What’s Wrong with the Learner Experience

By David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Join Carl Crisostomo, Product Manager for Content at Saba Software and David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group for a free webinar on July 18th

Just about any human interaction with technology is, to some degree, tailored and personalized: Home assistants know our voices and preferences; thermostats make adjustments based on our patterns of leaving, returning home and sleeping; and streaming video services are configured according to who is currently watching. This type of experience is ubiquitous, except perhaps at work, and more specifically, for learning at work.

There have been recent strides toward making things better, but most companies attack the problem as though it is solely a technology issue. And while ultimately it is technology that delivers these experiences, the learner experience is much more than that.

Companies must stop conflating learner experience with user experience. The biggest stumbling block is the organization’s failure to answer one simple question: What’s in it for me?

At first, this question may seem selfish and arrogant. But the reality is that people really just want a connection to the tasks they perform at work. For too long, learning delivery has been based on the notion that its very existence makes it relevant by definition. The reason training has gotten a bad rap in the past is because so much of it is delivered in a “because I said so” fashion. This been a satisfactory justification for anything — ever.

Today’s learners want meaningful learning experiences based on their interests and needs, personally and professionally. Offering one that’s just “fun” for learners isn’t good enough. The same goes for simply opening the firehose of learning content and hoping for the best. To engage learners, develop critical skills and improve employee and business performance, organizations must take a holistic view of the overall learning experience shared by their people and find new ways to enable and measure purposeful learning.

All the bells, whistles and cartoon avatars in the world won’t connect a learner with content if they don’t see why the learning benefits them directly and thereby benefits the team, function, and organization. Getting there will take some work. Companies must do a better job of understanding who their employees are and what they want/need to succeed. They also need to do a better job of connecting those things to overall business outcomes. The good news is that on the other side of that work, it becomes far easier to create impactful programs, engage learners, and deliver outcomes that can actually be measured.

If you would like to get in on the discussion around the learner experience, join Carl Crisostomo, Product Manager for Content at Saba Software and me for a webinar on July 18th. It will be a good chance to explore some of the current research and thinking about how to fix the learner experience and to get actionable takeaways for your organization.

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

For more information on our research, please visit www.brandonhall.com

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.