One of the main training trends for next year is learner-focused training. You may think this is already something you do but - are you sure that’s the case? In this article, we share 7 tips to help you achieve a truly learner-focused training programme.
Following a learner-first approach helps you ensure that whichever training initiative you create is centred on your audience. In a learner-focused training model, the learner becomes the cornerstone and the foundation for every aspect of a company’s training strategy: from objectives to training roadmaps, tools, systems and even design. Although it may seem simple —common sense, even! — this approach is still radically different from the way in which many organisations view and approach training.
So, how do you ensure that your organisation is placing its learners at the centre of its training strategy?
Here are 7 tips to for a truly learner-focused approach
1. Include your learners in the entire learning process
Most companies are used to have only their training managers, leaders and company’s agenda driving its training initiatives. In a learner-focused model, your audience must be involved in the entire process. Before you design and plan your training roadmap, you must listen to their needs, motivations, challenges and overall feedback.
2. Have a two-pronged approach to benefits and goals
When you set your objectives, make sure you define both company goals and learner goals.
Improved performance, shorter sales cycle and reduced churn are great metrics to impact with training on a company level. However, your learners should also feel like they are gaining something from the training at an individual level.
As an example, a course about how to create rapport via phone will impact both company metrics (sales performance, customer satisfaction…) but also, at an individual level, your audience will be gaining a new and valued skill.
3. Learner-centric usability
Your training platform must reflect your learner-first approach. You need to make it a top priority to make sure your training platform is easy to use, and its design is indeed learner friendly. Your platform needs to be easy to find, access and use, or you run the risk of hiding the best content in the world behind the stress and frustration of poor usability.
4. Preferred format
You must understand and respect the format your audience prefers. Video is usually a favourite with a good reason: it is engaging and enjoyable for your audience, while fostering retention and completion and ensuring a much-needed degree of flexibility at no higher costs.
5. Self-paced experience
Unless you have a very strong reason for urgency, we recommend allowing your audience to complete their training at their own pace. Not all learners are the same and people enjoy being in control of their development. Moreover, you mustn’t forget to highlight the benefits for your audience: people are more likely to engage with your training when they understand its relevance and importance.
6. Different and modular learning paths
Different people in different roles, levels of seniority, type of product usage, and so on will need different roadmaps and training paths. You must make sure to adapt your training offer to what your learners need, in a logical way. As an example, if you are onboarding a new customer, it may make sense for your customer to follow a specific learning path and do courses in a specific order.
7. Step into your audience’s shoes
When you communicate your training, make sure you do it from your audience’s perspective. Focus on those audience benefits we mentioned in point 2, framing those in the overall picture and additional benefits. This is important for both internal and external audiences.
For instance, let’s talk about customer training. By offering product and skills training to your customers, you are promoting self-service help and bringing support costs down (company goal), but for your customer it is important to easily and immediately access information and to have the skills to use your product more successfully (benefits for your audience).
In summary, here’s a quick checklist for you to follow to ensure a learner-centric approach in your training strategy:
1. Listen: collect and analyse data and get feedback from your audience
2. Make sure there are benefits for both your company and your audience
3. Plan and design: always consider the feedback you collected and plan for the long run – keep training updated
4. Test: run a pilot with part of the audience and get feedback. If needed, go back to designing or making changes
5. Disseminate: make it widely available and communicate it properly
6. Evaluate: measure success, analyse data and feedback (use individual and general goals as baseline)
7. Redesign and evolve: incorporate feedback, update content, create more training content
With these 7 tips you are now ready to place your learners at the centre of your learning strategy.
Other content you may find interesting:
How to implement a learning culture in your company
How to get your team onboard with training without making it mandatory
How can your company training entice learners’ interest and foster engagement?
10 Tips to make training more engaging and effective
Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help you offer a great training programme?