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Digital Learning Beyond the Classroom

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

As technology continues to permeate our professional lives and shape the future of work, its effect on learning is prominent. Bearing witness to this is the tremendous uptick in recent months of the transition from in-person to virtual classrooms. Though accelerated by the pandemic, this trend has taken center stage to become the one of the highlights of digital adoption globally as it shows the plethora of benefits technology offers the learner experience.

However, this is neither the beginning nor the end of the interfacing of technology and learning. Technological solutions exists for just about all critical activities that form, contribute to, and achieve learning. These include design, orienting learners, evaluation, retention, and application, among others. Though technology’s transformation of these elements may not be making headlines as readily as that of the classroom, digitization of all aspects of learning presents opportunities for creating greater engagement, effectiveness, and impact.

Therefore, looking back on what continues to resonate most from TechKnowledge, “applying digital learning solutions beyond the classroom” is front of mind. By incorporating digital solutions that support varying aspects of the learner journey, attendees were challenged to go beyond the synonymity that is often associated between learning and the classroom and embrace learning in its entirety.

Below are some of the critical areas of learning and a few of the digital activities explored at TechKnowledge that can be leveraged to transform them.

Design and Collaboration

Digital prototyping is a great solution when working with dispersed teams, which is a current reality for many. It allows for planning, designing, testing, receiving feedback, and co-editing learning projects, all of which help with the timely design of learning that is optimized for the transfer of knowledge. What’s more is that it is often easy to incorporate live feedback received from subject matter experts, project sponsors, and other stakeholders throughout the design and testing phases. Shaping the learning experience through collaboration can also be done by incorporating ideas or feedback of potential learners, and online polling is one way to do so. This was deployed by the TK Connect community recently. Ahead of the second TK Connect session this year, TechKnowledge attendees were polled to see what they were most interested in discussing with their peers. The results of the poll determined the focus of the learning event. This engagement ensured relevancy of the learning as well as encouraged participation and greater productivity within the session.


Orienting Learners

Help learning develop a mindset that is conducive to learning by having registrants complete online prework. An interactive case study to explore leadership styles accompanied by self-assessment using online predictive tools is a prework example suited to leadership training.

Similarly, having learners engage with self-paced microlearning content can assist them with gaining foundational knowledge or grasping simpler concepts, leaving time spent with the facilitator open for the exploration of more complex modules that may require greater interaction.

Another activity that can be used to orient learners is gamification, and there are numerous ways to apply technology to do so—from AR and VR to interactive puzzles and personality quizzes. These tools can be used to create a fun challenge related to the learning theme that demonstrates the need for training to potential participants, thereby increasing learner buy-in.


Evaluating Learning Impact

If learner evaluations and feedback are a nightmare for aggregation, online forms that generate graphical reports to have actionable data with ease are a welcome solution. They can be deployed to as digital smile sheets or tests that assess participant knowledge. Graphical data can be exported and included in monthly training reports and participant grades can be issued immediately, if desired.

Gamification can also be used for evaluating learning impact. For example, if scored and structured according to learning outcome(s), the fun challenge used to orient learners and gain buy-in can be reissued after the learning experience and comparisons of the pretraining to post-training results can be a great way to see if “the needle has moved.”

Retention and On-the-Job Application

Both online prework and self-paced microlearning that aid with orienting learners can also aid retention because they allow for the spacing of lessons and learner recall that boosts retention of the knowledge and skills gained throughout the learning experience. Combining that with additional microlearning content that is dripped to reinforce those knowledge and skills will further aid learner retention and even act as an additional catalyst for on the-job-application.

There are numerous other areas where technology can be applied to reap an array of benefits.

In an increasingly digital world, learner expectations dictate that learning, too, becomes increasingly digital. Further to this, organizations leveraging learning require that the technology used enables relevancy of content, productivity, value creation, real change, and more. TechKnowledge explored and continues to explore digital learning solutions that respond to these demands. Taking advantage of these opportunities to better deliver on learner and organizational needs can continue to increase the overall impact of learning endeavors.

About the Author

Khadija Moore is an experienced organizational development leader with demonstrable achievements working with global companies. Having successfully led and implemented large-scale corporate strategic projects to achieve greater organizational effectiveness and performance, she continues to empower people and transform culture to achieve business goals.

Khadija holds a degree in International Business Management and is CPTD certified. She is also a featured speaker at conferences.

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