Digital learning is defined as any type of learning activity that is supported by technology. That's a very broad definition, which is a good thing. We don't have to constrict our perceptions and use of digital learning to a single activity (like eLearning). In fact, it's quite the opposite. Organizations can use the many forms of digital learning as a way to enhance other learning experiences (such as eLearning).
Since the definition of digital learning is so broad and technologies are changing all the time, it can be challenging to stay current with all of the digital learning experiences available. So where do you start? Here are just five digital learning experiences that organizations might want to leverage in their learning and development programs.
Many organizations view 1:1 conversations as simply that: conversations. They use 1:1 meetings for the exchange of information. The 1:1 meeting can be more. And should be more.
To leverage learning during 1:1 conversations, organizations should train managers on how to deliver knowledge and skills during these sessions. There's a formula for the conversation:
- Introduce the topic
- Discuss or demonstrate the information
- Give the employee an opportunity to practice
- Have a quick debrief
- Wrap-up the conversation
While the use of the word "gamification" has waned, the idea of using games for learning has been around for years. Games are fun! ...And who doesn't like to have fun and learn at the same time? There's no rule that says learning needs to be boring.
Take advantage of the power that games can provide by using them to reinforce key concepts during and after training. Especially if the organization or industry has a lot of unique jargon or what could be considered boring terminology where there's no other way to learn it but memorization. Organizations can use video games like Kahoot! to create quizzes and trivia-type games.
Typically offered in less than five-minute segments, Microlearning is the concept of presenting a topic in a very short time frame. It's not ideal for every topic or skill but when used properly, can be very effective.
Microlearning videos can be created on a budget. They're great for short lessons as well as refresher content. They can be made available in a resource library for employees to reference on-demand. Microlearning sessions on interviewing or performance coaching could be helpful for managers who don't do these types of activities on a regular basis.
Massive Open Online Courses (aka MOOCs)
These computer-based courses are typically offered by major universities like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc. There's usually a free version and a paid version that allows the participant to take tests and receive a certificate of completion at the end. Organizations can purchase enterprise accounts. Employees are able to seek online degrees.
One way to view a MOOC is as a professional development seminar or workshop. There are programs on leadership, well-being, communication skills, and more. A MOOC can be a way for employees to actively participate in their own career development.
Yes, social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide free learning opportunities through the use of articles, livestream video and community chats.
A big advantage to using social media in learning is that many employees are already using these platforms. There are no real set-up costs. It does take time to identify opportunities and share them with the workforce. Getting proficient with the use of hashtags can help everyone effectively search each site.
Digital learning experiences: Choosing the right channels for your learning strategy
Each one of these five digital learning experiences has their own advantages and disadvantages. Social media might be faster to set up but more difficult to monitor. MOOCs offer in-depth content but there may also be a cost factor. Microlearning sessions are short and can be repeated which is why the right topic must be chosen. Gamification creates a level of interest that helps with learning, however there are some topics where games might be inappropriate. Finally, 1:1 conversations provide a high-level of personalization to the learning experience. It's important to make sure that managers aren't using it when another format might be better.
The reason that digital learning is so challenging is because there are all these factors to consider. It's also the reason that organizations should use it more often. It's flexible to the needs of the learner. Organizations have the ability to use multiple digital learning activities and bring variety to the organization's learning strategy.
And variety is important. Organizations want employees to be excited about learning. They want employees to be curious. This means creating learning experiences that employees want to have and are looking forward to participating in. With technology having a high profile in our lives, it only makes sense to add a technology component to an employee's learning experience as well.