Whether it’s the impacts of the pandemic or of what we consume on social media, mental wellbeing has shot to the forefront of conversations, our thoughts, and corporate boardroom agendas.
This was certainly the case for many training managers throughout the pandemic who found themselves needing to maintain a fine balance of keeping learners on track, and keeping them positive and engaged, whilst working remotely.
Learner withdrawal rates pose one of the most significant challenges to a training provider. Training managers are, therefore, constantly striving to strike a fine balance between their ability to deliver high-quality training against the business desire to increase the quantity of their learners.
An underlying metric that can be measured along with all of a training manager’s other benchmarks is the happiness of learners. After all, if we can improve the positive emotions experienced, it can have a huge impact on performance.
Studies have shown that learners with a positive outlook retain more information. Dr David Rock, co-founder of the Neuroleadership Institute explains that, “people experiencing positive emotions perceive more options when trying to solve problems…and generally perform better overall.”
The emotional state of a learner therefore needs to be a key consideration for training providers.
Lester Biddle, technology director, HIT training confirms this link: “Statistics have proved the more engaged the learner is the more enjoyment they get from the learning and the higher degree of a successful outcome at the end.”
The training industry could be guilty in the past of being process driven, and linear in its approach to a set curriculum, but the best way to raise the standard of training delivery is to put the learner first, and that doesn’t happen with a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Autonomy is the key
Ian Bamford, COO at Paragon Skills, explains that it’s important to let the learner take the lead. “Determining learner happiness not only relies on a clear framework for monitoring progression, but also the ability to enhance each individual’s strengths by taking a holistic approach to their learning.
“By providing access to the latest digital learning, we are encouraging the apprentice to lead their own learning journey in a style that suits them. This gives them [the apprentice] the autonomy to decide how they complete the curriculum with the reassuring support of their designated personal tutor. It’s an approach that’s high on engagement.”
Bamford continues: “Our results are possibly a good indication that this approach works. Our latest inspection from Ofsted was good. We also have above average success rates across all sectors, which have increased year on year, for three successive years. We’ve also seen an impressive increase in our success rates since implementing this approach with numbers rising from 66.7% to 71.4% in a single year.”
Raising the levels of learner happiness and satisfaction in a tech-savvy generation depends on the following approaches:
- Make learner happiness and engagement a key metric for training delivery. Build in interactive personal development activities to the online curriculum to track knowledge, skills, and behavior at regular intervals.
- Today’s younger learners and apprentices are true digital natives and expect to consume products and services at any time and in any place. A survey by statista shows that 94% of generation Z regularly use a smartphone to access the internet. Accessing content via a smartphone is second nature to them, therefore apprenticeship delivery needs to be mobile-first.
- Giving learners the digital tools and the autonomy to decide how they learn is an important aspect of engagement. Taking a singular approach to each learner nurtures their individual strengths and growth in their learning journey.
- Pause to listen. Track learner progress in real-time, rather than wait for course work to be handed in late and hold regular calls or zoom meets to show that you value the learner experience. Invite learners to share their voices and experiences.
Kirsten Greenlees, managing partner at Decoded explains how learner happiness is measured at the digital learning provider, “We take a data-driven approach, assessing hundreds of data points for every learner at different stages of the course.
“For example, after each workshop, we see an average increase in the confidence of using a data analytics technique of 34%. We’re confident our approach to learner happiness leads to success with each and every learner.”
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