Learning is a lifelong process. We all start from the day we are born and continue learning day-in-day-out throughout our lives. This makes us all experts in the learner experience.

Using that learner experience we can quickly identify what motivates us as learners. Which classes, when we were at school, left us disengaged, bored, or zoned-out? More often than not a poor learning experience was the result of finding no connection or relevance with the content. When our inner voice says “so what?”, it’s bad news for learner engagement.

There is a technological revolution taking place right now.

Modern Learning’ takes place away from the traditional classroom format, and resides on our personal devices, in the precious slivers of time we spend on the daily commute or taking a desk break.

It delivers effective learner engagement through an increasingly exciting set of tech tools, that make learning more approachable and enticing.

Demystifying the Modern Learner

How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

Six digital learning trends, in particular, are aiming to make training content easier to digest and deliver a far better return on investment for organizations.

1.  Artificial intelligence in modern learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) not only helps increase engagement when a learner is working through eLearning modules; it can be used to boost engagement as early on as the content creation process. 

AI tools can take source content and transform it into active learning content in a matter of minutes. Alongside transforming documents, podcasts, and videos into eLearning it can also provide curated content, such as Wikipedia articles, TED talks, and YouTube videos, to support the learning.

2.  Personalization of content in modern learning

Try walking into a room and looking only at the floor while simultaneously saying hello to the people you meet. Then try and assess whether you made any connection with them.

The chances are that you didn’t, and it’s because your introduction lacked presence; the simple act of looking a person in the eye so that they feel acknowledged, valued, noticed.

This personalized approach is just as important in modern learning where a badly targeted learning program can leave learners feeling at ‘arm’s length’ and disengaged.

Content personalization means optimizing learning content to the needs of each learner, with regard to their level of advancement, skills, and abilities, fields of interest, and roles or positions. Personalized learning content means that every learner experience is bespoke.

3.  Stories in modern learning

Popular in the gaming world, interactive narrative learning is a digital learner experience that uses storytelling to structure learning. Combining traditional narrative with visual arts and interactivity, its purpose is to place the learner in the digital environment.

Storifying brings instant added value through the use of temporary videos, images, or other media with a limited lifespan. It can drive higher engagement rates while offering compelling stories which users are only able to access during a narrow time slot.

The opportunities for enhancing the learner experience and keeping your employees engaged are endless.

4.  Reviews and social learning

This is all about one of the most powerful contemporary drivers of individuals’ attitudes and opinions towards an idea. Endorsements.

“Your friend Tom loved this course”; a simple statement, but powerful if Tom is a friend whose opinion you respect and it may influence your next decision. Peer participation has a highly effective authority impact and is a powerful practice in weaving social networks more closely together.

Further reading

Digital DNA – An Interview with Rupert Hillier

Your Learning Strategy Is Doomed…Without Tutorship and Mentorship

4 Ways to Increase Learner Participation in Your Organization

7 Learning Psychology Routes to Effective Training

What is Social Learning and How Can HR Benefit from it?

Learning tools that encourage employees to create, share and comment on content for learning is another key driver in building learning engagement.

5.  Bots in modern learning

Whether we require help with fixing a problem or simply want to find out more information about a subject, we often find ourselves talking to chatbots.

Using a chat-based interface and some clever coding in the background, chatbots tailor their responses to our questions in a way that reflects human communication. In learning technologies, chatbots can provide invaluable support at the point of need. Chatbots can provide a tailored response to a learner’s queries, creating an active fact-finding learner experience.

Demystifying the Modern Learner

How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

6.  Performance support in modern learning

Learning and Development managers often make the mistake of just focusing on either training or performance support when there is an important difference between the two.

Imagine going to a training session on how to use a piece of new machinery that your company has decided to invest in. A month later the new kit arrives and you can’t remember how to use it. This is because we forget a lot of specific training within a couple of days of receiving it if we don’t immediately put that training into action. This phenomenon is known by psychologists as the “Forgetting curve“. 

The use of digital ‘Performance Support’ tools allows your teams immediate access to on the job knowledge that will have an immediate impact upon their ability to carry out the task at hand.

Performance support relates directly to how well a worker is able to perform his job there and then and it is crucial that organizations embed this approach into their L&D strategy.

Invest in digital

Looking into the near future it’s thought that by 2020 Millennials will represent nearly half of the workforce, and they expect to use digital technology. For L&D and HR professionals, the rise of tech-savvy individuals in the workplace should inform investments in training tools.

From our personal experiences as learners, we know that we retain more information when learning content resonates with us and is relevant to our needs in the here and now. Thanks to new learning technologies, the modern learner’s needs can now be met in a responsive and immediate way. Invest wisely in digital learning tools and you will see your employees more engaged and more effective at their job.