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Time to Rethink: Designing Digital Training for Modern Learners

World and the way we learn are constantly evolving. So the traditional classroom-based training is no longer the best or most effective method for upskilling today's workforce. You need to train the modern learners in a way that aligns with their learning habits and interests. This is where digital training comes in! The concept of digital training is pretty simple and straightforward - training employees using digital devices. However, designing digital training is not that simple. It requires you to take care of various aspects of learning to design and deliver top-notch digital training to the modern learners.

In this blog, we'll rethink digital training design so that it works the best for the new-age workforce. Before we jump directly into answering that, we’ll first:

  • Understand the characteristics of modern learners
  • Shortcomings of traditional training method
  • How digital training offers a solution
  • And lastly, the tips to design effective digital training for modern learners

So without further delay, let’s roll!

Who are the Modern Learners?

To start with the obvious, modern learners are different from previous generations in terms of their learning preferences and behaviors. They are individuals who are tech-savvy, curious, and often multi-taskers. But that’s not all. They’re also socially well-connected, multimodal, and highly conscious of their time.

Characteristics of a Modern Learner

Considering all these factors, they value and prefer learning experiences that offer flexibility and are personalized. Modern learners seek information on-demand and expect engaging, interactive learning content as they have reducing attention spans.

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Why Traditional Training Falls Short?

Some of the traditional training methods include lectures, PPT presentations, handouts, manuals, worksheets, and one-size-fits-all workshops. They often struggle to engage the modern learners effectively as they don’t really align with new-age employees’ learning style. To understand better, here are a few reasons why traditional training methods aren’t much effective for the modern learners:

1. Lack of Engagement

Sitting through lengthy lectures or reading manuals doesn't cut it anymore because modern learners crave interactive and immersive learning experiences. Traditional methods convey information in a passive and monotonous way, failing to capture learners’ attention and keeping them engaged.

2. Time Constraints

In today’s fast-paced world, finding the time to attend lengthy training sessions, that too in-person, can be really challenging. So modern learners prefer flexible and accessible learning options, such as eLearning, microlearning, mobile learning, etc., that fit into their busy schedules and enable them to learn at their own pace, time, and place.

3. Missing Personalization

People differ in their abilities, interests, and goals. Modern learners want this difference to be appreciated and taken care of in their training materials. But traditional training often fails to cater to these differences, thus leaving the learners disengaged and uninterested.

4. Outdated Content

Information becomes outdated quickly. Yes, it’s the new normal in today’s quickly-changing business world. Traditional training methods fail to match the pace of need for real-time updates and relevancy. Whereas modern learners require training programs that are adaptable and responsive to the ever-changing learning and working scenarios.

How Can Digital Training Offer a Solution?

The shift from classroom training toward digital training is not just a response to modern learners' demands. Digital training offers multiple advantages to help you stay ahead of the curve in today's knowledge-driven, innovative corporate world. Here's why:

1. Accessibility

Digital training is accessible from anywhere, anytime. Learners can access content on their smartphones, tablets, or computers, eliminating geographical barriers and time constraints. This accessibility enables organizations to reach a global audience of learners, fostering inclusivity and diversity.

2. Interactivity

Interactive multimedia elements, such as videos, quizzes, and simulations, make learning engaging and enjoyable. They cater to various learning styles, keeping learners more involved and motivated. By leveraging more advanced technologies like AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality), you can take interactive learning and digital training to the next level. These technologies simulate real-world scenarios, allowing learners to apply their knowledge and skills in practical contexts.

3. Personalized and Adaptive Learning

Modern technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), supports personalized and adaptive learning experiences. Instructional designers can easily design content that fits well with learners’ interest and training objectives. Furthermore, learning analytics derived from learners’ progress enable adaptive learning which can be used to tailor learning paths for maximum efficiency. Adaptive learning platforms use algorithms to analyze learner data and adjust the difficulty and content of lessons accordingly, ensuring that each learner receives a customized learning journey. This approach increases retention and motivation.

4. Timely and Easy Updates

Digital training material can be updated easily based on the latest industry trends. This ensures content relevancy and helps learners gain access to current information so they can stay on top of their game. This aspect is particularly critical in fields where knowledge evolves rapidly, such as technology, healthcare, sales, etc.

5. Cost-Effective

While there are initial costs associated with developing digital training programs, it is still more cost-effective in the long run. Traditional training methods require physical resources like printed materials, classrooms, and travel expenses. These expenses can be significantly reduced through digital training. Scalability is another added advantage of digital training that allows organizations to reach a larger audience without a proportional increase in costs.

Tips for Designing Effective Digital Training for Modern Learners

Let's explore some strategies for designing effective digital training programs that cater to the needs of modern learners.

1. Understand Your Audience

Understanding your learners is the first step to creating effective training courses. To get a fair idea about your target audience, you can conduct thorough learner assessments and understand their needs, preferences, and learning objectives. Then, based on the insights, you can customize your training content and delivery methods. You can also try developing learner personas to create relevant, targeted content that resonates with your learners.

2. Create Engaging Content

Boring content for modern learners is a no-no!! So while designing digital training for your modern workforce, make sure to incorporate multimedia elements, gamification, and interactivities in your training materials. It makes the learning process more captivating, enjoyable, and memorable. Check out the infographic below to know some 4 common multimedia elements.

4 Common Multimedia Elements

Some of the well-known eLearning interactivities are click-throughs, drag-and-drop, and digital flashcards. Gamification elements, such as leaderboards, badges, and challenges, add an element of competition and motivation to the learning experience, which makes it engaging and effective.

3. Make Training Accessible

Imagine having amazing food in the fridge but you can’t eat it. Training courses can be like that too. The best training courses when inaccessible are futile. So you need to check that your training platform is user-friendly. Moreover, it should be compatible with multiple devices and assistive technologies. Having accessible training courses is a must when you need to cater to a diverse, large audience. Check out the video below to explore how AI can augment the instructional design experience for improved, desired results.

4. Offer Social Learning and Collaboration Opportunities

Since modern learners have a personal, professional, and social life, it’s important to balance out these elements in training programs too. Try to include opportunities in your digital training that promote social learning and collaboration. It can be through discussion forums, group projects, or peer assessments. Learners can benefit from each other's experiences and perspectives, which fosters a sense of community and shared learning, thereby making the learning process more effective.

5. Leverage Learning Analytics for Continuous Improvement

Learning analytics are the key to improving your digital training courses. From deciding instructional methods to modifying training content, learning analytics play an important role. Wondering how? Well, you can utilize learning analytics to track learner progress and identify areas for improvement. This data-driven approach allows you to refine your digital training programs in a continuous manner. Learning analytics provides insights into which content is most effective, where learners may be struggling, and how to optimize the learning journey.

Parting Thoughts!

The modern learner is here to stay, and the demand for flexible, engaging, and personalized training experiences will only grow stronger. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to rethink digital training and design it in a way that appeals to the modern workforce and meets their learning expectations. Check out the instructional design guide below to ensure your best foot forward.

nstructional Design 101: A Handy Reference Guide to eLearning Designers