There’s always something new to learn – and new ways to learn it

By Ernie Wood   |   May 29, 2018

School’s in at DeLaune & Associates. Every few days, we’re called on to learn something new. Blockchain? Check. Robotic process automation? For sure. How about the banking, insurance, food and automotive industries? Or the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation? Of course.

We read up on the topic and interview experts in the field. Then we write and design marketing collateral. It feels a lot like writing term papers in college—especially the part about footnoting white papers. Also the part about taking a full load of courses. When an agency has multiple clients, including large enterprises with huge numbers of products, we’re constantly changing classrooms, moving from one assignment to another.

But we’re not alone. To succeed in business, everyone has to learn. To learn constantly. And, as corporate trainers increasingly understand, to learn differently. There are a lot of approaches out there.

Today, technology is fundamental to learning. The modern classroom, notes Purdue University, one of several institutions offering graduate degrees in learning design and technology, has “evolved into a hotbed of technological advances.”

Forbes magazine further calls out six digital trends that define this “hotbed.” And while relatively few companies may use the gamification, virtual reality or other techniques that Forbes cites, certain of these trends are finding their way into the workplace. Classes are smaller. More content is delivered digitally.

Chief among these, however, is the trend to diverse learning the Houston Chronicle notes when it says: “Good training programs employ technology as just one part of the learning process.”

Training Industry, Inc., an organization that serves as a resource for corporate trainers, defines the diversity trend more specifically:

Millennials entering the job market bring a new set of expectations on how to learn and collaborate… that learning is best achieved in small ongoing increments, over time, accessed on-demand, using multiple devices, over multiple forms of media. The greatest lesson millennials have taught us is we need to focus on speed and how to make learning efficient and effective

Sounds a lot like the day-to-day learning at DeLaune. So how can your company make this happen?

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has identified specific approaches that learners and trainers can take. These include instructors who learn new methods of instruction. Support for student empowerment. Collaboration to share resources. Activities that recognize the difference in learners.

To support these approaches, the federal Office of Personnel Management has identified specific tools that enable learning in the workplace. These include web conferencing, social networking, podcasts and blogs. The agency also puts emphasis on collaboration, whether through wikis, media sharing or other means.

These are a lot of activities and a lot of information. But no company can assume its employees will learn on their own—and no one can assume traditional methods still work. There’s always something new to learn. And there are always new—and diverse—ways to get information to the people who need to learn it.

Ernie Wood

About the Author

Previous Managing Copy Director of DeLaune & Associates, Ernie is an author with more than 25 years of technology writing experience.

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