Learning & Development, Technology

Why Meaningful Learning Can Yield Meaningful Results

In 2022, with the average employee focusing on any 1 task for just 3 minutes, employers must find ways to make information fresh and fun and steer away from the traditional dry lectures and draining assessments. Additionally, in a recent study, nearly 55% of respondents indicated that a people strategy with a solid training process can help them choose which job they’d prefer. Because the Great Resignation has introduced the additional hurdles of staffing issues and turnover, many have even less time to spend on training than before. However, companies willing to embrace a meaningful learning strategy will accomplish the ultimate goal of employee engagement and higher retention.

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What Is Meaningful Learning?

While traditional learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through different mediums, meaningful learning refers to increasing skills based on relating the material to prior experiences or a previous understanding. The primary difference between the two is that meaningful learning relies on the theory that concepts are easier to understand and implement when their context is clear. Essentially, there is no need to recreate the wheel when you can just build on top of what already exists.

Meaningful Learning Methods

One of the most proven methods of meaningful learning for the hybrid workplace is ensuring it is blended and interactive. It is important to not only have instructors who present but also use technology to create a higher level of engagement through different platforms and methods of instruction, communication, and skill assessment. Blended learning specifically offers opportunities to improve retention and comprehension, which helps once employees hit the ground running. There are several options to choose from when establishing a successful learning and development (L&D) program, including:

  • A mix of online and in-person instruction. In a hybrid/remote world, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Traditionally, you could shadow someone who could teach you what you need to do. However, with much of the workforce leaning toward remote work, it’s important to still make regular in-person meetings a priority. An off-site company can really drive home the points made in online instruction and also create a sense of community.
  • Gamification. In a recent survey, 48% of respondents indicated that training programs and gamification were their favorite parts of training. While not all training will be fun and games, including those elements can definitely help increase engagement and material retention.
  • Microlearning. Training can be an overwhelming process, whether team members are being onboarded or learning new skills. Presenting short-form trainings (15 minutes or so) can be a great option to provide them with digestible information without shocking their systems.
  • Videos. If we know anything from the subscriber numbers from YouTube and TikTok, it’s that people love to engage in videos. While this isn’t necessarily a good stand-alone option, it can reinforce the training already set in motion. Also, making learning fun can make it more memorable, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
  • Learn by doing. While prepping your team for their positions, don’t forget how important it is for them to get their hands dirty, metaphorically speaking. Role-play scenarios can help them put all the knowledge they’ve gathered to the test and help them learn what works best for them.
  • Opening the floor. Everyone has a different learning style, and what works best for some might seem frustrating to others. Give your trainees space to discuss what they’ve learned, and welcome the different perspectives that are gathered throughout the process. A positive brainstorming session can also help you tweak the training for future participants.

Tools That Can Help

Developing a positive L&D experience requires time, strategy, and personnel. As organizations grow, a hands-on approach isn’t always the most simple solution. Having a quality learning management system (LMS)—a software application or Web-based solution for planning, implementing, tracking, and assessing training programs—can provide a straightforward way to create and deliver training content while monitoring engagement and progress.

A learning experience platform (LXP) is another software that can be utilized in this space. While a traditional LMS focuses on the need to deliver information, policy, and compliance training to employees, an LXP focuses on employee training needs and provides them with opportunities for professional development. It can also support a wide array of content, including industry articles, coursework, podcasts, blog posts, etc.

Because companies that rank in the top 20% of employee engagement see a 59% reduction in turnover, there’s no better time than now to prioritize meaningful learning. There really is no better return on investment than trainees who are prepared and employees who are satisfied in their positions.

Ali Knapp is President at Wisetail.