We argue: In our time, continuous learning is vital if you want to stay in the game

In a fast-changing world, successful companies are the ones that are ready to invest in the continuous learning of their employees, the companies that provide possibilities for their employees to learn new skills and change their work methods and thinking constantly. But how do you get the biggest asset of a company, the staff, on the bandwagon of never-ending change?

A company changes when the mindset changes

Many are already tired of hearing about the so-called megatrends of our time, such as digitalization and climate change. Their effects for businesses, however, can’t be ignored – not to speak of the future changes we can’t even predict yet. All organizations must adapt at the very least, but the best ones drive the change themselves.

It’s no small feat.

It requires accelerating the employees’ capacity for change and creativity. Every employee should be encouraged to challenge their routines, use new tools and create new things. It’s a matter of embracing constant change rather than a project that has a start and an end date. A matter of being open to change and using what you have learned to create new solutions, services and concepts.

Investing in continuous learning is at the core of all of this. The learning process and the technical tools used can be as unique as the company itself, but certain basic principles still remain.

Here are some tips for creating quality learning content and concepts that make the learning experience inspiring and information easy to adopt:

How to get busy adults to learn – 5 tips

  1. The road to continuous learning starts with understanding your target audience.

The target audience usually consists of busy adults who want to know what they get from the time they invest in learning. A thorough target audience analysis helps to create content and prioritize – what motivates and interests the audience? To start the project off, stop to think about the big picture: what kind of a story are you telling and what kind of change do you want to bring about? The future is never certain, but the change always needs to have clear goals.

  1. What motivates employees?

Not too many employees are motivated by executive speeches coming from the top down. People are best motivated by concrete goals and high-quality content. Adult learners want to understand how the topic at hand, the new phenomena they are learning about, affects their work description on a concrete level. They want to hear, see and experience information in a clear-cut and, preferably, entertaining format. You also have to keep in mind the different reasons for learning. Is learning rewarded? Is there a financial gain? Does learning benefit work exclusively, or are there applications outside work?

Gamification is a potent way to motivate both adults and children. At Paper Planes, in one of our customer projects, we have been developing an online learning environment that has utilized gamification with great results. Rewarding learners with points visible to all users when they go through the learning content and material is a good example of gamification.

  1. Create a consistent concept.

When the target audience and project goals are clear, the next step is to create a concept for the learning materials. A concept guarantees that the content is consistent and coherent and takes the learners logically towards a goal. A unified form and repetition build trust and make it easier for the learner to concentrate on learning rather than trying to adapt to new concepts all the time. Microlearning, for example, is a popular and tried-and-tested approach that splits large subject matters into smaller, snack-size learning portions.

What is a concept, really? Read the blog by our Content Strategist Jaakko.

  1. Pick the right format for your audience.

Text-based guides, PDFs, quizzes, home assignments, videos, podcasts, learning face-to-face or interactive videos? What kind of learning content is effective for adult audiences and drives change? In addition to learning goals and the target audience’s motivators, budget and resources also play a role when picking the format. Here are some rules of thumb for choosing a format:

  • Quality almost always beats quantity.
  • Versatile content provides material for different types of learners.
  • Activating the learners also activates the long-term memory.
  1. Be ready to update content.

The concept is your guideline for content planning and production. It doesn’t, however, mean that you shouldn’t keep refining your content. This can be done through qualitative and quantitative data. At the very beginning of the project, think about what kind of analytics and monitoring you need to track the learning outcomes. Statistics on, for example, reading time and video plays or employee surveys and interviews help steer the project in the right direction.

You should update learning content with at least two aspects in mind:

  • User feedback. Regular, also anonymous, user feedback is valuable when looking into how the learning content works.
  • The world changes and so do the things you should teach. This is also the basis for continuous learning. The content must evolve, so keep up and keep the content up to date.

Is your company ready for change? Would microlearning content motivate your organization and employees to learn new things and challenge routines? Contact Susanna and we’ll create a tailor-made learning concept for you.