Overwhelmed, Distracted, Impatient: What’s an L&D Department to Do About the Modern Learner?

what can L&D do about the modern learner

Today’s employees are dealing with more demands on their time and attention than ever before. Read on to find out what  L&D departments can do to create positive training experiences for the modern learner.

According to an infographic published by HR consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte, today’s employees are overwhelmed, distracted, and impatient.

That employees are working harder than ever is nothing new. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950.

However, Bersin claims that as training moves to more digital formats, it’s colliding with new realities in learners’ jobs, behaviors, habits, and preferences.

So, how can today’s leaders in instructional design create learning experiences for today’s time-starved learners? How can they create experiences for the 1 percent of the typical work week that employees have to focus on learning and development?

Convert longer courses to bite-sized learning modules

Given the time crunch, shorter courses are the way to go. According to Bersin, most learners won’t watch videos that are longer than 4 minutes.

Traditional eLearning courses usually are 30 minutes to 1 hour in duration, often incorporating multiple objectives. However, according to eLearning Industry, bite-sized learning can have a single objective, allowing the learner to not only absorb content better but also focus on a single objective.

the modern learner

Make learning accessible on-demand via all endpoints

Most employees today access more than one device during the workday—whether it’s a company-issued laptop, smartphone or tablet, or one of their own. Workers are more productive when they can bring their own device (BYOD), and when workplace mobility is encouraged.

L&D leaders should ensure that any course, program, or assessment can provide a seamless experience when the employee transitions from one device or platform (browser, app) to another.

Foster a collaborative environment

Bersin also found that 80 percent of workforce learning happens via on-the-job interactions with peers, teammates, and managers. We here at Synapse are ardent proponents of organizations identifying and cultivating their internal subject matter experts (SMEs). Employees are comfortable both learning from their peers and serving as the instructor.

While there’s no denying the evidence that the modern learner is increasingly more distracted and impatient, L&D professionals can take heart in the fact that there are many tactics and technology becoming available to combat this new age of learning.

Of course, the L&D department itself may itself be time-starved and in need of a solution to create learning experiences at scale. A Learning Design Systems (LDS) can help, as it has the ability to convert technical content to training material, allowing anyone to design and build effective courses rapidly and at scale.

An LDS incorporates automation elements that can streamline your front-end development process — incorporating the crowdsourced training requests mentioned previously, to performing a needs analysis, then incorporating design, content assembly, storyboarding, prototyping, testing, version control, and maintenance.

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