Why Learner Centric Training is Important
Posted October 7th, 2022
In any organisation, putting together a training program involves a number of complex considerations, many of which are unique to every individual business.
Decisions may involve considerations for what training topics are most important across an organisation, or for individual teams, for example.
Another consideration is how to source the training material – is creating content from scratch necessary in this instance? Can courses be purchased off the shelf? Do you need to collaborate with a training provider to create unique content?
This can make the concept of putting together an appropriate, and effective training program intimidating. Thus, it can be helpful to always bring it back to one simple question.
What do we want to change as a consequence of training?
The only way to build an effective training program is to consider where the organisation currently stands on every level, and where it needs to go… and the only way to move any business closer to its goals is to equip its people with the necessary tools and knowledge they need to develop and evolve in the right direction.
Considering what learners need to help them achieve personal and business goals is called learner-centric training. A training program which puts learners at the forefront is more likely to see a higher ROI.
It’s important to note that learner-centric training can be done regardless of the training format. Whether training is delivered face-to-face or online, a learner-centric approach is possible and can have a huge impact on information retention and engagement.
Why is a learner-centric approach useful?
A learner-centric approach views learners as active participants that will bring their own knowledge, past experiences, education, and ideas to their training intervention. This subsequently impacts how they take on board new information and learn.
When training is catered to your learners, they are more likely to successfully engage with it, whether that is subconscious or not. Active engagement is the key to true learning.
We all look for a sense of purpose in our jobs and feeling valued and connected to the training program can help motivate employees to recognise the desired outcomes and the need for certain training, thus promoting their enthusiasm and engagement.
It also reduces the chances of employees receiving training on something they do not need, or already know. This is not only a waste of investment, but it can promote employees’ disconnection from the organisation if they feel undervalued or patronised.
How can I put learners at the centre?
The most fundamental step in the process of considering learners is to try to understand them as individuals or groups, rather than cogs in a machine.
One of the biggest trends in the workplace in recent years has been a focus on employee mental health and well-being. A huge element of the discussion in this area involves ensuring employees know they are valued as individuals for the work that they do.
Consider your learners…
- Who are they?
- How do they function in the organisation?
- What is their experience with learning?
- What do they already know?
- What do they need to know to move forward?
If you are assessing an existing program, gather data and consider its successes and failures. What’s missing? What are the skills gaps in certain teams?
Consider the context…
It is not always possible to choose how training is delivered. The growth in remote and hybrid learning means in some businesses, all training is carried out online. This doesn’t mean that learning cannot be adapted to suit their needs though, and there are many alternatives available. Where possible, consider what the best option is for the specific learners you have just considered.
You can ask them directly how they prefer to be trained! Perhaps e-learning is ideal, or maybe a classroom (in-person or virtual) session might be more appropriate.
Different topics may also be suited to different approaches.
Ultimately, you want to design a course with the learner, context and outcomes in mind. Information gathered on these three aspects allows you to make decisions which are focused on the changes expected for the learner.
What are some learner-centric activities?
The following list is a little more straightforward than the above discussion, as it is not unique to any organisational context. If you are delivering training or creating your own e-learning course, the following activities help put learners and their experiences and preferences at the centre.
- Foster collaboration with group projects
- Allow learners to have input on content
- Utilise learner presentations
- Hold a debate
- Utilise gamification
- Pose scenarios
Off-the-shelf training and learner-centric training are not mutually exclusive, as some topics are delivered most effectively in a reliable and unchanging form. Ultimately, putting learners at the centre means considering them at all stages of the process, including subject matter, delivery method and ROI measurement.
Individual capital is increasingly recognised as a driving force for organisational success, and employers should be evaluating their existing and future training programs with this in mind.
A final note to consider is that upskilling can be hugely beneficial to employee engagement. Incorporating training opportunities that may not directly impact your business goals, but seek to develop your employee’s skillsets is crucial to employee satisfaction and retention in the modern workplace. Employees who feel valued and see opportunities for growth are more to stay with your organisation. Not only that, but employees with well-developed soft skills perform better in all aspects of their jobs, meaning they indirectly help move your business forward towards said goals.
Consider soft skills training in subjects around leadership and communication when considering how to put your learners at the centre of your training.
Trainer Bubble provides an extensive range of training resources in a variety of formats which can be explored here. Our range gives you a range of options regarding content and delivery method so you can select what is best for your learners.
We also offer a collaborative approach to help you meet the unique needs of your business. For more information, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.