How many apps are open on your phone at any given time? What about internet browser windows?
How many times today have you started something and then left it hanging when something else caught your attention?
Four-hour lectures and slides full of bullet points aren’t going to cut it in today’s fast-paced, everything-at-your-fingertips environment. If you want to keep people engaged and learning, you have to mix, modify and modernize.
Blended learning is exactly what it sounds like: training that incorporates a variety of mediums. Mixing different learning methods breaks up redundancy and keeps learners’ attention. Here are some different modalities to consider:
- Microlearning: Five- to 10-minute bursts of eLearning are perfect for breaking down complex concepts into digestible, bite-sized learning.
- Mobile learning: Mobile capabilities make it easy for people to learn on their phones while in line, between meetings, or on the train to and from the office.
- Video: What better way to learn a new skill than to watch someone demonstrate it? Video enables you to explain concepts, show learners how to perform and send valuable messages from leaders.
- Podcasts: Interview leaders, experts or employees who are great at their jobs, and spread their knowledge. Podcasts enable employees to learn as they commute, work out or perform another activity.
- VILT: Virtual instructor-led training gives organizations the ability to offer classroom training without the classroom. You can stir things up by using virtual polling tools, whiteboards, chats, breakout rooms and brainstorming tools.
- Games: Test learners’ knowledge through games; then, highlight players with the highest points to encourage some friendly competition among team members. Whether you use scenarios to gauge what learners would do in certain situations or test their knowledge by asking them to sort, match or answer questions, your learners will play to win.
Once you’ve mixed learning styles, modify your approach by breaking out of your routine. Typically, training takes place in a classroom and is put into practice with individual “homework” afterward. With the realities of daily life, however, the good intentions of following up on classroom learning quickly fall by the wayside as other priorities arise.
With virtual training, you can modify this tradition and turn it inside out. Before the training, you might assign microlearning or videos as prework so participants can become familiar with the subject matter. On the day of the training, you’ll maximize facilitators’ impact and learners’ grasp of the material by leveraging the topics from the prework. This approach increases knowledge retention and accuracy, as participants understand how the material fits together and know which questions to ask.
A recent marketing course for a global media company included three microlearning modules prior to training — The History of Marketing,” “How to Use the Marketing Funnel” and “How to Create a Marketing Campaign” — along with a series of successful campaign videos assigned as prework. In the VILT portion of the training, learners worked in teams to create their own marketing campaigns. The facilitator coached each team through the process and gave real-time feedback, which enabled teams to be agile, prototype and iterate. By modifying the learning process, participants were able to engage with the content in a fun, creative way that built application on their prior knowledge.
Learning is not a one-size-fits-all process, and your eLearning solution shouldn’t be, either. With so many solutions to choose from, you’d sell yourself short by repeatedly using the same training. Think about your content and objectives; then, put yourself in the learners’ shoes. What would make the content memorable for them? What would make them excited to engage and learn? Ask yourself these questions each time you begin creating a course, and you’ll end up with a wide variety of platforms and learning experiences that will keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.
It’s also critical not to let learning happen in a vacuum. Soliciting feedback and incorporating it into your courses is critical to optimizing impact and results. When learners complete a course, ask them what worked and what didn’t. Tweak your delivery a bit each time, and you’ll be sure to land on the right fit for your content.
Looking at the course through your participants’ eyes ensures you understand how they feel about it and helps you provide them with the most immersive, relevant experience possible. Since learners retain and apply knowledge better when they’re engaged with the content, their productivity and effectiveness will grow, and they’ll be excited to learn more. Watch as the ripple effects improve your organization from the ground up.
Regardless of which learning methods you choose, remember to combine different types of learning, think outside the box, innovate and optimize. We’re here for you — however you decide to mix, modify and modernize!