Founder Skill Pill M-Learning
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Five ways to create engaging digital learning

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29th Jan 2014
Founder Skill Pill M-Learning
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Gerry Griffin of mobile experts Skill Pill gives us some great digital learning advice.

As we approach the end of the beginning of the year, our self-betterment efforts may have begun to fade; some resolutions may have been already broken. However, I think it is still worthwhile to set out five New Year’s resolutions to make and keep in 2014 when it comes to digital learning.

Engage your population in dialogue

Listen to your employees. As they are the users and beneficiaries of any learning programme, their opinion counts hugely. Consider their input at all stages of your learning strategy. Ask not just what did they learn, but also how useful was it? Did a particular learning intervention raise the performance bar? From the onset, when developing a new implementation, ask your population what would help them perform better. When a programme has been put in place, constantly seek and encourage feedback on all areas of your L&D offering. Provide staff with some sort of an outlet to comment on and rate initiatives. Through this process of listening to your employees, you should get a sense of what is really adding value down the line. The bottom line is that for a programme to work, it must drive the business forward.

Adopt a market perspective to learning

Many people-management professionals hold what could be termed a ‘manufacturing’ approach to learning – where primacy is placed on the quality of the faculty, content or system. There is nothing wrong with this perspective except it tends to position the learner as a passive object who ‘receives’ the knowledge/skills.

The time has come to instead place the learner themselves - what we call the ‘market’ - at the centre of the learning experience. In this way, we see the learner as an agent with a central role in their own learning pathway.

Get to the point

Few have the time or inclination to devote to dull, long-form compliance-based elearning programmes. L&D would be better served to focus on delivering key SMARTS in a concise and engaging manner. Visual forms of communication such as graphic-based videos or engaging infographics capture and hold the learner’s attention better.

On the go

Mobile devices: tablets, laptops and smartphones have consolidated their position as an indispensable tool in the workplace. Staff rely on their devices to work when on the go. The 21st century has also witnessed the birth of the ‘trigger user’. By ‘trigger user’ I mean the user accesses content prompted by an upcoming task, such as having a difficult conversation with a colleague. Mobile devices can facilitate this process effectively. Learners can use their device to perform a task/pull down content when faced with a challenge. L&D must design and enable content to be ‘on the go’ in order to cater to the needs of this new user.

Move away from tracking

HR departments often become preoccupied with the notion of tracking usage and completion rates. Employees are forced to enrol and partake in compliance-based courses. The fixation on tracking usage or certifying that a module has been completed should be shifted to ensuring people engage with content and perform better. If you move to a self-service learning programme, you effectively put the learner in the driver’s seat and they are also more open to learn.

The digital learning revolution certainly looks set to continue in 2014. Employees are demanding a more technologically advanced learning programme that caters for and engages with ‘trigger users’. Learning and development departments need to continue to adjust and upgrade their learning experience to cater to and engage this new type of user. By doing this, the learner will invest more in time and energy in their own learning pathway. In doing so they will perform better, ultimately increasing the company’s return on their L&D investment. While this is a continuous journey, these five New Year’s resolutions are a good start. So, happy new year!

Gerry Griffin is director of Skill Pill M-Learning and a former director of the London Business School and author of six business books. Gerry founded Skill-Pill in 2007, and is passionate about the impact m-learning can have in supporting executives in the workplace

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