There has been a dramatic shift in the way adults learn today, which is driven by the broader trend in how people now consume all sorts of information. The options for delivering many types of content such as TV, radio, books and newspapers have changed drastically over the last five years with access to smartphones and information anytime, anywhere. When I asked my team how many watch television shows at their regularly scheduled time, very few actually do. Instead, they view the content they want on-demand on their own time when it’s right for them. We are collectively taking a much more active role in consuming information by deciding what, when, and how it should be consumed. The same trends are defining how adult learners approach new software in a self-service approach.
Just In Time
The way it was …
The traditional software training model was designed solely for the physical training event where learners scheduled time to attend a class. This traditional approach to learning focused on consuming knowledge in a finite period of time in the classroom, challenging learners to assimilate knowledge within that time.
The way it is …
Adult learners face increasingly busy schedules, making it hard for them to fit traditional learning approaches into a specific date on their calendar. They also face increasingly involved projects that require access to knowledge throughout those projects.
The solution …
The design and delivery of learning content should allow learners to decide how much material they learn at any one time. They should receive what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and be able to stop and restart that learning to fit their schedule. In addition, learning does not have a finite stopping point. As we are all aware: technology does not stand still. Therefore, learning should also be continuous.
Training is not an event; rather, it becomes an ongoing process. In this new approach, delivery in a traditional classroom setting may be included as part of the experience, but it is not all of the experience. Instead, greater emphasis is put on what occurs outside of formal training events. It becomes more important to provide learning options that go beyond the classroom over a period of time in a format that is optimal for new adult learning and expectations.
Individualized and Customized
People today are used to getting select information delivered to them based upon their specific interests. This explains the surge in popularity of sites like YouTube and news blogs where people can search for the specific content they want. Students are no different. They are no longer satisfied with being considered part of the mass market, where they sit in a three-day course that may not cover everything they need, and may waste time covering content they don’t really care to learn. Instead, they want to feel like the content was designed for them, and choose their learning materials from an à la carte menu. This self-service approach ensures the right learning at the right time for the right people.
This evolution of content consumption has occurred hand-in-hand with the evolution of technology, and has helped to shift the training model from passive learning to active learning and from an instructor-centric to a learner-centric approach. Learners are no longer just receivers of information, taking notes and listening to instructors. Now, they want to participate in the learning and have some control over what is covered and how it is covered. Active learners want to learn on their own with high quality learning content whenever and wherever they can. They still like to use instructors, but prefer to leverage that expertise as a form of learning support, in order to seek guidance and help solve problems.
This examination of continuous learning then begs the question: how do instructors adapt to each student’s different learning style? Keep your eyes trained on the Qlik Blog for my next post where we will explore the answer in greater depth!