Here at Corvil, the eLearning team is tasked with creating a blend of digital content and instructor-led training to educate end users on using Corvil’s technology. To create effective digital content, we need to understand what makes our end users tick: how they learn, when they learn, why they learn, and the modalities through which they prefer to learn.
Recent research1 has given us some new insight into learners in the modern workplace, and it is great food for thought for any digital content designer or Learning and Development practitioner.
How, when and why they learn
The modern learner learns within the workflow and at their point-of- need; identifying knowledge and skills gaps as they encounter them on-the-job and seeking out appropriate bite-sized chunks of learning to plug the gaps. According to the research, 70% of employees within the study group indicated that they used search engines to find these pieces of micro-learning. This is presumably because of a perception that they would otherwise have to wade through unwieldy in-house training courses to find the nugget of learning content they were looking for. However, finding such nuggets via an external search engine has its own problems in term of content provenance and validity. Ideally, these nuggets would be created as part of in-house training interventions, and available via a searchable learning repository such as a Learning Management System.
The modality through which they prefer to learn
Modern learners have short attention spans and have an expectation of a multi-sensory experience from all digital content, including learning content. Video learning content of 3-5 minutes in duration is their preferred format for learning.
The devices through which they access learning content
It’s estimated that smartphone users check their phones 9 times an hour, so it should come as no surprise that modern learners are more likely to search for, access, and engage with point-of-need learning via mobile devices.
Many of these findings may seem obvious to anyone just observing the behaviour of those around them, but they have far-reaching implications for the design and delivery of effective digital learning content. The findings represent a shift away from the concept of the monolithic eLearning course sitting on a Learning Management System, designed to be navigated in a linear fashion and taken outside of the learner’s workflow.
Corvil supports point-of-need learning
At Corvil, we believe in the effectiveness of learning within the workflow and the positive impact it can have on transfer of learning. On the Corvil Learning Center, digital learning content is built around this concept of short, digestible, 3-5 minute videos designed to support point-of-need workflow learning and tailored to the way in which the modern learner consumes digital content. But as experienced learning designers who know better than to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we also recognise the value of aggregating and sequencing these learning nuggets into courses, particularly for learners who wish to achieve Corvil certification. Such learners benefit from knowing the course structure that allows them to build upon pre-requisite learning.
Three types of learning occur within any workplace; formal learning (the structured courses on the LMS), non-formal learning (the point-of-need learning nuggets) and social/informal learning (informal information sharing). The goal of Corvil’s eLearning team is to create the digital learning content and the technology infrastructures to deliver and enable all 3 types of learning for Corvil’s end users.