Mix And Match Different Learning Styles To Keep Learners Engaged
Wait…before you start reading, do you need to check your phone? What about that video you wanted to watch? That task you needed to complete? I want to make sure I have your attention, at least for a little while. Did you know research shows the average person’s attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to nine seconds (or less) today? Nine seconds. That’s how long you have to grab learners and keep them hooked. Gone are the days of four-hour lectures and slides full of bullet points. If you want to keep people engaged and learning, you’ve got to blend it, flip it, and stir things up!
Blended learning is exactly what it sounds like—training that incorporates various mediums. Here are some different modalities we can help you build:
Five- to 10-minute bursts of eLearning are perfect for breaking down complex concepts into digestible, bite-sized learning.
- Mobile learning
Mobile capabilities make it easy for people to learn on their phones while in line at Starbucks, in between meetings or on the train to or from the office.
What better way to learn than to watch someone do it? Video allows us to explain concepts, show learners how to perform, and send valuable messages from leaders.
Interview leaders, experts, or employees who are awesome at their jobs and spread that knowledge. Podcasts allow employees to learn as they commute, work out, or do anything at any time.
Virtual Instructor-Led Training gives organizations the ability to run a classroom training without the classroom. You can stir things up by using virtual polling tools, whiteboards, chats, breakout rooms, and brainstorming tools.
Test learners’ knowledge through games, then highlight players with the highest points for some “friendly” competition among team members. Whether you use scenarios to gauge what they would do in certain situations, or test their knowledge by sorting, matching, or answering questions, learners will play to win.
Once you blend your learning styles, stir things up again by flipping it! Traditionally, people go to a classroom to learn and then practice via homework later. But let’s face it—life gets in the way, and good intentions of following up on classroom learning quickly fall by the wayside as other priorities come up.
In a flipped classroom, you do the opposite. For example, you might assign microlearning or videos as prework. Then, on Training Day, you can maximize your facilitators’ and coaches’ time by leveraging what participants learned beforehand.
We recently created a marketing course for a global media company. As prework, we assigned three microlearnings: The History of Marketing, How to Use the Marketing Funnel, and How to Create a Marketing Campaign. Learners also watched successful campaign videos.
During the VILT, learners spent the day working in teams to create a marketing campaign. The facilitator was able to coach each team through the process and give real-time feedback that allowed teams to be agile and to prototype and iterate.
By flipping the learning, participants were able to learn by experience in a fun, creative way.
Stir Things Up!
As with anything, if you simply rinse, lather and repeat, you’ll sacrifice engagement and impact. With so many learning options to choose from, why confine yourself to just a few? Think about your content and objectives, then ask yourself, “If I were in the learner’s position, what would make this most interesting? What would make it memorable?” Do this for each course you’re creating, and chances are you’ll have a breadth of platforms and learning experiences that will keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.
It’s also important not to forget that experimentation is the name of the game when it comes to virtual learning. Ask your audience for feedback once they complete a course so you know what’s working and what’s not. Tweak your delivery a bit each time and you’re sure to land on the right fit for your content. This step allows you to look at the course through your learners’ eyes, thereby ensuring you’re giving them the most engaging experience possible. Engaged learners are better able to retain knowledge and put it into practice on the job—a win for you and them.
So whatever learning styles you decide to use, remember to be innovative, combine different types of learning, and make space for practice. We’re here for you—however you decide to stir it up!