Today’s competitive landscape requires workers who can learn and apply knowledge faster than ever. Spending on corporate training has grown to $70 billion in the U.S. and over $130 billion worldwide. Has this increased investment taught us the best way to teach today’s workforce? How do workers learn best? To answer these questions we usually start with the newest generation entering the workplace. We know that today’s workforce is in the midst of a generational shift:
>> More than one in three American workers today are millennials.
>> In 2015 millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
What does this generational change mean for learning? It may not mean as much as we think. Focusing on the wants and needs of millennials seems like a good place to begin, but new research reveals the best way to learn doesn’t consistently rely on age or experience.
Age doesn’t dictate how each worker learns best. To teach today’s workforce it’s crucial to address the needs of modern learners. These learners are busy balancing work and home life, looking for ongoing self- and professional development as ways of keeping pace with constant change. Above all, modern workers are savvy consumers. When faced with an abundance of learning and development options, they expect the same level of relevance, quality and delivery flexibility they encounter daily in their customer transactions.
To attract and engage modern learners, learning must be personalized to the needs of each learner, sized to fit into open spaces of time and attention and embedded into daily experience.
1. MODERN LEARNING MUST BE LEARNER-CENTRIC
Learning must be personalized to enable learners to choose what, how and when they want to learn resulting in ‘one-size fits one’ experiences. Serving up related content on relevant topics, in learners’ preferred formats, helps create a unique journey aligned to each learner’s needs and preferences.
2. MODERN LEARNING MUST BE MICRO-SIZED AND MODULAR
Uninterrupted time is limited: providing short bursts of knowledge that can stand alone or serve as components of broader programs is key.
3. MODERN LEARNING MUST BE MOBILE
Learning must go with the learner. Modern learning considers the most appropriate mode for learning while on the go. Support the needs of today’s active workers with videos, e-books and audio books that can be consumed while walking, running, biking or driving.
While L&D professionals must learn to adapt some of their methods to better serve the modern learner, many basic principles of strong learning program design remain the same. Learners still want—and need—content presented in a variety of different modalities. Opportunities for reinforcement, practice and application on the job are still crucial for helping learning stick. Rethinking the types of multimodal content we provide and how we ensure learning is retained an applied ensures that learning keeps pace with the changing needs of today’s workforce.
Download new research from Skillsoft to learn how to meet the requirements of modern learners.
--Kieran King, VP, Global Enablement, Customer Insight & Field Marketing
Kieran began her career in the talent field more than 20 years ago, participating in the evolution of the industry by consulting with organizations across a wide variety of sectors and geographies. She has designed enterprise learning programs, implemented learning and talent platforms, led strategy engagements, and advised on measuring impact on business outcomes. Kieran has authored several methodologies and white papers, she blogs regularly and she’s been featured in multiple magazines. Today, Kieran studies the composition of successful learning and talent partnerships throughout the world.