The new dawn of the decade brings loads of opportunities for exploring, discovering and experiencing new approaches leading to new learning of knowledge, skills and process abilities. The holistic growth of every individual commences from personal and professional experiences of the mind and the intellect. The balance of these truly brings about a transformation in every individual.
With the industries undergoing high disruptions, convergence of technologies leading to more ambiguity and complexities, life is moving at a neck breaking speed. So how does the learning community and professionals enable compelling learning experiences that enable people to keep pace with the changes, learn in an agile manner and transform themselves and their work in line with the changes around them and excel at what they do?
Here are some aspects to keep in mind:
Evoke Curiosity in Learners – “Change” – the magical experience that each person needs to experience need to be seen as “Value”. This can happen only if people believe in Lifelong Learning or Continual Learning. A time was there when people thought “Computers” would take away their jobs and here we are going through a similar thought process that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning would replace jobs. Yes, in a way they may! They will help us to remove the mundane and repeatable activities in our lives leaving us more time to do more meaningful and greater contributions! Only if we see through a positive lens. Being prepared for newer roles and exploring and discovering newer avenues will enable us to go through paths we may have never thought or dreamt of! Now that is exciting – isn’t it? Hence learning, needs to be viewed as a continuous and connected process which keeps on changing at every step and stage of our lives. Keeping a track of this continual learning culture will help learners to raise the bar of their capabilities, demonstrate confidence and see value in their contributions.
Be Aware of Shorter Attention Spans in Learners – The persistently shrinking attention spans are a challenge that today’s learning professionals need to address very carefully. Another point to also remember is the diversity in learners and their learning styles. For most of the learners time is a constraint and therefore text-intensive, lengthy sessions spread over long hours need to be replaced with Bite-size or Nano Learning (an e-learning module designed to let the learners learn a specific content in an under the 5-minute frame) and Micro-Learning (a mode of e-learning delivery that involves micro-bursts of highly engaging and interactive information, delivered to the learners with mostly a short-term learning perspective). It is also important to capture and measure behaviors and attention towards learning to enable effectiveness and applicability of what is learnt.
Personalize and Focus on Self-Paced Learning – The days of providing specific programs based on roles or levels are reducing and the concept of single programs for a set of audience is being slowly replaced by more and more customized to suit individual needs. This brings a point to understand specific needs of individuals, their styles and abilities to imbibe new aspects, time that they must focus on learning etc. Learning professionals are constantly in pressure to ensure the overall experience, engagement and quality and the relevance of the content are high for learners. This forces the learning professionals to put their thinking caps on, use creativity and design thinking concepts to practice while creating a blue-print or framework for individual learners. The various learning platforms, online repositories and digital content available enables learners to focus on learning at their own pace and time. Learners today have immense variety of resources -Video’s, Podcast, digital libraries, articles, apps etc., available to leverage “learning anytime, anywhere”!
Focus on Holistic Growth - It is not enough if people learn only the technical skills in current times. It is very important to focus on the changes in industries where we are focusing as well as core professional (behavioral) and leadership skills. Every attribute needs a fresh lens to be able to respond positively in today's changing world. Hence Learning Professionals have this additional responsibility to ensure there is a holistic growth among their learners.
Newer Modes of Learning Mechanisms – While the In-Class sessions, Webinars, Virtual Classrooms, e-Learning, Blended Learning, Formal Learning, Informal Learning, Action Learning or any other mode of Online Learning are all prevalent in present times, some newer approaches are becoming more popular and finding it way to enable learners get more experience and hands-on.
- “Adaptive Learning” - which uses computer algorithms to orchestrate the interaction with the learner and deliver customized resources and learning activities to address the unique needs of each learner. It collects specific information about individual learners' behaviors by tracking how they answer questions. The tool then responds to each learner by changing the learning experience to better suit that person's needs, based on their unique and specific behaviors and answers.
- “Immersive Learning” – which places learners in an interactive learning environment, either physically or virtually, to replicate possible scenarios or to teach skills or techniques. The environment enables the learners to completely get immersed in the learning and in a way that feels like experiencing an actual environment. Immersive tools like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, allows learners to experience abstract concept in three-dimensional space; find meaning of words and links between concepts. It helps to transforms the passive learning into technology-assisted immersive learning that gives learners an opportunity to explore and navigate the topics they are learning and live inside them like never.
- “Crowdsourcing Learning” – Crowdsourcing – a blend of words “crowd” and “outsourcing” is the practice of obtaining information input into learning from others, by enlisting the assistance from several people typically online via the Internet. A well-known example of crowdsourcing is free encyclopedia Wikipedia, the open-access compilation of curated articles and dedicated input from people from around the world.
- “Collaborative Learning” - is the process in which two or more individuals learn together on their own or in a larger group setting. People learn by discussing, debating and deliberating on a common platform. This helps in getting various perspectives and learning from each other’s experiences.
- “Discovery Learning” – a method wherein the learners find solutions to various challenges by asking questions. This helps to incorporate their past experiences, observations existing knowledge over a concept or topic into the discovery process. It helps from building on what is known and discovering the unknown as they actively discover a new solution to the challenge in front of them. A slight variant of this is “Dialogue Learning”, wherein a individual learner’s point of view is presented and another individual presents a different point of view. Each of these points of views have a basis on valid data rather then any emotional perspectives. This is also linked to the Socratic Method.
- “Generative Learning” – a style wherein the learner’s existing knowledge is combined with experimentation, generating new knowledge. A great way of approach for team-based learning exercises, where the team members are challenges to view existing methods of work in a new and innovative way.
- “Social Learning” is another way that is becoming very prominent among learners. This approach of learning could be synchronous or asynchronous online learning that occurs in a social setting, most recently through social media or social learning platforms, where users can interact, collaborate, and communicate on the learning topic. Meet-Ups also fall in this category wherein people interested in specific areas meet and learn from sharing their knowledge with each other. A great way of keeping oneself up to date of what is happening in the industry as well as learning newer approaches.
- “Multimodal Learning” is the effective use of multiple modalities, or delivery methods, in training. Research shows that most training leaders believe offering multiple modalities is vital for training success. Technology enables multimodal learning through mobile apps, e-learning platforms, job aids, simulations and other modalities. It also helps ensure retention and application by reinforcing content over a longer time period.
Making Learning Fun – Children learn fast as they do not keep any apprehension in their minds and they are ready to take risk. “Enliven the child in you when learning!” – this should be the goal for every learner. Learning professionals can do this by bringing "Gamification" into learning - makes learning a fun activity. The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning.
It is important to create engaging and compelling experiences for learners to make learning enjoyable and getting addicted to! A good learning experience platform helps in driving a culture of learning within organizations. It is important to blend different approaches, curate the right and best content, provide challenging opportunities and enhance the learner’s overall experience.
May this new decade create positive transformation in “Learning experiences” for every individual! Wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!
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