Engaging Learners by Putting Them Centre Stage

Engaging Learners

Think back to your school days, and the chances are that teachers decided what you learnt and how you learnt it. If the pace was too fast or too slow, or lessons covered what you already knew or had no interest in knowing, you just switched off.

Learners are still switching off because while everything else in their lives has changed, most learning – whether at school, college or in the workplace – is stuck in the past. The same programmes are rolled out year after year, regardless of individuals’ specific and fast-changing learning needs. So, it’s not surprising that workplace training often fails to develop the skills and know-how employees need to do their jobs more effectively. Just how often this happens is shown by the latest annual L&D Health Check from Towards Maturity, which found that only 15% of L&D professionals had seen positive changes in the behaviour of employees who had gone through training programmes. And workplace training that doesn’t produce these changes is a waste of time and money.

Battling for learners’ attention

L&D professionals clearly need to find new ways of engaging learners at a time when the volume of information competing for everyone’s attention is growing exponentially. A recent study by researchers at the Technical University of Denmark confirms what we all know instinctively: that an abundance of information is narrowing attention spans.

To win the battle for learners’ attention, those who design and deliver workplace training programmes need to start putting learners centre stage. That means establishing who they are, what they already know and what else they need to know.

It also means accepting that attention spans are getting shorter, and working with this fact of life, instead of trying to fight it. Learners are most likely to be engaged by learning content delivered in small chunks known as micro-learning modules that give them the specific information they need, when they need it. So instead of expecting everyone in a team to wade through the same learning content, a collection of micro-learning modules assembled for individual leaners will build on their existing knowledge and skills, and address their particular interests. In addition, since these modules can be produced at the speed of change, learning content is always fresh and relevant.

Research by Raytheon Professional Services shows that micro-learning increases leaners’ focus and supports long-term retention by up to 80%. An added bonus is that employees themselves can choose micro-learning modules to develop skills that equip them to navigate the twists and turns of 21st century career paths. 

A new way of personalising learning

Introducing an engaging, learner-centric approach that uses micro-learning alongside other digital tools may sound like a tall order – especially for businesses still relying on traditional training programmes. But there are experts out there ready to help L&D teams meet this challenge.

Raytheon Professional Services is one of the leading pioneers of adaptive learning, a data-driven method of personalising training content by making it responsive to the needs of individual learners. “Our digital learning solutions focus on individual learners because we recognise that everyone has a unique way of learning,” explains Steve Thompson, Business Development Director EMEA at Raytheon Professional Services.

“We provide relevant micro-learning content that learners can access from any device, at any time and in any place. We also give organisations the tools to continuously track individual learners’ progress and adapt learning to their specific needs. This learner-centric approach has proved highly effective in engaging learners from across a range of sectors, whatever their existing skills levels happen to be.”

Sharing best practice

How to deliver a learner-centric approach to workplace training is one of the topics that will be explored at the 7th annual Raytheon Symposium where the overarching theme will be “Leveraging L&D to overcome the skills shortages”. Hosted by Raytheon Professional Services, in partnership with CorporateLeaders, the Symposium will bring together senior HR, Learning & Development and Training leaders to share knowledge and best practice, and debate key training issues.

To register for this collaborative learning event that will be held in London on 26th September and in Frankfurt on 10th October, visit https://offers.corporateleaderscommunications.com/raytheon-symposium-2019