Your learners are telling you how to improve, are you listening?

Posted on May 05, 2016

Measurement & reinforcement

You need to understand how employees learn to improve your performance.

It’s one of the four priorities Towards Maturity identifies as part of its #MakeItHappen campaign.

“Listen and learn how colleagues do their job and how they learn and design for that. That's what 86% of Top Deck organisations do (versus 30% on average).”

By concentrating your efforts on one area that is really getting results for top performing businesses, you can give your own performance a significant boost.

Everyone can benefit from taking a closer look at the people who are taking their training.

We’re going to offer you practical advice for focusing on how you can better serve your learners and #MakeItHappen.

Find out about your learners

How can you find out how your employees learn best and use that knowledge when you’re designing learning for them?

An online survey can be a good way to collect feedback from a lot of learners, but interviews and feedback sessions give a deeper insight.

You could use the questions from The Learner Voice survey from Towards Maturity as a starting point.  Comparing your results to the report will give you an insight into how your company fits into the bigger picture.

Measuring results is an important part of the feedback process.  You can track learner performance inside the course through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Comparing training assessment results to a relevant performance indicator for the business can reveal how effective the learning is.

With data on effectiveness and feedback from learners, you can identify the areas to work on that will have the biggest effect.

We go into more detail on getting feedback from your learners in our blog post Getting feedback and monitoring results in elearning.

With an insight into how your employees learn you’re now able to start applying what you've discovered.

Universal trends

To get an idea of the challenges that all learners are facing you can look to surveys like The Learner Voice from Towards Maturity.

These trends are common across all age groups, job roles and sectors. They make a good starting point for looking at improving your own training.

  • Collaboration is most valuable - 91% of learners say team collaboration is either essential or very useful for learning what they need for their job
  • Time is limited - 3 in 5 learners struggle to find time for learning
  • Relevance is critical - 2 in 5 learners can't find what they need or think that current offerings are not relevant to need

These issues affect a wide range of learners across many sectors and professions.

If you dig deeper into the report, there are some counter intuitive results. Both managers and new starters are most likely to access digital training on their way to or from work.

Would you have put managers and new starters together when designing your course? It highlights the fact that learners differ and some patterns might not hold true for your business.

How to apply learner feedback

Using the universal trends as examples, here’s how you can start using ideas from inside and outside elearning to improve results.

Collaboration is most valuable

Social learning is more than a buzzword, it’s already happening at your organisation. Your employees are likely to find learning from colleagues one of the most important parts of doing their job.

You can learn more about starting your social learning journey with these resources:

The best companies know where their learners are already using social learning and support it where they can.

Time is limited

You’re competing with a lot of other tasks for your employees’ time.  In order to get them to take your training you need to make sure it’s more engaging than the alternatives.

Demonstrating the specific benefits to them is critical to making them see the value of digital training.

One obvious way to reduce time pressure for training is to offer shorter courses. We look at the benefits of breaking down subjects in our post The benefits of micro learning.

By splitting the course down into distinct subjects, you allow relevant sections to be accessed individually and repeated at the time of need more easily.

Allowing your learners to complete training at their own pace has worked well for many businesses. Giving experienced employees the chance to move quickly through topics they are familiar with whilst not rushing new starters makes sense.

Giving learners access to further courses after completing their role specific tasks can also help identify talent.

For more tips on making sure your employees have the time to take your training, read our blog post How to find time for elearning.

Relevance is critical

Your learners need to have relevant training. If they’re not being shown something that can offer them real benefits in their work they’re not interested and won’t perform well.

Save yourself and your learner's time by letting them find the best training for their needs.

Not everyone is going to find the same things relevant to their role. This is something that will come out of the research you do before starting the elearning design process.

When asked about which social network they used for learning, the learner voice respondents overwhelmingly favoured YouTube.

[caption id="attachment_11874" align="alignnone" width="818"]Graphs from the Towards Maturity Learner Voice report Graphs from the Towards Maturity Learner Voice report[/caption]

Why? With over 300 hours of video being added every minute, the information they are seeking is likely to be there. More importantly, they’re able to find it easily and quickly.

Once you've found a video, you know within a few seconds whether it’s going to be useful for you.

When you find a video that is useful it is easy to find more like it. You can subscribe to the creator of the video, watch the next video in the series or choose from a list of suggested videos with one click.

All of these options are available through one account on desktop, mobile or even your TV.

Think about how your elearning catalogue could be accessed like this.

Anyone whose first thought is to head to YouTube for an instructional video will benefit from a searchable index of courses tailored for them on your Learning Management System (LMS).

You can create playlists, suggest another course or section, or make a channel for videos that are relevant to a certain role. Any way you can make it easier to find the content that’s needed will help.

Alternatively you can go where the learners are.

If your staff are using YouTube then put your training on YouTube.  It doesn't have to be a full course, just the sections that are most relevant to those learners.

Norfolk County Council used this technique to make training videos on lifting and handling available to their employees when they needed them.

Custom elearning - the ultimate personalisation

One thing we can take from huge content aggregators like YouTube is the move towards creating their own content. With their knowledge of their audience and existing content, they are in a good position to offer engaging entertainment.

Even with a huge catalogue of user or studio-generated content at their disposal there is still a need to cater to their customers with custom programming.

Services like YouTube, Amazon Video and Netflix have all started to offer original programming. It’s this tailored content that many people see as the future of streaming video.

These are the steps taken by good bespoke elearning providers when they create digital learning. They analyse the existing content and the audience to ensure the digital learning is the best possible match.

With bespoke elearning you’re getting a targeted, relevant course for the employees that need it most.

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