From Outdated to In Your Palm: Make Training Work for Today’s Employees

on February 9, 2022
Resources All Unlocking Talent

Did you know that learners forget 70% of training content within 24 hours and nearly 90% of what they learned after a month? Sad, but true. Accenture’s report Meeting the new reality: Immersive learning also tells us that 90% of executives surveyed believe current employee training methods need to be more effective.

Put all of this information together and we’re left with the realization that the way we’ve been training our people is anything but effective. If we don’t fix what isn’t working, not only are we wasting our employees’ valuable time, we’re wasting our organization’s important dollars.

Here’s the good news: There are several ways available to us right now to make learning more effective – and they don’t require the adoption of new behaviors or the purchase of new equipment. Most likely, one method is sitting next to you right now. If not, I’m willing to bet it’s in your hand. It’s your phone!

Meeting People Where They Are: Their Phones

Where do you turn when you need to install a new light fixture or garbage disposal? YouTube. How do you discover a new one-pan, family-friendly meal? TikTok. Who helps you out when you don’t know how to solve your fifth-grader’s math assignment? Google. That’s right; in a matter of seconds, your phone enables you to easily learn how to navigate almost any problem that presents itself in our non-work lives.

Data tells us that people are on their phones approximately five to six hours a day and that the average YouTube user spends 40 minutes per day watching videos via this site alone.

So why are we fighting this medium in the corporate setting? 

With amplified distractions and increased obligations taking up more and more real estate in employees’ minds, learning and development teams have a really tough job. Engaging employees must go beyond traditional learning tactics to address people’s current emotional, social, and behavioral needs. We must adapt the way we share knowledge with our people. Otherwise, as the data shows, there’s little point in even trying to grow our people’s skills.

Convenience Is Paramount: Microlearning Can Help

The landscape of learning and development is full of challenges in today’s fast-paced world. Dedicating days – or even hours – to training is difficult for most employees. People are so overtasked that they simply cannot be put of out commission for hours at a time in order to attend a training session.

We also know that people’s attention typically wanders after eight minutes. This means that all-day, or even half-day, training is definitely not the most effective way to engage your employees. The reality is that people now learn when it’s most convenient for them (and often at the moment they need the information).

So instead of turning to traditional tools for training in 2022 and beyond, maybe we should take what this article, which focuses on learning and development, by HR Network tells us and turn to microlearning – a tactic that is apt to be much more successful.

Microlearning fits easily into the workdays of most employees, who say they only have 4 minutes a day to dedicate to learning. Moreover, microlearning can improve focus and support long-term retention by up to 80% and creates 50% more engagement.

Shifting to a “just-in-time” model of learning has been shown to increase retention, as it has more importance, is interactive, and allows learners to connect the dots between the answers they’re being given and the problem at hand. They’re learning with real-life experiences in the actual flow of their daily work. It’s performance support in the palm of your hand!

Gain a Lot or Lose a Lot

We’re living and working in a hybrid world. L&D teams aren’t just competing with work commitments any longer; we’re competing with home commitments too. And as workers retire and resign with no replacements in sight, we’re asking even more of our remaining employees.

To get and then hold people’s attention is more than difficult; it’s almost impossible!

Therefore, it’s time to think about how we are already consuming and learning and do more of that in a work setting.

But it’s not just about convenience. People must be provided the opportunity to interact with the information being served too. They need immersive-based videos – employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles – where they are required to be active participants in the experience.

With all of this intel, it seems counterintuitive for L&D teams not to turn to media-rich microlearning delivered via mobile phones as a main vehicle for training. It seems more than the right time to provide engaging, bite-sized information and then follow up with community experience, with the opportunity to apply it in safe environments with peers. It’s not as complicated as it might seem once we start leaning more heavily on the behaviors that people have already adopted.

The fact is there is room for all types of learning and development tactics. Sometimes it will make sense to remove an employee from their routines in order to absorb information in a classroom setting. Other times it will be best for them to watch a 30-minute video. But most of the time, due to the realities of life in 2022, bite-sized bits of information – shared via channels that are easily accessed throughout our day – will be best received.

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