Freaky Friday the 13th: Top 5 L&D Superstitions to Avoid

It’s Freaky Friday the 13th in the spookiest month, October, so we better talk about some strange and creepy myths about corporate learning programs. These tips may not entirely cure your paraskevidekatriaphobia (i.e. the fear of Friday the 13th) but staying away from the following five superstitions and focusing on what’s proven to work for successful L&D departments could save you from a few years of “bad luck.”

We’ll each have our own ideas about where these myths came from and how they’ve stayed alive for so long, but hopefully we can agree that they’re ripe for a good debunking!

  1. Employees dread training, no matter what.
    Holy heavens no!!! The days of dull, yawn-inducing training are over (at least from the Litmos point of view, where we’re on a mission to save the world from boring learning). People will actually get jazzed about training, if you deliver super engaging content that benefits them. This is a very important point. You need to articulate how and why it benefits them. Whether this means getting better at their jobs, achieving goals easier, advancing their careers, or even supporting company compliance and culture, you can create or purchase content that improves, empowers, and excites your workforce.
  2. The best content is always created in-house.
    While it may be fair enough for some companies to pat themselves on the back for great in-house content, it’s just not always the case, especially when there’s so much available out there — and it’s good! This superstition is based on a territorial belief that only your internal teams know the ins and outs of how your company really works and that there’s no possible way an off-the-shelf course could speak to your people. The truth is that recreating the wheel is a big waste of time. There will be plenty of examples where you do in fact need to create, but when you don’t, please open your eyes to the time-saving endeavor of curation.
  3. Small screen sizes hinder e-learning.
    Really?! Are you unable to recall the news stories you read this morning because you read them on your phone? Of course not! The same is true for mobile learning. A large percentage of today’s workers are not tied to a desk, so your courses should absolutely not be limited to a desktop experience. In fact, 65% of people declared their mobile devices to be their “most critical work device.” Let’s face it, we love our devices and comfort is conducive to learning. When we can relax in a comfortable environment, our brains work better. Mobile is not only the future, but the standard now and learning isn’t exempt from that truth.
  4. Breaking learning into smaller bits will prevent comprehensive understanding.
    No way! The truth is that when done well, micro-learning can be one of the most effective techniques to broad understanding and higher retention. By engaging learners in short bursts of information that are easy to follow and understand, you eliminate the risk of overwhelming them and of course, boring them to sleep. Over time, you allow them to actually learn more and develop comprehensive knowledge. Plus, this method allows you to deliver and reinforce learning on a daily or near-daily basis, so that people continually build on their knowledge and commit it to long-term memory.
  5. It’s impossible to connect learning with business outcomes.
    Wrong! While this one may have been true years ago, it isn’t any longer. Sure, you should still report on the number of courses completed, test scores, and survey results, but now we have the technology (as well as the hard-earned wisdom) to start with business goals and work backwards to the training courses that support those goals. In other words, you can build continuous learning courses that support and track toward specific job and performance objectives that drive the overall strategic goals of the department or company.