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9 Ways to Make Learning Cool Again

Many of you are tasked with updating or modernizing content for your learners. Normally it's needed, time and technology are changing and so should your content. But it does beg the question - what makes learning up-to-date today? What are the best practices that you should be following? What is modern learning?

In an article posted by ATD, they provided us with a list of the nine elements commonly seen in modern learning modules. It's a helpful list and I doubt that any of them will surprise you. What I found interesting, is that while reading through it I found myself wanting (and needing) to see an example of a modern learning project that executed that element, instead of just a description. So, review the descriptions and examples below!

Who knows, maybe you'll find some time to identify what modern learning elements you should be integrating in your learning modules.

1. Accessible

"Easy to find, available in the moment." is a website dedicated to helping medical professionals better treat complex patients. Before this website, there has not been a place to quickly learn or reference material and best practices on the topic, in fact, these lessons aren't even taught in school, but are critical to the efficiency of treatment. Since its launch learners have been able to access all of the information quickly, on any device.

2. Autonomous

"Self-directed, can do it without help, whenever I need it."

Autonomous learning is exactly what Lenovo had in mind when they started to develop Lenovo Sync. The app is a salesman's favorite companion when they are on the floor in front of a customer (think of a sales rep at Best Buy or another big box electronic store) or a rep at home prepping to sell a new product before they head into work. Everything they need is tagged and organized so they can attack learning or brush up on old facts whenever they need to without assistance.

3. Chunked

"Small divisions: current standard is under two minutes for video, 20 minutes for lecture, five paragraphs for reading."

Check out this mobile app, FranklinCovey's Living the 7 Habits, that provides organized continuous support to learners to help them establish real long-term change. The app is simple and intuitive for users to find what they need quickly and walk through the information quickly. Reading is no more than a few paragraphs and the entire app is built around those bite-sized, micro-moments.

...p.s. you can see for yourself, a version of the app is available for free on iTunes and Android!

4. Current

"Up to date or easily updatable (by author or viewers)."

A user-friendly CMS was a top priority for the admins of the YouLearn 2.0 app at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. They wanted full control so they could update and upgrade the content in seconds. Easy syncing was another must-have; users wanted to know they were on top of, always getting the newest information

5. Experiential

"Do something and get immediate feedback."

Cubist wanted to bring their lab safety training to life. Our 3D animation team worked with Cubist to create a virtual laboratory for learners to practice identifying safety hazards in a virtual environment that replicate those found in real life. As they move freely throughout the virtual lab, they identify problem areas and the specific safety issue that are violated. Immediate feedback tells the learner whether they correctly identified the safety concern or not.

6. For Me

"Curated, self-selected, delivered based on my preferences, on topics I need or want, preferably has my name on it or in it."

Everyone has a preference, that's why when we created our continuous learning software, Flex, we made personalizing possible. Lists are a great example of the "for me" trend. A List allows you to make, name, and keep a packet of all the content you need to be an expert about a specific topic (process, product, etc.). The content you want, organized how you want it.

7. Hyperlinked

"Content is linked to other related content for more in-depth, current, or related information and ideas."

Medical device company, Zimmer, created a consumer facing app, Gel-One, to help patients learn more about their osteoarthritis pain and how to find relief. Along with other functionality, the app is equipped with tabs that are hyperlinked to help patients who want more information from a doctor or related information about Zimmer's Gel-One product.


"Multimedia providing input that is visual, auditory, or kinesthetic."

Great Expressions wanted help making complex (and dry) topics easy to understand (and exciting). Videos did the trick! They are short, engaging, and super informative.

9. Social

"Includes other people, such as crowdsourcing; likes, views, or comments; face-to-face interaction; mentoring; coaching; and dialogue among peers."

Our virtual coaching application, Loop, brings mentoring and coaching to life through role-plays, no matter how many miles are between you and your coach. Plus, when the role play is over, check out your coach's feedback in notes and ratings.

We're already seeing organizations use several of the above elements combined and as stand alone's in their content strategy. So whether you're looking to combine social learning with video or autonomous learning with great accessibility, these modern elements are sure to keep your learners engaged.

Want to make your learning cool again?

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Sydney Nordquist

Not to mention refreshing, positive and downright invigorating. Should we expect anything less from a personality that absolutely bubbles…

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