3 Gifts to Give Every Learner

gifts for learnersHappy holidays, everyone! As we enjoy this week of celebration and gift-giving, it got me thinking about the presents we can give our learners – and not just this time of year, but all year long.

Committing to giving learners the following three things will make all of 2020 feel like an occasion to be celebrated. Best of all, these are gifts that keep on giving, enriching the experiences of your learners in an ongoing way and empowering your people to perform at their best.

Here are three gifts we can give every learner:

  • Engaging, brain-stimulating content
    This is at the top of the list because creating and curating great content is the most important thing you can do to build an awesome learning program (in addition to using a powerful LMS to deliver it, but hopefully that goes without saying).The training content needs to be well written, well designed, and inspire people to actually care whether they learn or not.It should also include a pinch of novelty because the brain craves that newness, uniqueness, originality – however you want to think about novelty. We need to add in the little things that catch attention and make the learner think, “What was that I just saw/read?” Make it memorable! If you don’t even remember it, how can you expect anyone else to?Lastly, the content needs to be relevant and immediately applicable. Adults have very little extra time for training, so don’t even bother trying to get them to spend their precious minutes on things they think don’t apply to them. It’s critical to convey how the course(s) will benefit them and how the information can be used.

  • Longitudinal, not transactional, learning
    A great gift you can give the new or seasoned learner is to think through the entire learning experience. Understand what needs to happen before, during, and after the module(s) / course(s). Consider learning from the perspective of a complete process and not just a one-off experience or a checkmark recorded in the LMS. We, as learning professionals, need to move away from the mindset of “Did they complete this course or not?” Instead, let’s get to the why. Some questions to ask yourself before you create or buy the content:

    • What results will learners get from this training?
    • What results will the organization achieve?
    • What will really work to produce those results?
  • An opportunity to get results
    This is an extension to the bullet above, but worth highlighting on its own because it’s so important. We need to focus on content that delivers results to learners. There should always be something actually changes as a result of their efforts. If there’s no concrete result, there’s no sense in asking (or requiring) them to do it. As mentioned above, people don’t have time for that kind of training. Also, be sure you present the expected outcomes to learners clearly and upfront. Start by outlining the goals (e.g. what they will be able to do, see, hear, feel, say, etc. as a result of the training). This will inspire greater engagement and a deeper commitment to learning.