As we enter into 2022, we are reflecting on the latest learning transformations we’ve seen in the training and enablement world.
In last year's digital learning lessons article, we focused on the expansion of online learning in the wake of the pandemic, and how digital technology can be effectively integrated into training programs to benefit the learner. After another home-bound year, our devices are even more integrated into our lives, both at home and at work. Digital learning is now a permanent fixture in the workplace, a transformation that has brought numerous benefits to learners. Half of learners find it easier to fit online learning into their working day, and geography is no longer a barrier to accessing engaging and enriching learning programs.
However, there are some downsides to the shift towards online learning, with almost half of learners experiencing ‘digital fatigue’ due to an overexposure to screen time. To build on the benefits of online learning, it’s essential for companies to continue to seek out creative and varied ways to engage with their learners.
So as we enter the new year, take a look at our recommendations to keep digital learning relevant and effective for 2022.
Insight 1: Integrate social elements to enhance the digital experience
Integrating social and human elements into training programs can help to transcend the digital divide and combat digital fatigue. This year, we’ve seen the value of online learning communities in our work, giving learners opportunities to reflect and discuss together, as they would in a physical classroom. However, social learning goes beyond chat forums — it’s about bringing the human element back into our digital experience.
Personalized goals: give learners the option to set their own learning targets at the start of the course (5 minutes daily, or 1 hour each week)
Ice-breakers and team games: add interactivity to live learning sessions to generate excitement and create a sense of togetherness
Live leaderboards: if your learning platform supports it, add an element of competition and foster community by showing how many learners are taking part at the same time
Insight 2: People learn best when they learn less
Hour-long e-Learning modules lose their appeal in our screen-saturated world. Modern learners expect the consumption of content to be frictionless and quick. Learning content needs to be concise and modular, providing learners with actionable information and allowing them to internalize key messages before building on top of them. Feedback from our learning community has shown the popularity of micro content for formats such as interactive games and short infographics. We don’t see this trend going away any time soon.
Complement an existing learning program by translating the key messages into bite-size learning formats, such as:
Repetition really is at the root of all learning. Nudges aim to positively influence the choices we make, but without taking away the power to choose. A timely and informative email campaign can help reignite a learner’s enthusiasm for training and set them on a consistent learning path.
Effective nudges are Easy, Attractive, Timely and Social (EAST), such as:
Easy: make opt-in the default rather than opt-out (according to country legal requirements)
Attractive: use simple and visual designs, and include the learner’s name in communications
Social: ask learners to make a pledge or commitment to change after a program and check in on their progress
Timely: appeal to our inherent ‘present bias’ and tell learners what they will be able to do immediately after the learning
Insight 4: Inclusive learning is no longer a nice-to-have
As we explored in our accessibility series, accessibility should not be an afterthought when creating learning content. Diversity and inclusivity need to be integrated into the entire learning development process. It’s expected in 2022 that the drive for further inclusivity will continue to have an impact on everything from diversity to accessibility.
Know your audience: thorough research of your learners will ensure that your training resonates with everyone
Explore accessible technology: test your online training to ensure that it’s compatible with accessibility tools such as screen readers. Check out this infographic to learn more about the dos and don’ts of accessible online training
Design with inclusivity in mind: when you create characters or include people in your designs, be sure to highlight different cultures, beliefs, skin colors and disabilities. To ensure your designs are accessible to all, use appropriate color contrast and font sizes for readability and add Alt Text to all images so no one misses out on key information
Insight 5: Make learning mobile-first
Mobile and video-based learning continues to be a priority as people look to integrate learning into their everyday lives. In 2021, we saw the demand for mobile-first learning programs increase dramatically. With a shorter completion time and accessible and engaging format, mobile learning makes sense for today’s time-strapped learners.
What’s more, a 2020 Ofcom report found that 81% of measured time spent online in the UK was on a mobile or tablet device, with desktop-only usage down to 4%. Mobile learning programs meet learners’ needs and existing online habits, increasing both the relevance and reach of learning content.
Social media: harness the power of social media by integrating learning into your social channels by creating short video tutorials or informative carousels. This is particularly effective for product training and customer education
Micro e-Modules: if your learners are short on time, use micro modules to give them the information they need, when they need it
Video: use video to entertain and educate your learners. After a year of webinars in 2020, we recommend keeping video short and sweet for maximum impact. However, there’s so much to explore with video, from immersive interactive video to personal trainer-led how-to videos
In 2021, we’ve continued our journey into the world of digital learning, looking for new ways to innovate, whether through augmented reality, interactive video or social media shorts. We hope these lessons help you better understand and engage with your audience, and continue to provide interactive and informative content to your learners in 2022.