6 key considerations for better learning experiences.

02.11.2021

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6 key considerations for better learning experiences.

In recent years there has been increased discussion and interest about delivering improved learning experiences. With this, the traditional role of an instructional designer has merged with that of a UX professional and created the newly formed ‘Learning Experience Designer’. This shift in perspectives means organisations are no longer forcing content on their learners. Instead of hiding behind mandatory training, L&D teams are now creating experiences that learners actually want to take.

But creating an engaging, enjoyable and insightful learning experience requires a lot of thought and planning. So in this blog, we’re going to share the six key considerations we think you should make to design better learning experiences.

1. Think about pre-learning engagement .

L&D teams spend a lot of time designing learning, from ensuring the appropriate learning theories are applied, to visual identity and branding. But often the pre-learning experience is completely disregarded. To ensure a slick, modern learning experience, you must consider the journey your learners will take from awareness to action. By considering the journey from this very first step and designing it carefully, your learners will have a thorough understanding of what’s on offer and why they should engage with the content at hand.

2. Choose the right technology.

Technology often poses limitations and challenges to progression in L&D. If you, as a learning professional, are struggling to use your learning platform - it’s likely your learners will be too. Difficult to use technology creates a barrier to learning and limits the likelihood of learning taking place at all.

By adopting a modern, easy-to-use learning platform that integrates with the rest of your organisations' tech ecosystem, you will be:

Easing the route to learning for your time-poor learners. You can make this process even more seamless by implementing a platform that facilitates single-sign-on (SSO), so your learners hardly realise they’ve swapped platforms!

Freeing up administrative time for your L&D team, giving them more time to focus on the overall learning experience, curating and expanding your library of resources, focusing on building new and engaging content, flipping the classroom for a new style of learning

Adaptable and personalised LMS’s, like Totara Learn, moves you away from a “one-size-fits-all” SaaS model giving you control of your learning environment, making it relatable to your learners.

3. Personalise the entire experience.

Often when people think of personalisation in learning, their minds go to adding the learner's first name into a course, email or similar. However, true personalisation is a lot more than the use of a first name. Consider Netflix as an example of great personalisation. They rarely use your first name, but their entire interface is completely tailored to you and your viewing habits. It’s this kind of personalisation that is going to transform your learning experience (and Think Learning’s rating and recommendation engine feature, introduced in 2012 is great at helping with this!)

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How are you suggesting content to your learners? Is it based on their job role or interests? If not, it’s time to consider segmenting your learners - because adopting a scattergun approach of sending all content to all learners rarely has the desired impact.

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How the learning you’re offering will affect the day-to-day lives of your learners. Are you detailing the benefits they’ll get from taking the learning at hand by applying it to real-life situations they can relate to? How do you assess their knowledge across a large organisation?

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How your learning intervention will help them progress with their personal and/or professional development. What future impact will your learners see after taking this course or programme?

4. Respect your learners time .

One of the biggest challenges L&D teams face is trying to get learners to make time for personal development. And if you want to encourage your people to become lifelong learners you must show you empathise with their pain points and any constraints they face. So, make sure that:

● Learning is easy to find.
● It’s simple and seamless to log in to the learning platform when necessary.
● The length of the learning intervention is representative of the value they’ll get from taking it.

Respecting your learners’ time in this way will enable them to build trust with you as an L&D brand. This mutual respect and trust will result in learners being willing to engage with L&D time and time again, ultimately fuelling lifelong learning and creating more skilled employees for your organisation.

5. Utilise social learning .

Learning in social and collaborative environments is proven to boost learning effectiveness. But when it comes to online or distance learning, the social aspect is often overlooked. This shouldn’t be the case. In our day-to-day lives, we spend a lot of time socialising and educating ourselves informally, not least in the last 18 months during the pandemic. And it’s time we look to these online platforms - such as YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook - for inspiration and curated content for our learners.
By utilising a learning platform such as Totara Engage, integrating social, collaborative, and engaging learning functionalities your learners can share their knowledge and experience or draw from other online platforms for informal learning. Like a “LinkedIn” for learning. For example, you may include workspaces by topic or department, which will allow your learners to interact with each other on specialist topics, as part of a training cohort or for personal development without ever leaving your platform.

6. Relate it to real-life scenarios .

If your learner cannot understand how embarking on the learning experience will benefit them, you’re going to struggle to change their behaviours. So throughout the entire learning experience you should refer back to a real-life benefit for your learner: By considering these six aspects of learning experiences before launch, you will be well on your way to creating an engaging learning environment that your people will want to participate in, resulting in a more positive learning culture for your organisation.

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When advertising your learning offering, make sure you highlight the benefit they’ll get from taking the course, no matter how obvious it seems to you. For example, if they will see a boost in productivity or their leadership skills will be enhanced - tell them!

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Throughout your learning platform, consider how you can indicate benefits to your learners. Your headings, imagery and course descriptions should all be pointing back to the real-life application of the learning at hand.

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In your learning intervention, show learners how this will be applied to their day job. In some instances, it may even be appropriate to design a simulation that allows them to practice and apply these skills in a safe environment, without the fear or risk of failure.