How to recognise learning moments
What modern learning looks like
• Technology has changed our expectations
• Apps are altering the way we consume content
• Organisational learning is becoming less formal
• Gen-Z are well established in our workplaces
• The future starts here
Your new learning playbook
• Teaching employees how to learn at work
• Recognising learning moments
• Resources not courses
• Tech that works for you
What modern learning looks like
🖥️ Technology has changed our expectation
With a phone in our hands and Google at our disposal, we now have the ability to find answers to questions in a few clicks. Our friend  Google processes more than a whopping 3.5 billion searches per day worldwide.
Granted, the idea of a search engine is nothing new, we’ve been finding information in this way since the early noughties. But what has changed is the accessibility and ease with which we can find and consume what we need. There are now  4.32bn mobile internet users worldwide and it’s predicted that 5G networks - which could eventually offer download speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second -  will have more than 1.7 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025.
Many organisations are acknowledging (thanks, in part, to the pandemic) that their tech has some catching up to do before it reaches anything close to our everyday experiences. There’s a danger that we won’t stay relevant and connected to our employees (especially the younger ones) if we don’t keep up. This is what service designers refer to as our outlier expectations - things that we come to expect based on an experience (usually better!) that we’ve had in another context. Perhaps this explains why digital transformation is hot right now,  with 70% of companies either having or working on a strategy for it.
In the context of L&D specifically, our exposure to intuitive tech has confirmed that something is amiss with our learning tech stack. Traditional learning tools - like LMSs - have not been developed with a user-centred mindset and as a result, are focused more on the administrator or manager than the end- user.
Changing our tech changes the way our people work, learn and connect. And for many forward-thinking L&D teams the focus is shifting from simply providing learning, to giving people the right tech to communicate with their colleagues, stay connected to the business and find what they need when they need it.
1 - Internetlivestats, 2019
2 - Statista Research Department, 2021 3 - GSM Association
4 - Forbes, 2019
📱 Apps are altering the way we consume content
Think about the ways you learn through choice. Your everyday ‘learning moments’. Most of the online content I consume comes from articles or blogs I’ve seen on my LinkedIn or Instagram feed or recommendations from people in those networks, or notifications on my news apps.
Most of these apps are using AI and machine learning to personalise content, so the more I use them, the more intelligent the recommendations become.
There’s an awful lot of digital content being consumed all the time, and it’s all happening little and often.
And this is different to the stuff I’m actively seeking out. I didn’t go on the hunt for an article on why senior leaders should keep a journal, but thanks to HBR I was exposed to it on my social media feed, I read it and I found it super insightful.
This reality is changing the way we think about our personal growth.
📂 Organisational learning is becoming less formal
The impacts of technology and social media on our learning habits are finally starting to seep into our workplaces. Organisations are recognising that formal learning experiences aren’t aligned with our modern behaviours. We don’t always need to make time for learning - although that may well form a part of our learning in a broader context, it’s not necessary for learning to occur.
Our learning experiences are not linear, planned events. They are often just everyday microlearning moments that occur within the flow of our work, personal and social habits - like my HBR article consumption.
There’s also evidence to show that our development at work is becoming more about personal growth and social learning experiences than formal courses or qualifications.
Online learning trends are showing a preference for content on practical skills like creativity, collaboration, emotional intelligence and new technologies or methods. This signifies a move away from knowledge-based learning, like awareness of laws and regulations or competency frameworks. A glance over the top ten skills global L&D pros cited as being most important to them this year affirms this.
What this reinforces, is a trend we’ve been detecting amongst our clients for the past 18 months (and again, the pandemic has helped with this). A move towards seeing our employees more holistically, as human beings that want to learn and not just employees that need training.
We want to help our employees to become better, more skilled people, in a way that’s personal to them - not just dish out training from a checklist according to bums in seats. We’re becoming more user-centred in our L&D approach, which explains why we’re making better use of tools like surveys and discovery sessions, with LinkedIn Learning reporting that 43% of L&D pros in the UK use employee survey scores to measure the impact of learning.
🌟 Gen-Z are well established in our workplaces
Our future workforce are different. They really value learning.  When the pandemic hit, Gen-Z flocked to learning resources and continued to learn at higher levels throughout the year — more than any other age group.
• 76% of Gen-Z learners believe learning is the key to a successful career.
• They’ll spend time learning if it can help them perform well in their current jobs (69%), build the skills needed to work in a different function (47%), or find new roles internally.
This mirrors and possibly explains the trend within our workplaces towards learning practical, applicable skills instead of a drive to meet abstract career goals or trajectories.
Gen-Z’s desire to be good at their jobs can also help us explain why internal mobility is becoming such a priority for L&D teams.  With 51% of L&D professionals saying that internal mobility is more of a priority now than before COVID-19.
This is no surprise, when:
• employees who move into new jobs internally are 3.5x more likely to be engaged employees than those who stay in their current jobs.
• employees at companies with internal mobility stay almost 2x longer.
