Since learning started happening online more than 20 years ago, training has largely looked the same: Employees visit a single location for a pre-recorded lecture, join a meeting and watch a PowerPoint or visit a rich-media module they can click through all at once.

While the content may contain useful information, it’s rarely seen or remembered. Learners don’t have time to engage with lengthy, one-time trainings and managers don’t have time to constantly push adoption.

Apart from format, these trainings also present a challenge because they’re single-instance. Return on investment (ROI) in training is measured in terms of what employees know or can do differently, but training that happens once gives us little information on whether an employee has understood, remembered or applied anything.

With employers facing The Great Resignation, the rise of Gen Z and Millennial workers and unprecedented levels of cultural shifts and new leaders, effective training has never been more crucial to solving an organization’s broader business challenges.

The Shift in the Way We Learn

To adequately upskill employees and meet the learning challenges of the 21st century, training needs a few necessary upgrades:

  1. Using behavior change, rather than completion, as a north-star metric: Learning experiences need to be continuous and focus on employees taking action and building application-based knowledge on how to apply what they’ve learned. Content should focus on a clear understanding of how to do something and build that skill over days and weeks.
  2. Creating higher rates of adoption and engagement in less time: Employees won’t learn what they don’t care about or engage with. We need to lower the time it takes to engage with great training and focus on content that’s enjoyable and useful.
  3. Enabling learners to access learning easily and anywhere: Nearly every team is now distributed in some way, yet our experiences often require a laptop and strong internet connection. We need content that meets people where they are and can be accessed as easily as calling an emergency contact.

We believe messaging-based learning is how we make these upgrades to training.

How Messaging-based Learning Is Driving This Shift

Messaging-based learning means sending micro-lessons and learning modules to the devices employees spend the vast majority of their time on: collaboration platforms and email, for example.

Bite-sized and continuous in nature, these modules often take a learner five to seven minutes to complete daily and can happen over a five to 15 day period. Learners can receive images, links and text prompting them to understand and explain new concepts, respond to workplace scenarios, solve case studies and reflect on how they can actionably apply new learning day by day.

Most popular workplace content fits well in this format, including career development, manager and leader upskilling, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training, onboarding, sales enablement, compliance and much more.

Messaging-based learning combines the intentionality and effectiveness of microlearning content with the adoption and engagement associated with widespread communication tools. While it may sound like a brand-new concept, has already been adopted by global leaders in training.

The adoption of messaging-based learning has led to coaching confidence, new employee preparedness, rates of employees feeling invested in, and overall learner satisfaction skyrocket. The greatest business challenges of the 21st century are training challenges. We can meet them with learning methods that are continuous, accessible and simple, and that drive meaningful behavior change.