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Want better outcomes? Adopt high-impact modern learning practices

What do today’s learners want?

This question represents a significant concern for many organizations, especially those with low employee engagement and high turnover rates. While the downsides of traditional training methods are more broadly recognized, there’s still uncertainty around which modern learning practices are most effective.

And, as many companies are discovering, there’s a lot more involved in matching learner expectations than simply throwing mobile at the problem. While modern technology is a step in the right direction, mobile devices only solve the “how,” not the “what,” of modern learning.

Here’s the question organizations would be better off asking: What learning practices can we adopt to deliver what learners really need?

The value of high-impact learning moments

While employees want learning at work to reflect how they find information in their personal lives, there’s a key difference: Workplace learning must help employees perform their jobs better and have well-constructed guardrails in place.

It’s commonly recognized (and bemoaned) that employees lose up to 90% of what they learned during onboarding and training unless those lessons and content are reinforced. The consequence of this memory loss is high levels of frustration when the employee is attempting to do his or her job and needs to recall what was learned but can’t. These moments are make-or-break for employee engagement and retention, which is why they need to be targeted with high-impact learning.

How do you achieve high-impact learning? By making on-demand refreshers available to employees that provide the mission-critical content needed to do the job.

These high-impact learning moments cements skills into an employee’s mind and enables task completion. Remarkably, early successes are shown to produce high-performance capabilities that the employee can use at more advanced levels to drive business results.

However, in order to optimize these high-impact learning moments, knowledge discovery should be guided, with only accurate and timely information delivered to an employee that reflects what he or she needs to learn right now to get the job done. Learning experiences should also be personalized and reflect the specific information needed by that individual employee. Ideally, content is media-rich and interactive, allowing learners to pick what works best for their own learning style (videos, images, etc.).

In short, employees need learning in the flow of work where everything is simplified for ease of use and speed. These types of learning moments are “high-impact” because they not only make learning relevant and effective, but they lead to positive outcomes such as:

  • Decreased time to productivity
  • Increased employee retention rates
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Upgraded performance output by individuals

Best practices that deliver modern learning

The Brandon Hall Group examined modern organizations that benefit from high-impact learning approaches, and they discovered three best practices.

The first best practice brings us back to the question above about delivering what learners need. Not surprisingly, employees have the highest rates of success when learning experiences are contextual and personalized to their specific role, career path, and what they already know. Anytime employees can understand how their work impacts the business and tie their personal objectives into it, engagement and productivity increase.

In fact, Brandon Hall discovered that the highest impact activity is ensuring learners know the goals and outcomes expected from the program (89%). Next best is giving learners an introduction that explains how the program will be delivered, i.e. expectation-setting (75%). Rounding out the top three is the ability to search, explore, and discover learning opportunities (71%).

Since these high-impact learning practices deliver superior business results, you could argue that learners aren’t the only ones who need a modern learning environment. Perhaps the real question is: What are you waiting for?

Discover the other two high-impact best practices when you check out our Bringing Learning to Work eBook or watch the on-demand Inkling and Brandon Hall webinar.

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