What’s Wrong with the Learner Experience

By David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Join Carl Crisostomo, Product Manager for Content at Saba Software and David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group for a free webinar on July 18th

Just about any human interaction with technology is, to some degree, tailored and personalized: Home assistants know our voices and preferences; thermostats make adjustments based on our patterns of leaving, returning home and sleeping; and streaming video services are configured according to who is currently watching. This type of experience is ubiquitous, except perhaps at work, and more specifically, for learning at work.

There have been recent strides toward making things better, but most companies attack the problem as though it is solely a technology issue. And while ultimately it is technology that delivers these experiences, the learner experience is much more than that.

Companies must stop conflating learner experience with user experience. The biggest stumbling block is the organization’s failure to answer one simple question: What’s in it for me?

At first, this question may seem selfish and arrogant. But the reality is that people really just want a connection to the tasks they perform at work. For too long, learning delivery has been based on the notion that its very existence makes it relevant by definition. The reason training has gotten a bad rap in the past is because so much of it is delivered in a “because I said so” fashion. This been a satisfactory justification for anything — ever.

Today’s learners want meaningful learning experiences based on their interests and needs, personally and professionally. Offering one that’s just “fun” for learners isn’t good enough. The same goes for simply opening the firehose of learning content and hoping for the best. To engage learners, develop critical skills and improve employee and business performance, organizations must take a holistic view of the overall learning experience shared by their people and find new ways to enable and measure purposeful learning.

All the bells, whistles and cartoon avatars in the world won’t connect a learner with content if they don’t see why the learning benefits them directly and thereby benefits the team, function, and organization. Getting there will take some work. Companies must do a better job of understanding who their employees are and what they want/need to succeed. They also need to do a better job of connecting those things to overall business outcomes. The good news is that on the other side of that work, it becomes far easier to create impactful programs, engage learners, and deliver outcomes that can actually be measured.

If you would like to get in on the discussion around the learner experience, join Carl Crisostomo, Product Manager for Content at Saba Software and me for a webinar on July 18th. It will be a good chance to explore some of the current research and thinking about how to fix the learner experience and to get actionable takeaways for your organization.

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

For more information on our research, please visit www.brandonhall.com

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