Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Combine Learner Wants Into Your Coaching Applications

Why is it important to understand the needs of the learners in your training programs?

The changing work landscape, including remote working, the highly mobile workforce, and increasing social interactivity beyond traditional workplaces, makes it imperative that companies evolve their eLearning strategies in order to respond appropriately. However, according to a study by the Brandon Hall Group, less than a quarter of organizational L&D strategies are effective in helping companies achieve their business goals.

One of the underlying problems for the ineffectiveness of training programs, particularly in relation to distance learning, is that organizations cite “learning” as the only desired outcome while neglecting to integrate learners’ needs into their strategies.

What are the benefits of integrating learning needs into your training program?

Integrating the learner’s needs into training programs offers far more benefits than just successfully completing the training. It offers effective training. Research from IBM confirms that companies that provide their employees with the training they need keep 62% of their workforce. And providing the training the learners need also has a financial advantage. Companies save employee replacement costs, which often exceed an employee’s annual salary costs by more than 200%. As a result, on-demand training of learners is also more effective in achieving the organization’s business and financial goals.

How are training effectiveness and learner preferences related?

Training programs that are not needs-based are not effective because they do not address the needs of the learner. One aspect of delivering effective training that is often overlooked is focusing on learner preferences.

Every learner is different, and everyone learns and processes learning content in a unique way. Taking into account the needs and preferences of the learner therefore enables L&D managers to use not only the previous knowledge and experience of the learner, but also how they prefer to learn – smartphones / tablets / laptops / desktops, visual, mobile learning, Podcasts, social learning, web forums, games, on-demand content, video / audio, etc. – to provide the most effective training.

Take a look at an integrated approach – a three-part process for capturing, processing and integrating learning needs into your training programs

Part 1: Understand and record the needs and preferences of learners

Because every organization and learning group is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to understanding and capturing learners’ needs and preferences. However, here are some guidelines to get you started this journey:

Training needs analysis (TNA) and learner needs analysis (LNA)

There is a difference between TNA and LNA that is sometimes lost when creating a training based on the needs of the learner.

TNA looks at the learning needs at an organizational level, while LNA looks at the challenge from the learner’s perspective. It is important to conduct both types of needs assessments to better understand learners’ needs and incorporate them into your training programs. For both TNA and LNA, it is important that you not only focus on current training needs, but also consider future organizational and personal learning needs.

First, conduct a TNA by assessing skills shortages across the organization, meeting business goals, and identifying the training required to develop such skills internally.

Through individual and group interactions with learners, you then identify the knowledge gaps and skills required by each employee and develop personalized, needs-based training profiles to meet those needs. You can meet LNA by:

  • Survey
    Surveying learners to understand their learning styles, preferred approaches to learning, and their learning motivation and experience is a great way to understand training programs and tailor them to the individual needs of learners.
  • Focus groups
    A focused group vision helps to understand and capture the needs of the learner on a broader level. Have the focus group, which includes a representative sample of learners from across the organization, list their learning needs and preferences. Operations, HR, and L&D executives can then streamline, refine, and synthesize a list of focused needs and preferences that are used in developing their training strategy.
  • Job interviews
    Interview learners individually and collectively to determine what their career goals and career advancement aspirations are, and what skills they would like to acquire or develop in order to achieve these goals.
  • Target group analysis
    Conducting audience analysis prior to putting together an eLearning strategy or program will help develop better on-demand training. Knowing who needs training (your target audience), why they think they need it, and what training they need can help you create and deliver more effective and meaningful training.
  • Training type factor
    Learner needs vary depending on the type of training required. Some requirements can easily be met through eLearning courses, e.g. B. Compliance training, sales training or leadership training, etc. Others, e.g. need a mixture of virtual and face-to-face training. Therefore, in order to better integrate learner needs into your training programs, it is important to understand the types of training required and the limitations associated with them.

Part 2: Processing the collected data

Once you understand and gather useful data about your learner’s needs and preferences, it is time to process and analyze that data so you can make data-driven decisions about integrating learner needs into your training program.

Here are some strategies to help you achieve this:

  • Creation of learner personas
    Learner personas, also called learner prototypes, are unique groups of learners who share similar learning goals, professional goals, and learning needs. Use the data collected to divide learners across the organization into a few (not too many!) Different groups, and then design your eLearning strategy to target each of those groups only.
  • Identify ways to motivate learners
    Two types of factors motivate learners: intrinsic and extrinsic. Some employees like to learn to do new things or to excel at what they are already doing (intrinsic motivators). Others need to learn in order to advance their careers or to get a promotion or raise (extrinsic motivators). With the data collected through interviews and surveys, you can determine the motivation of each individual employee so that you can better tailor your eLearning to these factors.
  • Identifying ways to connect learners to learning programs (create awareness / build WIIFM)
    Organizations may offer their employees a wealth of learning opportunities, but it is not always clear (to learners) which courses are best or why they should enroll. With the data you collect, you can help link employee learning needs with their intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Do this by alerting them to learning opportunities and helping them understand how the learning objectives align with their own career or L&D goals. On-demand training of learners becomes more effective when learners know how it will benefit them. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?
  • Mapping training delivery strategies to personas
    Learning personas (or learning profiles) are not homogeneous across the company. Use the data you’ve gathered on learning styles, preferences, and previous learning experiences to develop training delivery strategies that target each persona. For example, some learners are tech savvy and benefit from self-directed learning. Others may be tech shy and an instructor-led / virtual instructor-led (ILT / VILT) training strategy might work better.
  • Assignment of learning strategies to personas
    We have already seen that not every learner is the same and that learner personalities are not homogeneous. Therefore, it is important to use the learner need data that is compiled to map learning strategies to unique learner personalities. Some learners may prefer scenario-based learning while others learn better through story-based content. There will be personas who respond better to mobile learning and micro-learning strategies, while others will need gamification to learn effectively.

Part 3: Integrate learner needs into your training program

Now is the time to use your data analysis to incorporate learner needs into your training programs.

  • Factor for both the learning experience and the learning experience
    Effective learning must take into account the learner’s previous knowledge and experience. However, learning effectiveness also depends on what a learner wants to achieve from the training and how curriculum planners fulfill those desires through positive learning experiences. A mixed combination of both experiences helps to better integrate learners’ needs into L&D programs.
  • Design the learning journey
    Use your analysis of the data so that you do not concentrate on individual training events (a webinar, a course or a module), but on a career-long learning journey for each employee. Develop personalized learning pathways and support each learner’s journey through a mix of formal and informal learning events.
  • Make use of the learning and performance ecosystem
    There is an extensive performance ecosystem that helps L&D teams integrate learner needs into highly effective training programs. This includes drawing learner’s attention to learning opportunities, helping them understand what’s in for them, and using a range of immersive approaches to learning including virtual / augmented reality, social learning, gamification, and scenario-based scenario-based learning.

Learners need to be supported by performance support tools (PSTs) that enable needs-based and in-service learning while strengthening their skills through practice and feedback.

Farewell Thoughts

The only way to offer successful training is to tailor it to the needs of the learner. If learner needs are not built into the classroom, a training program is unlikely to achieve its training goals. Using the recommended three-part process helps in seamlessly capturing, processing and integrating learner needs, resulting in a highly effective training design and offering.

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