Are you a modern learner? The ever-quickening pace of change is a trending theme in today’s world. Do you have what it takes to stay competitive? Are you making sure you are learning at the right pace–using the best methods and tools available?
By LIM KWAN-LYN
Do you know what modern learning is?
Learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge and skills. Applying it to the context of today’s world and how we learn, we can look at it in three parts:
1. Our way of life—whether it’s what we see through a Facebook share or a discussion over lunch.
2. The technology we use—for example, having information just a tap away on your tablet or mobile phone.
3. The norms of society.
In Malaysia, whilst many people still highly value qualifications and formal courses, we are starting to see soft skills becoming more recognised and desirable amongst employers.
All these facets play a part in forming the learner—each and every one of us has the potential to be.
However, the modern learner is very different when compared to a learner—a decade or two ago.
Referring to the original question, modern learning is simply learning that takes into account modern realities. In other words, how modern learners, learn.
What does a typical modern learner look like?
As everyone is different, every modern learner is unique. Think about your own group of colleagues. There is a high chance that all of you come from different cultural and educational backgrounds.
A recent study by Deloitte—Meet the Modern Learner—summed up employees of today as people who are “overwhelmed, distracted and impatient. Flexibility, in where and how they learn, is becoming increasingly important. They want to learn from their peers and managers just as much as from experts. And they’re taking more control over their own development.”
The fast pace of change today means employees need to be constantly learning. More and more people look for options on their own because they aren’t getting what they need from their employers.
So, what are some approaches of modern learning? Chances are, you are already engaged in some of them!
#1 Searching online
Turning to the World Wide Web is fast becoming the go-to guru for learning. Take learning how to use a function on Microsoft Excel as an example. One can easily turn to Google to search “how to create a table in Excel” and find a selection of results—from support websites to forums, as well as step-by-step videos.
Learners have answers right at their fingertips and can even ask for help from a community of online users for a more specific answer.
When it comes to researching a topic, searching online is another great place to start as almost any subject can be found online. Not just limited to online content, learners will be able to find an indication of different sources and their availability, such as books, scholarly articles, and contact details of subject-matter experts.
#2 Social media
When technology and human interaction collide, the result is one very powerful tool. A global report by Global Web Index in 2015 revealed that the average person spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes on the Internet per day, making up 28% of the total time spent online.
Users can discuss topics and share ideas with other like-minded people all over the globe, thereby providing a learning platform that is diverse, rich and easily accessible. The opportunities for learning from others are endless, as barriers created by geographic location, gender and social class are broken down.
Groups can be created within organisations to allow a space for collaboration. Silos dissipate and transparency increases, as users are able to have better visibility of what is going on within the organisation and discover ways they can become synergistic.
With the restrictions we have these days due to hectic lifestyles, long hours at work and many commitments outside of work, it is great to have an opportunity to take a course and learn something in a convenient way.
E-learning courses are usually made up of a series of materials that have already been compiled, curated and structured for you. Typically, it comes in the form of write-ups, videos, and/or interactive elements. The choices are ample as there are many providers out there, allowing you to find one that suits you best.
#4 Game-based learning
Imagine this: You arrive at a learning session, only to be split into teams of six. Not knowing what lies before you, you and your team are led through the dark into a room, only to be told a story of crime and mystery, and left to solve a series of puzzles in order to escape. Equipped with only fifty minutes, you cringe as the clock counts down, hoping that you will have enough time to complete what is required.
Through the use of gaming elements, such as scoring points, levelling up and role playing, learners are motivated to achieve the objectives set out for them, which then contributes toward their learning journey of particular topics, themes and skills.
There are a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to modern learning. One of the most important myths that needs to be brought to light is the notion that “people don’t learn as much through online education.”
Another common myth is that employees dislike e-learning because it is boring and you lose the human touch you get from classroom teaching.
The truth is, employees dislike bad e-learning. If a content is developed without the learner in mind, then it can be considered boring.
However, content that is tailored to the learners’ needs, and provides valuable and relevant information, has proven to receive positive reactions.
At the end of the day, learning is personal and it’s up to you to take control of your own learning.
Keeping yourself up-to-date with the latest learning tools will help empower you to ensure you are making the most of the time you invest into learning.
In the Digital Learning team, Kwan-Lyn designs courses that help people in their leadership journey and professional development. To find out more about Digital Learning offered by Leaderonomics, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Thought of the Week articles, click here.
Kwan-Lyn is part of the Digital Learning team at Leaderonomics. She loves helping people connect the dots, be it in the business world, or by empowering others.