Meaningful Learning IS Employee Engagement
Rachell Robson | 4 min read
Employee training has come a long way since the days of overhead projectors, dry lectures, and pass / fail skill assessments. Employers are embracing meaningful, interactive, and accessible learning techniques to create inclusive learning experiences aimed at boosting employee engagement. Given ample opportunity for continuous learning and skill development — in interactive, rewarding, and entertaining ways — employees display increased interest, motivation, and productivity. In short, meaningful learning is employee engagement.
Meaningful learning refers to a learning approach that increases new knowledge retention by relating learning material to a learner’s prior experience or existing knowledge base. It operates on the theory that concepts are easier to understand and implement when their context is clear. Contrasted with more traditional rote learning techniques — in which new information is memorized but not necessarily synthesized — it’s easy to recognize the value of meaningful, experiential learning in the workplace.
Reasoning and recognizing relationships between concepts — and between concepts and experiences — are talents unique to human beings. Meaningful learning engages and develops those talents to improve knowledge retention, capability, and productivity for your employees.
Meaningful Learning Methods
Blended and interactive models are proven meaningful learning methods for the hybrid workplace. They integrate technology, digital media, and both instructor- and trainee-led learning activities. Employees are invited to engage in learning in a variety of ways and employ different platforms and methods of instruction, communication, and skill assessment. Blended learning offers employees training opportunities that improve their odds of new knowledge retention and comprehension — which also increases their chances of successful concept generalization in their work. Instructors and curriculum designers have a plethora of potential options to choose from when constructing learning and development (L&D) programs, including:
- Blended online and in-person instruction. While a common choice for onsite employees, this option is typically underutilized for remote and hybrid employees, but instructor presentations can be provided live — for more interaction — or via video to include offsite workers in onsite training sessions. And whether employees participate in instructor-led sessions online or onsite, online modules are effective for introducing concepts, reinforcing material, and assessing progress.
- Gamification. When you consider the ubiquity of video games and online team or individual play, it’s not a stretch to recognize gamification as a useful — and fun — approach to employee training. Gaming increases engagement and material retention.
- Microlearning. This method presents training material in short-form modules that can typically be consumed and completed in less than 15 minutes. Trainees are more likely to complete modules that take less time.
- Video. The value of video media is well-known in L&D circles, and it’s not a new or revolutionary concept. Film strips and video tapes reinforced learning in classrooms long before digital media came on the scene. Visual presentations, especially when used in conjunction with other methods, enhance retention and engagement.
- Action-based or experiential learning. Placing learners within the context of the concepts they’ve studied allows for practical application experience and knowledge comprehension, demonstration, and generalization. Roleplay workplace scenarios to practice concepts in action.
- Group discussion. Let trainees review the material they’ve learned and debrief on their learning experiences to reinforce knowledge, offer different or more relevant perspectives, and boost retention. Group discussions, whether online or in-person, foster a sense of community and encourage teamwork and camaraderie. They also provide opportunities for employees to share ideas and brainstorm solutions together.
The time, effort, and personnel involved in managing employee L&D is directly related to the size of your organization. Enterprise organizations typically rely on technology to manage employee training. A learning management system (LMS) is a software application or web-based solution for planning, implementing, tracking, and assessing training programs. It is a strong administrative tool designed to handle all aspects of your company’s learning initiatives and provide straightforward ways to create and deliver learning content, monitor student engagement, and assess learning progress.
A learning experience platform (LXP) is an intuitive L&D platform. While a traditional LMS focuses on the need to deliver information, policy, and compliance training to employees, an LXP focuses on employee training needs, and provides them with opportunities for professional development. An LXP supports an array of content and may include blog posts, industry articles, podcasts, coursework, videos, and other forms of relevant media. It also enables users to create social profiles, publish original content, and interact with other employees. An LXP provides your employees with a personalized learning experience with plenty of flexibility and multiple engagement options for their learning success.
An LMS is an excellent administrative tool for delivering, gathering, and tracking learning information. It works best with evergreen content and is ideal for simple assessment and consistent delivery of essential material. An LXP focuses on meaningful, interactive learning and the employee learning experience. Its strengths are its ability to allow learning on the trainee’s timeline, address personalized learning and professional development goals, and create workplace community through social interaction and collaborative learning activities.
For more on meaningful learning for employee engagement, visit wisetail.com.