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Digital learning insights: The role of student care in the workplace

“Today learning is about “flow” not “instruction,” and helping bring learning to people throughout their digital experience.”

Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal at Bersin by Deloitte

Too much of a good thing can sometimes have the opposite impact. There are so many great training materials and digital learning solutions created with the best intentions but often, like that moment you realise you shouldn’t have ordered that dessert the size of your head, students feel overwhelmed and drowned in the goodness.  

Of course, we offer eLearning solutions, so we’re bound to say that digital learning is epic. What stands us apart though is the additional student care and mentorship work we do. Like that bestfriend who is always there for a natter over a cuppa when things don’t go your way, we are always on hand to help students to get the best out of training.  

Many businesses are now developing great digital learning resources that help fuel independent self directed learning – kudos to you. Today though, like a friendly but unexpected poke on Facebook – yes they still exist – we want to turn your attention more specifically to the role of student care in the workplace. Exploring the student care blockers and hopefully inspiring you to break them down and enhance the learning experience for employees. 


The tick tock battle: there just isn’t enough time in the day

There’s nothing like a good statistic to kick things off, so here goes. According to The Future Workplace and Beyond.com study The Active Job Seeker Dilemma, 83% of HR leaders said “employee experience” is either important or very important to their organisation’s success, and they are investing more in training. That’s good right?

The problem of course is that you could invest in a finite number of learning resources but employees need the time to use them, as well as time from managers, to support them through the learning process. Even eLearning requires human contact, in a study on meeting the demands of a modern workforce, Erin Behrendt, Learning & Development Facilitator at Air Systems, Inc, said: 

“Everyone is so busy, and it’s a mindset shift to make time to sit through eLearning. Some people do a good job with making time for it, but it’s probably the minority in a lot of work environments. When you are face to face with someone, though, it’s easier to get into the learning mindset.”

Josh Bersin also highlighted in a recent article on the disruption of digital learning, that in a given week, employees take less than 25 minutes of time to actually slow down and learn. 

We know you want to encourage employees to engage with learning more, but the chances are you don’t have time – beyond delivering the learning resources – to offer learning support. In turn, many employees have a desire to learn more but they lack the time or motivation to use those resources. And therein lies the ‘tick tock challenge’ conundrum.

The overwhelment struggle is real: breaking things down

Based on forgetting curve research, within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50% of the information you presented. Something that CEO of AKLearning Art Kohn says should be very much at front of mind for learning and development managers when they design their training. He explains: 

“Given that our employees forget most of what they learn, we should have no hope that our training will transfer back to the workplace. After all, memory is a necessary condition for behavior change, and if your employees have forgotten the lessons of your leadership seminar, there is no reason to expect them to become more effective leaders back in the workplace.”

Neurologist Larry Rosen also points out in an article on overwhelmed employees that the average employee focuses on a single task for only seven minutes before getting distracted. And the distraction is most likely a beeping, blinking, or buzzing phone, because mobile device users check their phones about 150 times daily!

You could be a brainiac like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, but even he can’t defy the science of forgetting. This is why microlearning or short eLearning videos have become a popular solution for learning in the workplace. 


Fueling employee learning experience: loyalty isn’t enough

Like a corporate Cinderella story, the learning and development industry has undergone somewhat of a makeover and digital transformation in recent years. From the dowdy days of reading manuals and watching long training videos, to the sparkly times of mobile learning and engaging eLearning videos.

The slipper fits, but there is still some work to do when it comes to student care in the workplace. And to get to that happy ending we need to realise that expecting employees to learn based on loyalty to the business alone isn’t enough. Authors of a paper on Learner Support in the Workplace, Linda J. Smith & Kristen Drago explain:

“On the employee side, organisations can no longer count on the loyalty of employees to dedicate themselves to training, particularly if that commitment extends to learning on their own time. From the employee perspective, learning must lead to the attainment of personal goals as well as organisational ones.”

Investing in digital learning solutions is a step in the right direction, but businesses also need to offer their employees continual support to work through those materials and keep employees engaged in learning. This can be done not just through support and mentorship, but also by aligning performance review and measurement with training.

Founder of Learning Peaks and a Top 100 eLearning influencer, Patti Shank, believes that even well designed training also requires the other performance issues to be aligned for the training to be successful. In an elearning industry blog highlighting the issues of relying solely on training she explains:

“If alignment between the training and expectations, feedback, tools, resources, consequences, incentives, processes, and other aspects of the work environment doesn’t happen, training can be an expensive waste of resources.”


Adding the human touch to eLearning

This is why we apply so much importance to student care with our corporate eLearning solution; providing students with one to one support, mentorship and ongoing routes of communication. All in a bid to improve engagement and align their training with performance targets and aims, and also their own professional goals. 

The time battle and overwhelment struggle can be resolved both for the employees and learning and development managers keen to increase employee engagement and improve employee experience.

Invest in digital learning solutions that include student care, mentorship and bitesize learning that can be absorbed in smaller bursts. Only then will you be able to truly deliver a learning experience that your employees love and get the results you need to prove the ROI of your digital learning investments.

See also: Learning People launches corporate training solution