Modern tools for modern learners

Sure, it’s a cliché but it’s also true: the world of work has changed. Technology has removed or sidestepped national borders and language barriers, said goodbye to the office-based team, and transformed our expectations of society and work. So far, so brave new world but an open, accessible, tech-driven environment also brings some workplace challenges…

A 2015 report from Bersin by Deloitte described a modern learner so overwhelmed and distracted by workplace pressures that they have barely 1% of their time to focus on learning. So, it’s safe to say that finding time for a three-day residential workshop is a problem, or indeed even an afternoon skills module. Not to say that such traditional, ‘classroom’-based learning methods are no longer effective, just that other options are sometimes better-suited to the mobile/remote/home-worker scenarios commonly found in the modern business – when day to day, you’re connected to the office and colleagues solely by a smartphone or tablet and little else, you need a better learning option.

The modern learning challenge

This situation is compounded by the fact that we as a workforce have changed. Arguably, our attention span is reduced and we are more impatient to get/achieve what we want, often turning to technology to get it. For workplace learning, this raises a few questions:

  • How to ensure learning (however gained) is retained?
  • Likewise, how to ensure it is put into practice on the job?
  • How do you minimise time away from the job while ensuring an effective learning environment?
  • How do you make the most of the connections and potential collaborations that technology makes possible?
  • How do you track and evaluate less formal, just-in-time learning slices?

It’s all about having the right tools

Learning is like any other task, you’re more likely to do it well if you have the right tool for the job. Let’s face it, Maslow’s, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail,” remains as true as ever. So, you need more than just a hammer in the learning tool bag. If the hammer is the classic face-to-face, trainer-plus-a-group-of-learners classroom scenario, then consider the following screwdrivers, chisels, Allen keys, etc.

  • Virtual classrooms – Now that training courses no longer need learners to be physically present, a lot of logistical time and expense can be saved. Live training sessions can be delivered simultaneously to multiple learners using as little tech as a smartphone and internet connection. All the benefits of a training course, none of the shared physical space.
  • Knowledge retention and assessment apps – Apps are perfect for self-assessment of learning needs followed by putting together the right bite-sized chunks of content for a bespoke learning session. Furthermore, the right app uses post-learning prompts, quizzes and notifications to remind the learner to take action on what they’ve learned, embedding new knowledge and skills.
  • Social learning platforms – Collaborative learning is easy (well, maybe!) when everyone is in the same room but to leverage the same benefits for a group of distance learners, you need a virtual alternative. The right social learning platform not only allows you to organise and curate your learning content, but also to create modes of access that allow learners to take advantage of each other’s prior knowledge and experience.
  • Gamified learning – Games mean engagement, achievement, fun and ultimately, the better retention that comes from a rich and memorable experience. Quizzes and other games can be built from scratch, tailored to the subject and learners’ needs, and completed as individuals or as teams – the workplace equivalent of the pub quiz team? Why not?
  • Animated videos – Easy sharing on social media has made video a popular means of easy-access learning. How often have you googled a YouTube video to find out how to change a light switch, bake a casserole, or de-flea the dog? People like to learn from a visual medium (it’s not called YouListen or YouRead – video is where it’s at!) Short, tailored animated videos can provide learning or be used to attract employees to use other learning options.


Here at Maximum Performance, we use the above technologies to offer our standard training packages in multiple formats to fit with your working environment and business needs. If you’re interested in knowing more about using technology to support learning, sign up for one of our free, 45-minute webinars, on 29 November 2019 (10:30-11:15), and 6 December 2019 (10:30-11:15) or give us a call on 01582 463460. We’re here to help.

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