Bersin by Deloitte’s infographic “Meet the Modern Learner” is a snapshot of the challenges facing learning professionals today. For those of us who seek to create high-quality training for 21st century brains, “Modern Learner” is a more incisive presentation of the way modern workers learn than most lengthy research reports. Here are our biggest takeaways from this latter-day L&D classic:
- Learning needs to be micro. The central theme of the infographic is the fractured nature of the modern attention span. In Bersin’s words, “most learners won’t watch videos longer than 4 minutes.” To those of us who recoil in preemptive boredom when someone emails us a six-minute YouTube video, Bersin’s claim rings true.
- Workplaces need to be more aligned. As modern workers discover unprecedented independence on the job, their workplaces need to allow them a productive working environment. That means eliminating counterproductive distractions every 5 minutes. And that can be done through greater work alignment.
- Mobile learning is essential. 21st centurites check their phones 9 times an hour. No wonder they’re “increasingly turning to their smartphones to find just-in-time answers to unexpected problems.” Only learning that works well on mobile engages learners these days.
- Why are so few organizations providing time for training? Employees say they can spend only 1% of their time on training and development. That’s not nearly a serious-enough commitment to training. Time is an essential learning resource—without it, you may as well not provide any training at all.
- Employees really want to learn… Despite the paltry amount of time they feel they can allot to training, employees want to further their careers badly enough that they will pay for the training themselves if need be: 62% of IT professionals say they’ve done so. It’s no wonder why—they work in a field that requires its participants to stay up-to-date. It’s time everyone catches up with the fact that we all live in a world that moves this fast now.
- …but too few are getting it at work. If only 38% of people feel they have access to long-term development at work, our economy is staring at a big, big problem coming down the pipe. Skills training is essential; staying on top of technology is essential. The companies that deliver effective learning best possess a huge competitive advantage.
- Point-of-need learning meets learners where they are. 70% of employees access answers to on-the-job questions through search engines. That’s because Google is often the most readily-available tool at the point of need. Imagine if they got used to accessing your brand’s own instructional content that easily. That’s the power of on-demand performance support.
Only by understanding the needs of modern learners can modern trainers succeed. The struggle at the center of modern L&D is not about getting people to train; it’s about giving them effective learning solutions that cut through the noise. People want to learn; they spend their own money doing it. Give them a better option.