Matteo logs into his computer, navigates to the Learning Management System, searches for the latest required course he has been assigned, and as the course starts to load the same old thought surfaces in his mind “I’m here – now learn me….” – Matteo feels what so many learners feel – learning is something his organization does to their employees – rather than an ongoing process that they are engaged in. When you consider Matteo and this feeling that is as well-worn as a comfortable hoodie, is it any surprise that your learners find your learning to be a little “meh”.
Fighting the Meh
So, what can you do to combat the overwhelming feeling of meh or suck that your learners feel every time the log into the LMS? First, stop treating them as a monolith. Too often, we treat our learns as a homogenous entity – that come at topics with a shared perspective or history – and they are not. They are a diverse group of individuals with a range of upbringings, educations, experiences, and skills – that have unique perspective that they are bringing through the table – and to your latest online course or learning experience – so stop treating them as a monolith.
KYL (Know Your Learners)
So, what does it mean to stop treating your learners as a monolith – it means KYL – Know Your Learners. As a learning organization seek to understand your learners, begin to build personas to understand the various types of learners you have in the organization and what are their feelings or attitudes towards learning? What are their learning preferences? This is less about “learning styles” and more about a deep, ongoing understanding of all the learners you serve and what makes them tick. If you are not sure where to start to build out you personas consider taking a page from our colleagues in marketing from constructs that can be adapted for this purpose.
Make it More Personal
With a better understanding of your learners, consider this:
- how can you make learning more personalized ?
- can you incorporate elements of gamification to promote engagement?
- how can you leverage a networker of internal influencers to promote the learning organization?
- What opportunities do you have for bringing innovation into the learning you deliver?
When you begin to understand your learners at a more elemental level, you have the opportunity to leverage those insights in order to better align your learning strategy to the organization’s strategy, to ensure your learners engage with the programs you are developing, and ultimately ensure that your learners are building the skills and competencies that you need them to have.
We are all in this together, and together we learn.