Many of you are tasked with updating or modernizing content for your learners. After all, times and technologies are changing, and so should your content. But when your boss asks you to modernize learning, you’re faced with the question “What is modern learning, anyway?”

“Modern” is a difficult word to dig into, because what’s modern changes quickly alongside the digital disruption and the latest trends. But if we look beneath reactionary changes, we can find that some of the new ideas are backed up by reason and strategy.

Let’s take a look at some of the newest and soundest ways to get your learning up to date. Who knows, maybe you’ll identify a few modern eLearning elements that give your learners exactly what they need to succeed.

1. Design your learning for easy access

We’re now a global society, and this means that our employees and learners are often spread out over a wide area. Even if most learning happens on site, we still work at a fast pace that doesn’t give us the time we want to spend on learning.

The answer? Accessibility. Scale learning so that it’s easily accessible no matter your learner’s location. Whether they’re on a commute to a client, in the office, or at home, accessible learning gives your people the ability to get the information they need at any time and on any device (hello, sweet time savings!).

2. Extend your learners some trust

Gated learning can be helpful (and potentially mandatory) in certain situations, but if you’re looking to modernize learning, self-paced and autonomous is the way to go. This organizes learning exactly the way each learner needs. This means they can customize their pace—attacking learning in one swoop or brushing up on old facts when they have a few extra minutes. This also frees up management from having to supervise learning and motivates employees with a sense of trust and responsibility.

3. Break your learning mods into smaller pieces

Yes, microlearning is a buzzword. But it’s caused a buzz for good reason. Shifting technology, internet immersion, and increasingly busy schedules make it difficult to dedicate attention to any amounts of learning difficult.

Microlearning makes learning more manageable by breaking course modules into smaller bites or chapters. This sizes generally follow the guidelines of under two minutes per video, 20 minutes or less for lectures, and five paragraphs or less for reading. This micro-moment idea both increases comprehension and heightens accessibility.

4. Get yourself up to date instantly

You (and your learners) want content that syncs and updates instantly. If important changes happen, people know in seconds. Your learners need (and want) the newest information that’s relevant for them. Building learning with the ability to always stay current saves everyone time, effort, and frustration.

5. Enhance your learning with immediate feedback

Technology gives us the ability to take learners out of the office and place them right in situations where they need to use the knowledge. Through VR, AR, video role play, and computer simulations, learners can put their knowledge in action in real time—with real-time feedback.

This instantaneous action and reaction allows learners to know exactly when they did (or did not) perform a job correctly, allowing them to immediately correct and move forward.

6. Add a personal touch to your learning

Today, many sites allow users to adjust their account’s appearance, content types, and even add interests. This helps people tailor content to their personality and study the topics they want. Sometimes, motivation can arise from something as simple as letting the user personalize their name and picture.

When learning gets standardized, it assumes that all learners progress at a similar pace and share similar skills. This cookie-cutter assumption demotivates fast-paced learners and frustrates slower-paced learners. While some learning content is required for all learners, it’s helpful to personalize learning by letting the learners pace themselves, organize their learning content, and choose what additional content they’d like to learn.

7. Connect your learners to more knowledge

Learning content should never stand alone. With more resources readily available than ever before, it’s easy to link learners out to information that’s available, externally or internally. External hyperlinks should always be optional—giving the learner control over how in-depth they take their learning experience.

Internal links help learners save time. Instead of scrolling and looking for information, learners gain instant access to different sections of the learning content. This makes it easier for learners to build connections between content and study for knowledge checks.

8. Find out how your learners learn best

Everyone learns differently. Auditory or kinesthetic learners struggle with learning that’s all visual, while visual learners struggle with learning that’s primarily auditory or action-focused. This simply means that the best learning involves many different inputs.

  • Auditory learners do best with video and voice-over
  • Visual learners do best with text, video, and illustration
  • Kinesthetic learners do best with practicals and role play

Sometimes, a topic is simply drier than Mars, and you know that putting that topic in text-based courses will drop even the most dedicated learners into a doze. To refire interest, turn the text into a video, guide situational storytelling, or build a virtual reality experience that shows the learner how to apply the knowledge in actionable ways.

9. Make your learning a social event

People learn best from people. This doesn’t only mean that students learn from teachers—in fact, one of the best ways to learn information is by teaching others. This is part of what makes coaching a powerful learning tool, both for coaches and coachees. But one-on-one coaching isn’t the only way to pull learners away from the solo-learning life.

The social learning theory states that true learning happens from watching and imitating the actions and behaviors of others. When learners have access to crowdsourced knowledge banks, face-to-face interactions, and peer and coach feedback, they can learn much more quickly and effectively than if they tackle new topics alone.

Ready, set, modernize

Dictionary.com describes the word modern as “relating to present or recent time.” This means that modern eLearning gets relevant for the here and now and stays up to date with the tech disruption.

Making change on a corporate scale takes time and effort, but when you step up and make eLearning that actually matters to the learner, you start a chain reaction of positive change. And modernizing your learning doesn’t mean you have to check off every single one of these nine points. Rather, look back over the list and find a few ways that resonate with you and your people.

Then, it’s time to get to work.

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