When you think of “converting to modern learning,” what comes to mind for you? Is it abandoning one-and-done training events for a strictly online/eLearning experience? If that was your thought, you’re not alone. 

Most L&D organizations, as they started facing the pandemic in 2020, scrambled to turn every face to face training program into an e-learning. But that isn’t modern. Nor is it sufficient to make a business-impacting difference in talent’s capability.

Traditionally, L&D has overwhelmingly focused on new moments of learning need, and that has typically manifested itself in the sole development of one-and-done formal learning events. Every topic is big enough to need a day long course. Or, it’s so small, it’s a bite size video.

With the onset of technology, learning experience platforms and rapid authoring tools, the difficulty of taking learning from the classroom to online has decreased immensely and has become the new preferred, if not sole method of learning in many organizations.

But, with this shift in modalities, organizations have begun to create and collect a large number of e-learning courses and bite-size programming that, over time, can become dated and static.

Rather than completely replacing face to face training with eLearning, how can we leverage what is working with event-based learning so we don’t recreate the wheel?

Action of the Week: Surrounding Learners in their Moments of Learning Need

With the LCD model’s Surround Action, you are able to identify what chunks of meaningful learning to create, and how to get these different chunks in front of learners when, where, and how they are most likely to need them. We categorize these points of contact into one of three “Learning Touchpoints”: Social, Immediate and Formal.

When it comes to modernizing learning, many L&D professionals tend to want to abandon the face-to-face learning aspect of the Formal Touchpoint and go straight to e-learning.

L&D professionals who are guided by the Learning Cluster Design model do it differently.

  • They consider what social avenues for learning they can leverage, especially by looking at what learners are already doing for a topic and helping to support those ways.
  • They consider Immediate avenues, that are available and accessible to the learner 24/7, and include not just e-learning, but job aids, performance support tools, apps, videos, chatbots, and more.
  • They also don’t forget that modern learners actually do crave formal learning programs, where they can immerse with a community face to face – whether that face is in person or in an online platform. They use the Nine Elements of Modern Learning shared in the Upgrade Action of the model to make sure even remote live events are engaging, for me, and maximizing generative learning opportunities.
  • They consider the most likely moments of learning need (see Gottfredson and Mosher’s work) for each learner persona they design using the model and decide which chunks of content belong in which of the above avenues

By doing all of the above, L&D professionals start to deliver Learning Clusters, rather than a training program. They start with a pool of great content, and instead of swinging to one extreme of full immersion or the other of bite-size, they surround learners with meaningful learning assets.

While L&D’s new role in modern learning is to go beyond one-and-done training, we must remember to not abandon it completely just for the sake of modernization.

Do you have a more holistic learning strategy today? What does it look like for you?