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Oct 22, 2015 Katelind Hays

Learner Engagement in the Modern Classroom

Learner_Engagement_in_the_Modern_ClassroomATD Session Recap

Graciously hosted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) on Friday, October 16, Jennifer Hofmann presented, Learner Engagement in the Modern Classroom.

The agenda for the session was, “To answer a lot of questions about the way modern learning works, and how learning professionals engage their participants.”

This post will include highlights from each question discussed.

Question 1: What is the modern classroom?

Session participants answered this question posited by Jennifer in number of ways, effectively covering the definition. Key attendee contributions included:

  • “Lots of distractions, fast technology – we are ‘Google searchers’.”
  • “Blended learning.”
  • “More informal means of learning, more collaboration.”
  • “Virtual, mobile, interactive.”
  • “In and out of ‘trade class,’ podcasts, share sites, virtual tools.”
  • “An environment that facilitates a learning experience, across all available platforms – physical and digital.

Question 2: What is learner engagement?

Jennifer explained learner engagement using the definition created by an InSync Training colleague. It reads: “Engagement is an internal learner dynamic that varies throughout a learning experience, which can affect motivation, persistence, and satisfaction.”

This definition is ideal because it takes the following into consideration:

  • Motivation: Do I want to continue to learn in this environment?
  • Persistence: Do I feel like I can push through when it gets difficult?
  • Satisfaction: At the end, am I inclined to think that it was time well spent and I’m better off for it?

Question 3: Does engagement equal learning?

Attendees agreed that engagement does not equate to learning. Jennifer expanded on this consensus, saying, “Just because you’re engaged, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re learning. Providing engagement and keeping learners engaged, giving them a reason to persist through the training, improves the chance of true learning and meeting performance objectives.”

Extrapolating further, attendees contributed:

  • “Engagement may more accurately equal the amount they get out of training.
  • “Engagement implies a 2 way connection.”

A great question came through chat, “Can learning occur without engagement?” Jennifer responded, “Engagement can help learning. It doesn’t mean they are learning if they are engaged. You can be engaged in the moment, but that doesn’t translate into learning.”

Question 4: What does modern learning culture include?

InSync Training has defined ten ways to influence modern learning culture. To see all ten, download our infographic, What is Driving the Modern Learning Culture?

One way to evolve with the learning culture is to create community. When asked to do so, participants shared how they build community in their organizations, including:

  • “Whole team participates in learning as well as facilitating learning. We share ideas/concepts often.”
  • “1 topic per quarter: Month 1 we write a high level blog. Month 2 is a detail blog. And month 3 is a webinar."
  • “We do a monthly webinar entitled “Fridays with Learning” where we discuss a focused, relevant topic for our sales organization.”

Question 5: Why is engagement different in the modern classroom?

To conclude the session, Jennifer asked attendees why engagement is different in the modern classroom. The perspectives shared brought the session to a fantastic close:

  • “Not as easy calling on someone and making them answer a question anymore, really have to convince learners to participate.”
  • “The modern learning culture is consistently multi-tasking and integrating multi-media."
  • “Expectations are higher, people want relevance.”
  • “Environmental factors have altered the way younger learners learn.”
  • “Employees are tasked with more process responsibilities – multiple roles.”
  • “Pressure to deliver something that ‘wows’ them.”
  • “Generational and cultural differences, global world."
  • “Flexible work schedules make it hard to have a collaborative group available at the same time.”

For more information about modern workplace learning, the virtual classroom, and engagement techniques, access these complimentary resources:

For hands-on, in-depth instruction on designing for the modern classroom, you might be interested in our newly revised Virtual Classroom Design Mastery certificate course. To download the course description, just click on the graphic below.

Virtual Classroom Design Mastery Series Badge

Published by Katelind Hays October 22, 2015
Katelind Hays