We’re eleven months into the pandemic, with more to do and less to do it with. We explore why a ‘bitesize’ approach may be the way to make learning as impactful as possible…
It’s a tough time for learning. Many organisations will have had their L&D budgets slashed. Internal buy-in may have dipped. Learning might have simply been put in the box of ‘things to revisit once we get back to normal’. However, we all know the positive benefits of cultivating a learning culture in our organisations, and how it can leverage all the good stuff like increased engagement, productivity, and innovation. While parking learning and development is an understandable outcome, it doesn’t take into account the positive impact of learning – even during the pandemic.
To be clear: learning actually makes employees happier. According to a report by LinkedIn, there was a clear correlation between the amount of time employees spent learning and their “overall happiness” early on in the pandemic, which later dipped when there was less investment. Learning can therefore be the crucial boost people need during difficult times. Now, nearly a year into the pandemic, we’re more time poor and pandemic-fatigued than ever. So how can we make sure that whatever learning we do is as impactful as possible?
What we’ve learned about learning
One key takeaway from the past few months is figuring out what people don’t want from their learning and development. Another three-hour Zoom call everyone? We can only imagine the collective gasp of horror that would ring out if that was announced at this stage in the pandemic. We now know what learners don’t want from L&D training, which is great. But what do they want?
First of all, we need to ask ourselves who we’re creating our L&D strategy for. We’re all busier than ever, and with the impact of restructurings, redundancies and furlough in the UK, most people won’t have lots of time for learning. But we also need to consider who our actual workforce is right now. According to Forbes, millennials are claiming the place of baby boomers as America’s largest adult generation, and they’re on route to make up the majority of the workforce over the next few years. They’ve grown up tech savvy with social media and instant gratification as the norm.
However, there’s more to come. The average attention span of the next generation, Gen Z, is eight seconds – four seconds shorter than millennials. It’s pretty clear: if we want our workforce to engage with our L&D programmes, they must be designed with them in mind. In a world where everything is competing for attention, bitesize – or microlearning – is one way we can do that.
Why bitesize learning is impactful
Delivered though video, apps, and concise, snackable content, bitesize learning is a lot of bang for your buck. It’s more likely to hold the attention of learners, it doesn’t require face-to-face learning or a gap in busy schedules, and it doesn’t have to be pushed back until after the pandemic. That sense of immediacy is a plus point for learners, with 56% of people say they value learning that can be delivered “at the point of need.” Microlearning has also been found to result in a 17% improvement in learners' performance, and a whopping 50% enhancement in learning engagement.”
However, it’s not just about the bitesize quality of the material, it’s also the material itself. As Harvard Business Review point out, organisations often make mistakes when it comes to learning and development. They may shoehorn employees into learning the wrong things, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time. They may even encourage people into “signalling” so they can make a case for promotion down the line. Generally speaking, people don’t want to complete multiple modules that don’t align with what they actually do, just to fulfil a company-wide need. Learners want to manage their own development and focus on the areas where they need it most.
We’re really excited about the latest development to Insights Explore+ for that very reason. As you may already know, digital learning tool Insights Explore is the lighter touch version of our flagship product, Insights Discovery. It introduces learners to the language of colour in an accessible and bitesized way, and enables them to take that exciting first step in their self-awareness journey. It’s self-directed and is immediately applicable to all those interactions we all have at work each day.
However, now it goes one step further. We’ve added a variety of unlockable themes to the content in Explore+ that will support learners in their daily working lives. There are four themes that learners can access – Learn, Remote Working, Service and Wellbeing – and within each theme learners will find content that will help them develop their skill set in that area. The best part is that the actionable tips and advice are created with all four lead colour energies in mind, so that learners can understand not only their own preferences, but the preferences of others. So it’s not a one-size-fits-all experience; it’s designed to be as relevant to that learner as possible. In that way, we hope learners can really squeeze as much value out of their learning as possible.
Sound interesting? You can find out more about Insights Explore+ and the unlockable themes learners can now access by heading over to our web page.