One of the most remarkable parts of 21st century learning theory is its understanding that no two learners (or educators) are alike. Whatever industry you happen to be in, when you’re tasked with developing training resources, you’re bound to be delivering to a diverse group of individuals.
Any group of learners can vary greatly with respect to:
- years of work experience
- previous training and education
- comfort with and access to learning technology
- expectations of training programs
- outside commitments and time available to devote to training
- level of interest
Here are some important questions to ask:
- Is our training accessible anywhere, anytime? Can learners access it when they have the time and attention required to get the most out of it?
- Is our training interactive and activity-based? Are learners engaged in it and invited to participate, or are they merely fed information?
- Does our training leave room for both introverts and extroverts? Does it give learners the choice to work together or work independently?
- Can we include multimedia resources, so that learners can process and absorb it in visual, audio, written, or even tactile format?
- Can our training program be revisited later, so that learners can refresh their memories or use it as a reference? Will learners have the chance to reflect on what they’ve learned?
- Who can our learners turn to when they have a question or require clarification? Are there opportunities for peer support, or just-in-time help from an instructor?
- Is there an element of fun and/or creativity in our training resources? Will learners actually enjoy using them, and look forward to future sessions?
- Is there some element of choice in the experience? Can learners select assessment and evaluation tools that really allow them to demonstrate what they’ve learned?
- Can we incorporate elements like game-based learning, or a badging system?
Perhaps the most important question to ask is if learners (and instructors, for that matter) understand why this training program is important, and what skills and expertise they’re expected to gain from it. Those who truly grasp the purpose of an experience are more likely (and better equipped) to communicate what they need in order to be successful.
If this seems like a lot of options to be considering, well, it is. However, asking these sorts of questions not only results in better learning design, but also helps to ensure that learners will know what they need to know. Read the room, play to your audience, do a little digging, and see how much richer a learning experience becomes.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you understand the particular needs of your learners. We’ll help you design training materials that engage, enlighten and enable your team.
learning styles 1