a lot more to adult learning theories, but this provides a good starting point. The ability to learn and experience seamlessly on the job should become the focus.

Are you facilitating on-the-job learning like you should? We can help you deliver next generation learning experiences through mobile learning, social learning and interactive content. Just contact us here

 

 

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3 Great Tools for Digital Learning Support

Digital Learning Support

Digital Learning Support – 3 Great Tools for Real-time Problem Solving

The last years of constant connectivity and rapid technological development have solidified one specific behaviour. People expect and want things to happen now rather than later – they seek instant gratification. This has resulted in e.g. customer service functions in many industries improving their accessibility by introducing hotlines and online channels. This phenomenon is making its way to the corporate world as well. It’s no longer acceptable to leave emails or inquiries for weeks or even days without a reply. This also affects L&D professionals, who are tasked with supporting the learning infrastructure of the company as well as the learners. Hence, we introduce you three great tools for providing effective digital learning support.

1. Chat modules provide a basic level of digital learning support

A simple chat module is a great way of providing real-time responses to rudimentary learning inquiries. You can find many different systems quickly, some of them even free. You can often easily incorporate these to a company website, intranet or a digital learning environment. This creates a help desk for the employees to go to when they encounter problems with their learning. The problems will not get buried in email boxes and you can solve them faster. This results in less downtime for the learners, which translates to better efficiency. Also, you can easily configure and manage the chat systems to enable small teams cater to large user bases. All of the modern chat modules come with mobile interfaces as well as support ticket management. These help the L&D support staff to support queries on the go and keep track of all the activities.

2. Using Video Chats to provide quick, real-time learning interventions

Going a bit further, we can add picture and sounds the text based chats. Result: a video chat! Video chats provide a great way to provide quick interventions or guidance to the learners. If verbal explanations and support are not enough, staff can easily share screens to show how they do things. Furthermore, this can also help the L&D department to troubleshoot issues with the learning systems, as they are are able to access live footage remotely. Also, video chats can be used to provide virtual instructor-led training and virtual coaching.

In terms of usability, lighter systems which can connect people with just 1-2 clicks work the best. Effective real-time digital learning support requires effortless accessibility, which traditional video conferencing software sometimes fails to provide. Also, video chats, as well as normal chats, work best when integrated with your own learning systems. This way, you can easily pool the data from them with your overall learning data. This helps to provide better learning insights and single out situations where you need to intervene.

3. Using AI-powered chatbots to reduce manual labour

Thanks to the adoption of the previous tools, chatbots are also becoming increasingly available to reduce the amount of manual labour that goes into support functions. For L&D, chatbots can effectively be used the same way as traditional chats. People can communicate with chatbots, who with a bit of training will be able to answer basic queries related to learning. This AI powered technology can help to alleviate a lot of pressure from the L&D staff by handling the low-value-add inquiries. Hence, the learning professionals are able to put their time where it matters – in the high-value interventions.

Furthermore, you could easily incorporate chatbots into the learning content as well. Employees could engage the chatbots when faced with subject-matter specific enquiries. This type of use provides a great way for doing on-demand performance support. Also, you can easily configure chatbots to become interactive, engaging and even funny FAQ portals. Just type in your questions and let the bot do the rest!

How do you handle learning support in your organisation? Are you making sure that learning downtime stays at the minimal? If you’d like to find out more about these digital learning support tools, just drop us a note or chat with us!

 

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