Understanding and using the best bits of ‘smart learning’
It’s been said that true wisdom is knowing what you don’t know. If that’s the case, we as L&D professionals could all benefit from taking our ideas around learning back to school sometimes. There’s a chance your LMS might be falling short on the scope of capabilities available today and you might be missing out on what the market is calling ‘smart learning’.
Smart Learning is a term used to describe education in the digital age. It speaks to the idea of technology enabling and increasing the effectiveness of our learning, helping learners to digest and access knowledge and skills more efficiently and conveniently. Lots of businesses that have embraced digital learning are already on the way to becoming truly smart – but there are always areas of improvement. We’ll cover some common themes we see at Kineo when we’re working with clients looking to improve their LMS capabilities. School is in session!
Smart Learning 101 – Best Practices
Smart learning features often exist in LMS environments, but we can always do a better job creating intelligent and personalised functions within them. It’s important to think of your LMS as a living, breathing organism that’s always growing and evolving to fit the needs of the times and the learners. Here are a few areas you can consider when examining your own LMS and its capabilities:
One massive benefit of technology is the ability to personalise learning content. This may seem like a rudimentary idea, but personalisation is quite sophisticated in today’s L&D. For instance, all course content can be tailored and customised to an individual through methods like pre-learning quizzes and knowledge assessments. The data collected from preliminary assessments can inform and shape course creation to meet specific needs of the users. We can also use this knowledge to form different learning tracks based on knowledge level, business unit, role, and virtually any other criteria that might be applicable to your business case.
When it comes to skill-based education, most people are familiar with the standard long-form learning courses. That is to say, watching a long training video or enduring a 50-slide informational presentation. Unfortunately, these types of practices have been so commonplace that they are often still the default in elearning. Microlearning is a concept that aims to improve retention and engagement with relatively small learning unit and a more spaced approach. The idea being that if learning can take place over a longer period of time, it’s easier to process and digest.
Presentation is everything. Well, it goes a long way in how we perceive and process educational materials. Good learning design is organised and presented logically in a way that allows learners to understand effectively with limited distractions. However, this doesn’t always come naturally. It’s important to engage with learners and get design and user experience feedback. This will help you continue to improve your learning presentation and design flow for the materials being presented.
We live in the age of social media and it stands to reason that learners are finding certain social and interactive features within their LMS to be really engaging. Seeing what your friends and peers are doing in an L&D capacity can open up new avenues for discussion and best practice. It also creates a bit of healthy competition among learners, which can help drive participation. See how we used social learning at Mitchell & Butlers.
Looking ahead – where can we go next?
The Smart Learning practices we’ve outlined above are a good baseline for what’s top of mind in the industry, but good learning designers know that the only constant is change. With that in mind, there’s a whole world of possibilities to look ahead to in elearning. In recent years we’ve seen a rise in augmented learning approaches that add new layers to courses. Dynamic features are being added to traditional models, where learners can complete interactive tasks like scanning codes for more, similar to how additional information is accessed at a museum. We’ve also seen a rise in virtual reality courses that simulate live learning environments and give users a chance to experience what it’s like to be on the job.
In most cases learning design is about understanding your business needs and making smart decisions that work for your organisation. There are endless possibilities and ways to innovate your learning, but Kineo helps our clients focus their priorities and find long-term solutions that help you grow a learning culture. Get in touch with us to learn more about what learning techniques will work best for you.
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