People Still Want to Learn from Others

We all love our devices and the always on nature of the Internet and apps, but experts agree: we need social interaction when we need to learn.

A recent interview with L&D experts, published in Chief Learning Officer magazine, found that employees prefer to learn by observing, reaching out, and interacting with others.

“That social layer is critical to learning because we don’t learn sitting behind a desk and not talking to or watching anyone. We want to model,” cites one of the experts in the article.

Indeed, the opportunity to interact with another individual live in a synchronous manner is often missing from today’s daily interactions. Simply watching a video tutorial, screencast, or audio lesson doesn’t suffice on its own; we need continuous engagement — we need community.

But watch and learn — with Q&A along the way — can’t always work. Employees are often distributed and remote, and the amount of effort to train a single employee can be very high and prohibitive to replicate at scale.

The CLO article went on to discuss another fallacy in employee learning programs: they don’t incorporate learning into the daily workflow. Nowadays, employees prefer to ‘snack’ on shorter-form content, rather than spend hours — or even days — sitting in a formal training. Best-in-class companies create an always-on learning environment, in which there is continuous learning that is not perceived as a painful, inconvenient disruption to their daily jobs but rather a key component of workplace culture.

However, change may come slowly — or in parts — for most organizations. The CLO article advised that companies should not try to incorporate all of these changes in their learning management systems at once.

The idea is to foster a learning community that blends offline, online, synchronous, asynchronous, long-form, and short-form together, to create choices for departments, managers, and employers that can deliver the best training in the best format at the best time.

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People Still Want to Learn from Others