What Does the Modern Learner Look Like?

Technology features prominently in the modern learner’s profile, as it should. Interactivity, connectivity, accessibility, it’s all grist to the mill when the goal is to gather information.

co_1123_lead_302Today’s modern workforce is filled with tech-savvy, eager learners, who want to be able to freely connect with their colleagues, managers and other experts within the organization. In addition, they expect accessible, interactive learning experiences anytime, anywhere.

To adapt to today’s modern learner and meet their rising expectations, learning leaders are forced to rethink how they approach corporate engagement and learning to retain and nurture their talent. They must simplify the employee experience and enable connections anywhere and on any device, personalize information for relevant communication, create a culture where employees want to share their knowledge, and encourage them to engage with each other in new and creative ways. With this in mind, it is important that learning leaders fully understand the importance of technology and social networking in the workplace in order to better develop talent.

The modern learner is connected. Digital apps, tools and social networks are not only fueling how the world learns, but also how businesses adapt to market changes. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter let people connect with peers, discover news and share information. As a result, today’s workforce expects similar interactivity at work.

Make sure employees can easily communicate, share content and access managers on a consistent cadence. When employees receive constant feedback to benefit their role/career, they are more likely to build relationships and cultivate a more collaborative learning process. For instance, offer social collaboration in the cloud to enable real-time feedback, social learning and instant knowledge-sharing.

The modern learner is always on. Technology has given employees 24/7 access to information, and smartphones have become their go-to sidekicks.

Employees can access anything they want through their mobile devices, so why shouldn’t they be able to access educational content, videos and other information about their roles and internal processes via their mobile devices as well? Businesses should offer easy access to learning programs, and give employees control over when and how they access content and knowledge-sharing collaboration tools.

The modern learner has a short attention span. Employees are constantly consuming information, so it’s more difficult for them to focus on a single task for a prolonged period of time. The odds they’ll filter out all outside distractions to engage with an in-depth learning course are slim to none.

Businesses should personalize learning programs and experiences so they’re more relevant and compelling, offering elements such as recommended reading, videos and additional learning opportunities. Rather than create a one-size-fits-all program, ensure that team members receive the information and resources that align with their positions and goals within the organization.

The modern learner is hungry for information. As new digital tools and platforms enter the mix, employees’ behaviors and learning preferences will change. If learning leaders want to capture and keep employees’ attention, they’ll need to provide a relevant and immersive learning experience using the latest digital tools and platforms. Tools like global workforce analytics, talent management and acquisition, and workforce rewards all play an important role in ensuring that an employee receives relevant information.

Modern technology platforms, specifically those optimized for the cloud, not only increase operational efficiency and enable collaboration among employees, they help to encourage individual employees to learn in a way that aligns with their personal learning style, age and device preferences. By enabling employees to learn as individuals, in a way and time that makes sense for them, companies can invest in, and therefore maintain, their talent.

Gretchen Alarcon is vice president for human capital management strategy for Oracle. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com.

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