Learner Driven Learning

Let learners have sway
That’s the only way

Very often we find learning being thrust upon the learners. All the stakeholders in the corporate elearning scene seem to have more say in creating learning than the reason for it- the learners themselves. How about giving more power to learners in the making of a successful learning? Let’s explore.

The Learners’ World:

Toady most organizations are experiencing transformations. Disruption is the rule and not an exception. The transformation is galvanized by three factors: globalization, the rising freelance work force and the millennial generation. Globalization is the ever increasing international influence on organizations. The rising freelance work force is where the experts offer their expertise without being constrained in the regular job. And the millennial generation is the young in the organization.  All the three demand innovation everywhere; and millennials want it more than the baby boomers.
L & D has to respond to the above situation. The old ways of learning design are challenged. And the new way or the way forward is to let the learners have sway. Let them have control of learning creation. This calls for co-creation of learning with the learners and a learner driven experience with which is readily consumable and personalized.

What Learners Want?

  • Relevance of content: Learners want a course which would help them directly in their performance. This is the ultimate yardstick of a successful solution. They want learning to be useful to them.  Also, the modern learners are hard pressed for time. They cannot lose focus from their regular chores to make way for learning. But if they find the content relevant they would find time for it. As the content becomes relevant, time becomes irrelevant to the learners.
  • Digestible content: Deliver the content in nuggets of not more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Many a research points to the fact that learners do spend time up to 20 minutes without being distracted. There is still hope there. Chunk and space the content accordingly.
  • Personalization: Have a learning path for each learner. It’s a challenge. But soon technologies like AI are moving in to address it. Personalization is becoming the default expectation of the new generation learners.
  • Engaging content: You need to hold the learners to the seat. For that have lot of interactivities and nudges in the course. And make sure that the content is credible. Learners want demonstrated veracity of content. Curate the content and present it to them. They should never doubt the content.

How will you give what the learners want?

  • Listen to learner stories: The learners need to be listened and understood. It is very important that the learning designers spend time with the end learners and listen to their stories to deliver a successful learning solution. Let the learners open up, nay expand. Don’t ask closed ended questions. Avoid over dependence on proxies (Are we talking of SMEs here?). Learners will give the needed insight and context of learning. In short, know the learners mind.
  • Co-create with the learners: Invite learners to your design sessions. You may just get a big dose of reality. And that’s good. May be have a session of an hour with this important stake holder of learning. Here leverage the learner energies to get the right solution.
  • Get the prototyping right: Don’t just confirm your hypothesis. But get clarity on uncomfortable/uncertain aspects of the learning design and address them. Answer the question ’What am I uncertain about?’  Never make wrong assumptions on audience or learning. It might just undo it all. Your perfect learning solution may just turn out to be off the tangent.

Need to learn continuously:

Today’s solution will become irrelevant tomorrow. Have a relook at your learning solution periodically. The audience might change. New learners arrive on the scene. Test assumptions not only before but also after the solution is out. It’s a challenge, but learning professional need to take it. After all, change is the only constant in this universe.

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