Before all this talk about digital revolution, we already knew that technology was impacting our learning dynamics. The now widespread availability of all these new technologies has been changing our priorities and capacities, as well as how fast we work and what we focus on. They have also affected how we access information and the time we set aside for our ongoing training right before we enter the labour market or once we have found a job
No matter our age, the industry in which we work or the job profile we are seeking, each and every one of us who now chooses to pursue our training and studies online has a number of things in common. It is certainly easy to identify with the portrait of the modern learner.
The year in which we all became “modern learners”
Do we not all feel overwhelmed sometimes by the sheer quantity of information available to us? We already know that now, more than ever, it is essential to upskill and reskill in order to remain relevant. Yet how do we make the right choice and get what we are after, while continuing to incorporate knowledge that will enable us to improve and remain relevant in each area we are seeking to develop?
While the concept of modern learner was certainly big news when it emerged some ten years ago, it has now become a regular feature of our lives. As educators and learners, we are immersed in a reality where digital resources and skills are no longer something extra. They have gone from being an important part of any personal or business development project to becoming a very real, present and urgent need for anyone wishing to remain relevant in the job market and also in the personal and social realms.
We have witnessed exponential growth in 2020 across many areas. Progress has been especially startling in the education and L&D (learning and development) sectors, which feature a huge variety of levels and approaches, and many of the changes we have seen are here to stay. For the training projects arising from new technologies and focused on the digital training of students, the new post-COVID reality is effectively a confirmation of what we had all been expecting: the internationalisation of these processes and widespread reliance on online training. We can call this phenomenon the “democratisation” of the modern learner.
Impatience and distraction vs engagement and motivation
Aside from access to information, the need for proper learning resources has also become an absolute must. After all, they allow us to make sense of all the information out there and to sort it, explain it and put it to good use. They generate knowledge from information by facilitating multi-directional communication across the community of educators and students involved in the training process.
Since the term modern learner caught on, every new article on the subject has contributed further information about how much time the modern learner spends reading and answering emails each day, or how many times they unlock their mobile phone within the space of an hour. We can all identify with the “modern learner” in the broadest sense of the term and many of us already fit the profile: always on, overstimulated, somewhat impatient… but also eager to learn and someone who values their training and desires improvement. Someone who can barely find half an hour each week to escape their other distractions and study something that interests them professionally and gives them genuine personal satisfaction. They are both worker and student and therefore face a huge challenge in completing their training.
Given the autonomy and time management offered by mobile devices, almost all respondents (typically over 90%) of surveys handed out to professionals keen to continue their studies expressed a preference for hands-on training experiences in which the knowledge they acquire can be put straight to practice. It is not about displaying the content of a “master class” on the screen of a smartphone or tablet.
It is about creating a training experience that invites learners to complete tasks that are, or will be, part of their daily lives and to do so by interacting with their educators and other students, while discovering, incorporating and consolidating their new knowledge.
The success of a training method and plan hinges precisely on these elements of convenience, personalisation and transfer, thus ensuring that the content is directly relevant to the learner’s professional development. That is why many learners prefer short training courses, or like to divide a longer course into a succession of specific training actions.
Transforming and enhancing digital training
Since March, the activity of many training centres has been confined to the home. This combination of home office and place of study makes it even more important to balance flexibility and organisation. For ISDI CRM the past 12 months have produced numerous new learning experiences and provided further proof that current expectations as to how the training sector will pan out are pretty accurate.
Our academy adapted and responded immediately when we needed to migrate our training cycles and actions to online platforms, or resume blended training plans. All this while maintaining face-to-face training dynamics that are sustainable and can positively impact the new reality. We have ensured that what our learners study through each of the training programmes generates genuine learning and allows them to put their new skills into practice on the path to improving their performance at work.
The ISDI CRM training programme offers a series of standalone courses or modules that can be completed independently and serve to certify relevant knowledge for the learner that falls within his or her professional field. More extensive training itineraries provide broader training, with a high degree of personalisation in the training experience.
Study plans are invariably designed to reconcile the necessary flexibility when it comes to organisation and timetables, with continuous motivation and engagement activities, as well as refresher training for educators and among students. We foster an empathetic approach, with the student at the centre of things and a double reward: immediate satisfaction, where the learner can incorporate and verify the effectiveness of their training in the workplace, and, in the mid run, continuous reskilling and upskilling, through which the learner can enhance their professional profile and personal position within the labour market, an absolute must for every modern learner about to venture into 2021.