Digital learning methods become ever more popular, enabling learners to access the learning when and where they want it, and via a mix of dynamic media. It can be extremely cost-effective, and naturally can seem attractive to the digital generation. However, what’s the most important ingredient to make sure that it really achieves the change you want? Recent research shows that it’s good old human interaction.
Building on 70/20/10
It’s still popular to explore learning opportunities in this way (see below). It fits well alongside digital learning as it’s equally flexible, and self-directed.
The challenge with all learning, however, is that it’s not only ‘pulled in’ by the learner, but also aligned with the kind of performance improvements, or changes in behaviour, that you need. If you’re in L&D, you’ll know that it’s not always easy getting the line manager to play a full role in making the critical links. Research shows, however, that they (and other interested parties) are more important than ever.
Feedback is still the magic ingredient
High quality feedback is vital because relevance leads to commitment: ‘I’ll learn this because I understand what’s in it for me’. It’s interesting that millennials in particular value honest conversations with their boss about their performance. They’re impatient to get on, and understand that this will help them. Then, they can relate it to the development. Why do I need to learn this? What are you asking me to do differently, and how, exactly? Where will it get me if I put the effort in? How does this module relate to my actual job? How will you help me put it into practice?
‘Interactive’ managers and colleagues support interactive training
This takes us back to 70/20/10. There are many opportunities to make learning happen, and only some require a digital device. There is still no substitute for the kind of experience, insight and wisdom that human beings can provide. Reaching out to them, and having the conversation, is in itself a development project. That’s the nub of what we found in our research on current thinking – the most exciting potential exists in integrating and aligning the digital and the human together. Sounds simple, but of course it isn’t, and that’s our challenge as L&D professionals. There’s a fundamental truth here, that’s backed up by neuroscience. Engaging with a human activates emotions as well as intellect, and emotional engagement is a vital ingredient in getting the ROI from your development budget.