As the workforce went virtual seemingly overnight, employees had to adapt and upgrade their relevancy — often on their own time. That meant quickly, informally, and remotely picking up new skills as organisations streamlined learning systems and processes for the work-from-home setup.
In this context, delivering a great learning experience took on new importance. The work-from-anywhere model1 requires a personalised, technology-enabled, consumer-grade experience to engage and educate employees.
What makes a great learning experience?
The way learning is designed, delivered, and consumed is crucial to learner engagement. It’s also linked to employee productivity and organizational growth. How can L&D make employees feel more empowered, digitally equipped, and self-sufficient while delivering business value? Read on to find out.
- Leverage the power of personalization
When it comes to successful learning, L&D should consider a bouquet of options for different strengths. This can include online or offline, LMS, mobile, multimedia, trainer-led virtual training sessions, personalised on-demand digital modules, social learning, microlearning, and gamified learning. According to Skillsoft L&D in the New Normal Report , online platforms are here to stay — 78% of respondents agreed that even post-Covid, digital would be the main mode of imparting training for years to come. The power to personalise and choose one’s preferred learning journey is necessary to boost learner engagement and encourage proactive consumption.
- Integrate learning with workflow
Employee burnout and mental health due to digital overload have become key concerns. To sustain interest in learning, it should be intricately interwoven with work, without employees having to take dedicated time out to learn.
- Create ‘moment of need’ learning
Reduced attention spans mean that people often wait until there’s a glaring gap in knowledge (i.e. a problem at work) to learn a new skill. Hence, they want a solution to the problem here and now. Just-in-time modules and microlearning are ways to translate learning to on-the-job performance.
- Offer learning for future employability
Today’s employees want to invest in themselves not only for immediate performance but also for a future relevance. To enable people to stay employable, a contemporary learning experience should identify, communicate, and deliver on skills that are directly applicable to peoples’ future growth.
- Educate with technology-enabled insights
Learning anytime, anywhere has become more than a buzzword; employees expect learning at their fingertips as well as intelligent insights and recommendations to help them better perform on the job. While employees want dynamic and compelling digital experiences, they also want access to experts, projects, developmental assignments, and support tools to continuously develop and grow.
- Uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion
Leaders in L&D and HR, in general, are grappling with issues of equity, especially in a hybrid environment. Post-pandemic, frontline workers also desire flexibility. Enabling equity and inclusion should be a priority while ensuring skills utilization and productivity for diverse employee groups.
How to design a great learning experience
Today, L&D departments have access to a variety of learning resources, making the options more complex than ever. Most organisations are moving away from systems that only deliver training, and toward those that also drive business capabilities. HR teams should first assess available learning tools and technologies to understand what works best for their businesses and employee needs. Remember, the learning must enable and empower them to build their present and future capabilities. Above all, the core of L&D success is the alignment of learning outcomes with desired business outcomes.
To drive skills-based change and become a future-ready organization, L&D must also clearly define and continuously track learning outcomes in measurable metrics, including performance goals measures, learning analytics tools, qualitative employee feedback, and post-course assessments. These outcomes must be communicated to employees, managers, and leaders to ensure their active participation and buy-in.
The learning experience is a foundation that powers proactive and continuous learning. To truly establish a learning culture, leaders must weave learning into how they do business. This demands a mindset shift, which is possible if L&D leaders ‘walk the talk’ when making learning work for the business strategy. Only then can leaders and organizations commit to continuous learning and create a skills-based learning organization.