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/Stephanie Morgan Are the different needs of your learners giving you a headache?

There has never been a better time to be a learner. No matter where you are, or how you like to consume your learning, L&D professionals are able to meet your needs. But do they?

I work with many different types of organisations, which means I am privy to the hopes, needs and desires of many thousands of learners, and the overriding feeling I get at the moment, is that even though they know their learners have disparate needs, many L&D professionals, for many reasons, are not actually meeting those needs.

I have said this before but will keep on saying it until the message gets through – when you cut through all the latest theories like 70:20:10, personalisation of learning, mobile learning and stop taking generational learnings issues as gospel, it is actually quite simple to address the disparate needs of our learners. It is, quite simply, about going back to basic principles and building truly blended learning solutions.

Charles Jennings has coined the phrase ‘beyond blended’. Of course, a modern blend will be more than just a classroom sandwich or a bit of eLearning tagged onto a video. I totally agree with Charles Jennings - you do need to think more widely about your blends. How though? Here are 5 starters for ten:

  1. Identify the what and whyAre the different needs of your learners giving you a headache?
    What are you trying to achieve, why is it important now, how will that change your results? But also, what sort of learners do you have, why would they engage with this learning, what delivery methods suit them and the type of learning you are considering the best?

  2. Consider the workplace
    What could happen in the workplace, i.e. cheat sheets, floor walkers, coaching, mentoring, peer to peer support? It is a given now that learners need to learn some things right now, so how can you support that in your blend? You don’t need to come up with a brand new, novelty idea, but perhaps you can reconsider how to include some tried and tested techniques (like coaching) into your blend.

  3. Harness the power of sharing, challenging and supporting learners.
    How can you enable learners to share their problems and solutions? How can you support them on their journey of applying the learning? Can you build communities, action learning sets, online forums, etc.? Once you decide this is in your mix, finding a solution becomes relatively easy. You don’t need a costly technical solution either; for example, a closed LinkedIn group only requires a LinkedIn account and internet connection – not much tech to that.

  4. Underpinning knowledge
    Yes, I know, there is a move to much more experiential learning, and personally when it comes to skills I don’t think you can have too much experience or practice. But sometimes we still need to know how something works, what the context is, why it is important etc. The first thing to consider here is whether that learning already exists. There is not much you can’t find on YouTube, for example. Don’t make it harder or more costly when there are quite often simple, free solutions easily available to you.

  5. Knit it together
    Or as Julian Stodd would say, scaffold it. This is sometimes the hardest part, mainly because we try to repurpose existing materials or assets.  I would try not to do that initially, just like with real knitting, you need to know what it will look like in the end, you need a pattern. So before you even identify what you have already, start thinking about what you need for success. Stop being tactical, i.e. getting on with the knitting or building your scaffold, and start with being visionary and creating your big picture. Only then might you identify if you have existing material that you can repurpose

Looking to incorporate your current learning solutions into the perfect modern blend for your people? Get in touch now for more information on the benefits of this and how to make it work seamlessly. 

Stephanie Morgan

Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning

Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.

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