How to Make the Most of the Learner Experience (LX)
The term Learner Experience has joined the list of buzzwords in the workplace skills, training and education sectors in the last few years.
But what exactly does it mean, and why is it so important that training providers get it right?
Here, we’ll cover:
- What is a Learner Experience?
- Why Does This Matter For Training Providers?
- What Are the Different Types of Learner Experiences?
- How is the Learning Experience Influenced by the Learning Environment?
- Developing a Successful Learning Program
What is a Learner Experience?
A Learner Experience, also sometimes referred to as Learning Experience, or LX, refers to the setting, context, interaction, and involvement, whether planned or unplanned, that a Learner will participate in that furthers their knowledge, skills, and insights during their course, training program, or other skill development undertaking.
In a nutshell, it is everything the “learner” experiences while learning.
Why Does This Matter For Training Providers?
It is important for training providers, like all businesses, to create a positive experience for their customers if they want to encourage repeat business.
Courses that are engaging and create a positive Learner Experience are much more likely to attract and retain Learners who are keen to continue learning.
Additionally, these Learners are more likely to do well in their courses and can become ambassadors for the training provider.
What Are the Different Types of Learner Experiences?
There are three main types of Learner Experiences: Individual, Group and Blended. We discuss these further here.
Individual Learner Experience
The Individual Learner Experience is one in which Learners engage with the learning content completely on their own. There is little to no interaction with other learners, and they may interact with the trainer on an as-needed basis
Perhaps the best example of Individual Learning is the distance learning model. Learners are responsible for their own time management and may progress through the learning content at their own pace.
Group Learner Experience
The Group Learner Experience has a far broader meaning and encompasses different models. The Group Learner Experience is one in which learners participate in a group, interacting with one another, the trainer and the material together.
This can include anything from the more traditional face-to-face learning environment, to workshops, seminars, webinars, conferences, etc.
Blended Learning Experience
The Blended Learning Experience incorporates elements of the Individual Learner Experience and the Group Learner Experience. It can take place in a face-to-face setting while using an online learning solution or may also take place mainly online but have a face-to-face component like workplace learning.
We discuss Blended Learning in greater detail here.
How is the Learner Experience Influenced By the Learning Environment?
In recent times, the Learning Environment has changed. It now includes not only face-to-face settings, but homes, workplaces, cafes, camper vans – basically, anywhere you have a laptop and a decent WiFi signal can become a Learning Environment.
While the concept of online, or distance learning is not new, the uptake in the last two years due to the physical distancing restrictions brought on by COVID-19 has brought this concept to the forefront.
Not only has online learning provided opportunities to those with no other option, but it has become the preferred option for many.
Of course, this does not take away from those who wish to pursue learning face-to-face. Many still do – and many still need to, at least in part, to fulfil their learning requirements.
Here, we discuss the different Learning Environments, and how each affects the Learner Experience.
Many think of face-to-face learning as the traditional way to learn. Learners gather in a classroom or other group setting where they can discuss, debate, collaborate and make connections with other learners that may not be possible in an online or distance learning setting.
The ability to make connections with other learners and trainers is probably the most beneficial aspect of face-to-face learning; and while some skills or areas of expertise don’t necessarily require this element of human contact, some most certainly do.
For example, learning to code, or getting HubSpot certified, requires no interaction with anyone. Compare that to studying a Childcare Certificate, and it begins to look much different.
Learners must be exposed and have access to a knowledgeable supervisor, the correct setting, and the opportunity to provide services to children in an On-the-Job Training environment. Without these learning experiences, the learner’s outcome would be less than satisfactory.
Before we dive into this Learning Environment, we thought it was important to differentiate between ‘Online Learning‘ and ‘Distance Learning‘, as many believe the terms are interchangeable.
Online Learning refers to different contexts: location and approach. It is commonly believed that if a Learner is learning online that they are remote; and while this is one possibility, it is also possible for the Learner to be face-to-face and using an online assessment and training solution.
Distance Learning refers to Learners who are learning exclusively online, without any face-to-face interaction.
Read more here.
Online Learners often report better outcomes than their face-to-face or blended learning counterparts, but Learner Satisfaction remains comparatively low.
This is partly due to online learners who have no face-to-face interaction feeling disconnected from their trainer and other learners and unengaged from learning content. Communication isn’t always easy and this can cause learners to lose momentum or even give up.
But there are a few things that can be done to help create a great Learner Experience for this group, including:
- Creating and maintaining clear channels for communication
- Embracing the “Flipped Classroom” approach
- Creating Self-Assessment opportunities
We discuss these strategies in greater detail here.
The advances in technology that have happened over the last few years in terms of online learning have made it much easier to create an inclusive and engaging online learning experience.
A combination of Face-to-Face and Online Learning, Blended Learning takes elements from both to achieve learning objectives.
Often referred to as ‘hybrid learning‘, the amount of each delivery method in a course can vary. However, Blended Learning must be thoughtfully and deliberately implemented. Technology should be integrated effectively to enhance the Learning Experience for Trainers and Learners.
Supporting Learners who are participating in Blended Learning can help them to make the most of their Learner Experience. Some ways this can be achieved are:
- Providing real time submission and feedback
- Creating easily consumable, engaging content
- Using learning materials that are portable and flexible
- Implementing an online solution that is easy to use, navigate and manage workload.
We discuss Blended Learning in greater detail here.
Also known as ‘learning by doing‘, experiential learning engages learners in the learning process by giving them direct opportunities to make decisions, show initiative, take accountability and reflect on their experiences.
The benefits of Experiential Learning are that learners are able to pick up or grasp new concepts quicker because they have experienced them firsthand. They also receive feedback and coaching while they are undertaking their tasks, and can apply this knowledge as they go.
Developing a Successful Learning Program
Creating a great learning journey for your learners doesn’t have to be an arduous task. There are steps you can take to engage learners in a meaningful learning experience that will enable them to get the most from their training and achieve their learning goals.
Find the Right Solution
An online solution that will allow you to incorporate all of the Learning Experiences and Learning Environments will put you miles ahead of the rest.
Cloud Assess offers ease of use, accessibility, ease of gathering evidence and has multiple methods of communication including posts and messaging.
To find out how Cloud Assess can help keep your Learners engaged and take your Learner Experience to the next level, click here.
Know Your Audience
Great Learner Experiences start with identifying a learner’s needs, and then exceeding them.
For example, if you are training members of staff in first aid, it’s likely that they’ll want to complete the training in a day or two while focusing on the key elements that are relevant to their workplace.
On the other hand, training or up-skilling staff members on specific aspects of their job, graphic design as an example, will likely require less intense training over a longer period of time.
Being able to identify the type of learning experience your learners are looking for will go a long way toward creating and delivering training in the right context.
Create Engaging Content
Gone are the days of boring assessments and training.
Videos, podcasts, presentations, etc, can all be made available to learners online. You can also embed media right into assessments that enables learners to access important sources of information when they need it.
We discuss this in greater detail here.
Every journey starts with a step and life is about the journey, not just the destination.
So too is learning. While your learners are seeking out an end goal, a great Learner Experience goes a long way toward making the process memorable and enjoyable and having them be more likely to come back when additional learning is needed.
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