Virtually There Session Recap
The last ten years brought us a digital revolution. New technologies and applications changed the way we live our lives. More interestingly, perhaps, is the impact this decade has had on how we behave. As consumers, we are radically different than previous generations. We want effective solutions to our problems immediately, and thanks to platforms like Amazon, that’s not an unreasonable request.
Did you know that this consumerism has spilled into how we learn? In fact, as guest Virtually There speaker Treion Muller recently pointed out, seven consumer realities specifically impact learning and development, creating challenges for L&D professionals in this space.
What pain points are we experiencing? Treion posed this exact question to his learners and shared his expertise for overcoming them. Two questions in particular caught my attention, and Treion’s answers may help you improve the functionality of learning within your organization.
How do you handle delivering highly technical content to a non-technical audience? My content puts too much cognitive load on my learners, but there’s pressure from the business to train quickly and get people out the door.
“Wow! That’s a very real challenge and not just for technical content. This is also true of contractual content – very rich content that requires sequential delivery, like compliance training. We want people to do it quickly. One of the most important things you can do is to educate those decision makers and leaders saying 'do things quickly.' Go out and find research that says, 'It’s better to break up the content into bite-sizes, to have people apply it, learn something else, apply it. And making learners accountable is also essential.' For me, application and accountability are the keys for people to learn, but you have to break it down. I recommend that you ask for a pilot group, so one group of learners goes through the technical training designed the new way (bite-sized delivery supported by learning application and learner accountability) and the other goes through it the old way. At the end of both programs, assess both groups to see who performed better and who retained more and who’s doing a better job on-the-job. It’s hard to argue when the outcomes of the newly designed program improve over the old way of doing things."
How does language competency of learners impact the learning experience? I work with learners from around the globe in VT environment. I’m sometimes challenged because we are covering a lot of ground, and I worry that it’s still too content rich.
“Absolutely. Anytime you add someone whose first language is not English (in an English-speaking classroom), you’re going to add to that cognitive load. What I would recommend, and this is one of my favorite practices. I’m in the project management world, and one of the greatest tools we have is from the ideation stage, is creating an FAQ document that is in a wiki. Anyone has access to it that you want. Allow everyone to contribute to FAQ / wiki. I would assign someone on your team to be in charge of the FAQ document and invite everyone from these countries to participate so that if a question is raised or a statement is made, they all know, 'I might not get it now. That’s confusing to me. But I know I can go back to the wiki or the Google Doc or whatever and I can look at what Elizabeth was talking about.'
The FAQ helps reduce cognitive load because when people say, 'Oh! I didn’t get that. But that’s ok, I can relax on that point, I know where to get it afterwards, I can focus on the next point.'
Using your company’s intranet to create a Community of Practice is a good second dimension to this process. Make the community vibrant and alive. You’ll have to populate some of the FAQs and answers to get it started, but then you have people contribute their insights and answers to that. But if you let people know, 'Hey! We are going to cover a lot of things. Don’t worry. Not only will I give you a guide, which is not dynamic, but if you want the updated stuff, access the intranet.' That’s what I would do."
Curious about the seven consumer realities impacting L&D? Looking for information about other pain points practitioners and learning teams face? Watch the entire recording of Treion’s Virtually There session here and download the helpful related infographic.