• Graham Carter

Digital learning in the Netflix era

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Learning on demand

Everyone has Netflix or Amazon Prime these days, don't they? No, not everyone. However, what these companies have been very successful at doing is building momentum and gaining the attention of potential viewers.

Nowadays, there's more pull than push going on here as the choice that subscribers have access to on these platforms expands and the quality improves. Accessing the content you want is quick and easy, suggestions for additional options are constantly provided and informed by your previous viewing history, and it's simple to pick up where you left off.

If we build it they will come

Sometimes too many options can be overwhelming. You may have sourced and implemented a digital learning platform with plenty of courses and something to appeal to everyone at every level of the organisation.

Congratulations, you just got yourself an online library. Just how many books on the shelves of the average library remain untouched for months and months....

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Make it meaningful

If your people are to engage with the digital learning opportunities you provide, whether via a single platform used as a focal point for learning and development or a variety of sources, the key is to make sure that they find value in the time they spend using these.

Yes, it's important to ensure that everyone has received and completed certain training to meet legal, regulatory and ethical obligations. However, if you want them to hang around and come back time and time again then you need to create the environment where they will make a conscious, voluntary choice to explore the other resources on offer because there is something in it for them. Make it meaningful.

Getting from push to pull

Online learning environments provide many opportunities to engage people and encourage them to learn for themselves and collaborate with others.

Here are five ideas to get you started and help you to move from a destination of instruction ("Go to X to do Y") to a destination of choice ("I wonder what I can find out about X here"):

1. Create regular, themed learning campaigns with a focus on one topic or problem

These are a great way to introduce people to new concepts and generate discussion, sharing of experiences and insights, and build upon our natural curiosity. Many digital platforms have forums you might use, or you can create discussions on internal communications sites such as MS Teams groups, Yammer or Facebook Workplace using learning campaign hashtags.

2. Create themed learning collections or learning paths

Want to know what matters to different people within the organisation? Ask them! Use these conversations to identify what matters most to different groups, teams and departments and curate relevant learning resources to help them. We are talking about resources not courses here - create your own resources, use the courses provided by your supplier, link to external sites (e.g. MOOCs) and more.

3. User-generated content and reviews

If you're applying for a job or seeking a supplier you probably check the reviews on Glassdoor or TrustPilot to confirm what the company says matches the user experience. So why not let people who complete courses rate them, make it easy for them to share their thoughts with others, and even allow anyone to record and share their own experiences and insights relevant to a problem or subject in a short audio recording or video?

4. Let them compete

Gamification. It's a thing. Really. Yes, it sounds like a bit of a made up word to me too but it's a powerful thing. Got a Fitbit or Audible? You get badges for completing X many steps or hours of reading don't you? And for some people that's a reason to do more of that activity, to show others (via a leaderboard) that they are serious about their own development and for the sense of accomplishment.

Create inter-departmental contests and let the learning begin! A word of warning here though - make sure that you give careful consideration to the measures of success, course completions alone don't mean that meaningful learning had taken place (yes, the old drag to the end of the video to get it done quickly trick) so think about adding a reflective element, for example.

5. Share and share some more

Get blogging. Get the learning team to blog about the learning campaigns, latest news, success stories, lessons learned and action taken, and more. Better still, get some guest bloggers from within the business to share how they have used digital learning to help them in their roles and how it's also benefitted them personally.

Think about building a team of Learning Champions, with representatives from all levels of the organisation (including the senior leadership team), to celebrate successes, encourage adoption and be your eyes and ears to gain valuable feedback and help to improve the learning over time.

Want to know more?

There's so much potential to increase employee engagement, satisfaction and performance through digital learning if used effectively and in combination with other learning and development initiatives as part of a blended approach. Contact Evolve Consulting to find out more about how you can make this work for your organisation.

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