• there’s an economic case for reskilling or upskilling too, with  data showing that it can cost us 20% more to hire new people than invest in our existing teams.
What we also know of Gen-Z in 2021, is that  73% want to learn about a topic they are personally interested in. So there’s a case here for L&D teams to have their finger on the pulse of their people’s habits and what’s important for them right now.
1 - Internetlivestats, 2019
4 - McKinsey & Company, 2020
🚀 The future starts here
It’s time to evolve your strategy, to move towards a new approach to organisational learning and development. But creating more work for L&D teams is not part of the agenda. Instead, it’s about doing more with less. With a few subtle shifts in mindset, you can begin to create an always-on learning culture. We’ve captured our tips on how to do so in this handy guide.
Your new learning playbook
Enabling people to own their learning experiences. An emphasis on discovery instead of fixed learner journeys.
Co-created & social
Learners as teachers. Encouraging employees to learn from each other by trusting them to create content, share experiences and access links and resources from a variety of online sources.
Micro & searchable
Simpler, more familiar formats like articles, videos, animations and succinct mobile-friendly courses, which are easily searchable at the point of need.
Content for happier, more well-rounded employees. Looking out for employees’ wellbeing and mental health, caring about the same causes or engaging them with topical content to reinforce learning as a habit.
Any time, anywhere
Clunky interfaces and layers of login and permissions are out. Accessing content seamlessly from any device is a new normal we can all get on board with.
🍎 Teaching employees how to learn at work
If you’re trying to transform your learning culture, here are some ways to take your people along with you…
Recognise learning moments
Help them to recognise and perpetuate ‘learning moments’. Asking questions, commenting on a piece of content, tagging someone in an article on LinkedIn, recommending reading to colleagues - these are all valuable ways we learn and grow from each other every day and should be celebrated and encouraged.
Making time for learning
Change their mindset when it comes to ‘making time to learn’. In healthy learning cultures, learning is always on. Little and often is much more realistic for many than blocking out time in their calendar for personal development. Make it easy for people to find what they want and engage them with visible, relevant content at convenient times and learning will quickly become woven into their everyday working lives.
Normalising knowledge sharing
Create a culture of transparency. One of the biggest blockers to social learning is information never making it out of people’s heads. Normalise sharing information, updates, ideas and storytelling, and your people will start to feel like it’s safe to do so.
Role-model these new ways of learning. It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to become disconnected from our learners. Lead the way when it comes to interacting with content, sharing information and connecting with colleagues. You could even nominate learning champions to do the same within specific teams.
📚 Resources not courses
True microlearning is one way we can encourage these small but regular learning moments in the flow of work. THRIVE’s microlearning catalogue is built on these principles...
All learning resources are built with the learner front and centre. What do they need to know? Why should they care? What’s in it for them? This helps make our resources feel more relevant which naturally encourages engagement.
Micro by design
Short resources can be consumed more easily in the flow of work. The best microlearning is micro by design - content that’s condensed, stripped of fluff and includes only practical information someone can put into practice right away.
Discrete in nature
All learning resources are standalone and don’t overlap with others. Instead of hiding information away in one long course, we build our resources into pathways - discrete topics, easily searchable, available at the point of need.
THRIVE’s microlearning philosophy embraces the idea of resources not courses. Our content comes in a range of formats to suit different topics - from five minute microlearning modules to short videos, animations, PDFs, and infographics, all crafted to make information easily accessible for just- in-time learning.
💻 Tech that works for you
Enablement is at the heart of any self-directed and social learning culture. Allowing your people to learn in their way and from each other is a great way to reduce the burden on your L&D team. And THRIVE offers the following features to help with that.
Discovery & exploration
Our platform is designed to support self-directed learning, with a user experience focused on pushing out relevant content and a user interface that makes it easy to find. Our next gen homepage components manage your essential learning and drive you to recommended and popular content in personalised feeds, whilst our ‘Discovery’ section makes it easy to organise and locate content via tags. All of this is supported by intelligent searching, to help you find exactly what you want at the point of need.
Lightening the load
Not only is it super intuitive for your learners to create and upload content, but THRIVE also provides a seamless integration with auto-curation tools like Anders Pink, getAbstract and LinkedIn learning; as well as a browser extension to short-cut the sharing of content from the web.
Using tagging, machine learning and personalisation, THRIVE provides each learner with a unique and relevant learning experience informed by their interests and habits. This means your employees can take control of their personal development, learn in the flow of work and at their own pace.
Data and learning habits
THRIVE has all of the compliance requirements of an LMS but also offers detailed insights into how people are learning in your organisation. Our analytics tools and dashboard make it easy to identify search trends and capture behavioural data to help you understand learners’ habits.
Your comms & culture tool
THRIVE broadens the scope of a learning platform with comms and culture tools like our live stream broadcast feature, one-click mobile uploads, events functionality and integrations with other comms channels like Microsoft Teams and Slack.
Automated learning campaigns make it easy to schedule that topical, timely content that helps you to engage your learners and meet their holistic needs.