How does one deliver effective learning to a highly disengaged audience?
This has been the key challenge that L&D leaders have been trying to solve ever since we all entered into a bubble of sorts and began working from home. In our previous blog post, we saw how virtual instructor-led training can foster employee learning and boost employee performance. In this blog post, we will look at some of the key challenges affecting the deployment of effective learning, how microlearning can be used as an effective medium to train employees, and gain some insights into how existing ILT modules can be converted to microlearning assets.
Table of Contents
Key Challenges in Deploying Effective Learning
As L&D and HR teams in most organizations prepared for an experiment unlike any other last year; no one was sure about the exact time-lines for the “remote work” model. Organizations were mostly thinking that perhaps six months down the line things would go back to “normal”. Now, almost 15 to 16 months later, many countries and organizations around the world continue to work in a remote model with bare-minimum support staff working from offices. Most organizations are now looking at a long-term remote or hybrid working model. Facebook has confirmed that at least half its workforce will remain permanently remote. They are even hiring a Director of Remote Working to look after employees working from remote locations.
This changing scenario makes it tougher for L&D leaders to provide effective learning for employees. A conventional instructor-led training program or ILT approach is not going to help meet training requirements, and will need to be revamped. Some of the challenges that L&D leaders are facing and are trying to solve are:
- Attention deficit and learner engagement
- Delivering Just-in-Time learning
- Tackling the “Forgetting Curve”
- Retention of learning and application of knowledge
A. Attention Deficit and Learner Engagement
The theory that attention span is lesser-than a goldfish has been debated to a great extent but the fact remains that the number of distractions are more today when compared to 20 years ago. Smartphones remains the top source of distraction; checking various social media feeds specifically. A work-from-home model adds to the challenge. Not everyone may have the luxury of a more private, distraction-free room. With children, spouse or partner, pets – there is now a higher probability for distraction. Engaging learners with effective learning content is the other part of the problem. There is no sure-shot solution that works like a charm for all kinds of learners. As each individual is unique and their approach to acquiring knowledge differs; it is important to create an engaging learning program that seeks to satisfy all kinds of learners.
B. Delivering Just-in-Time Learning
When employees work from the office, it is easy to guide them directly and in-person. This is known as on-the-job-learning (training) and senior employees or subject matter experts (SMEs) are able to mentor and guide junior employees on a specific process or technology. However, it is complicated in the current scenario where everyone is at a different location and not everyone has access to high speed internet. It is becoming exceedingly taxing for both the mentor and learner to synchronize their presence and access learning at the same time.
C. Tackling the “Forgetting Curve”
The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve plays an important role in how learning is processed and retained by a person. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted several experiments to understand how human memory functioned, and he postulated that over a period of time we tend to forget things we learn. Overcoming this curve is a mighty challenge that L&D leaders have to tackle. It is the responsibility of the learning experience designer to come up with an engaging program that scores high on retention.
D. Retention of Learning and Application of Knowledge
The purpose of designing all forms of corporate learning programs and solutions are mapped to these two goals – how much of the learning can the learner remember and how well can he/she apply the acquired knowledge in their day-to-day work? Senior managers can examine the work output of the concerned employee and make quality checks on performance – improvement, stagnation or slipping. This would then lead to remedial training measures. Once again the onus on making something interactive and engaging lands upon the overburdened shoulders of the learning experience designer.
How does one solve all these challenges?
The next section offers solutions.
Converting ILTs to Independent Microlearning Modules and Delivering Effective Learning
Call it microlearning, bite-sized learning, learning capsules or learning nuggets; L&D leaders have used microlearning as an effective way to train their employees. Traditional ILTs have been chunked into smaller units with specific learning objectives. With a greater focus on videos, visuals and interactive quizzes, microlearning is the most effective way to deliver short focussed modules that are easy to understand.
Traditionally, learners prefer to engage more with interactive audio-visual content rather than boring template-driven presentations, and microlearning makes it a better and faster way to learn. When one reinforces learning by using “spaced learning”, one is able to overcome the challenges posed by the “Forgetting Curve”. It helps learners remember the training content far better. Learning nudges or a daily learning digest via email or push notifications through a mobile learning app make the deployment of microlearning easier and more effective, and solves the challenge of just-in-time learning. Self-paced microlearning ensures that the learner is in control of the learning experience and is able to complete the course at his/her convenience.
In this article by Vinok Dsilva – our Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, he shares his expertise on how virtual training is helping organizations meet their training and L&D challenges. Vinok focuses on how microlearning has turned out to be an effective learning solution for organizations. He also stresses upon the role of mobile learning in fostering training; as we look towards a hybrid working model globally.
The next section will share insights on converting ILTs to microlearning.
Tips for Converting Existing ILTs to Effective Microlearning Assets
There is no magic formula that converts your ILTs into microlearning assets at the touch of a button. It is important to study the existing ILT content; remove the parts that seem to be irrelevant and repetitive, and chunk the content into self-contained learning units. These units can range anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Explore whether the content can be presented through a video or use compelling visuals. .
A normal MCQ assessment can be repurposed into an interactive puzzle or drag-and-drop activity. If time and budget permits, get SMEs to speak on the topic and record videos or integrate podcasts and infographics to make the content engaging. Ensure that the redesigned learning content matches the learning goals and objectives stipulated in the original ILT program.
See the slides below that display how a normal ILT program is converted into a virtual instructor-led training program. Elements to grab the attention of the learner are incorporated – a relevant video, a social learning section, and attractive icons. The “before” and “after” slides demonstrate the importance of presenting a concept in an organized structure to deliver effective learning.
Most course-conversion projects are throttled by budget and time constraints. Hence it is important to be very clear about the available time and work accordingly.
Deploying Effective Learning Solutions
As mentioned earlier, the focus is now on enabling anytime-anywhere learning. Be it for an employee, a customer, a product end-user, or a sales partner; the eLearning content should be designed and deployed in a way that it can be accessed with utmost ease and offer a seamless learning experience across devices. Be it an LMS, an LXP, or an independent mobile learning app; choose a platform that offers you flexibility and is robust enough to handle a higher number of users. Do explore our award-winning learning experience platform Origin Fractal LXP, if you are looking for an agile, robust, intuitive, scalable and high-quality learning delivery platform.
At Origin, our skilled team of learning experience designers can help transform your plain, mundane and lacklustre ILTs into a refined, engaging and impactful learning solution. Be it microlearning or a VILT program; we have the resources to enhance your existing learning content and transform it into a captivating learning experience for your employees or customers. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements and we will contact you with ideas and workable solutions to create powerful and result-driven learning solutions for your organization.