Experience Required

Experience Required

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Apparently, with the refocusing of the world’s concentration from how humans interact with other humans to how humans interact with technology, technology may have finally become king. However, amid our pledging allegiance to technology companies, there is hope: we have begun to remember that human interaction has value.

Today’s technology seeks to learn the user’s every preference to create the “perfect” user experience. With this becoming the normal expectation, society has begun to adopt the belief that everything we do should be tailored to us…and well, if we are all unique creatures, shouldn’t it to some degree?

This tailored effect has created a world where humans and machines are becoming merged. Case in point, we may open our cell phone using our fingerprint. Siri adapts to our accent. We wear a fitness tracker on our wrists that knows when we take a step or become “active.” Every device we own is “synched.” A grocery store app gives us meal ideas based on our past purchase history and will even create a weekly list using the same data, saving time. Whether you believe technology is a gift or a curse, you must admit that its intuitive nature has its benefits.

What the brains behind these technological advances are banking on is the more you can replicate human interaction, the better. Machines are not currently capable of paying attention to human details such as facial expressions, body gestures, or eye contact but they can store and analyze our every interaction with them. Thus developing a unique understanding of what we need from them and why. Armed with this data, companies can virtually meet our every need and profit greatly from it.

Now consider if we took a similar approach when designing training programs. Earlier this year Caroline Da Silva wrote:

"Forward thinking organizations realize that to retain their key employees, they not only have to re-think how employees can best be developed, but also how to deliver the learning tools these employees will need to stay current."

Delivery determines outcome. This may not always be true, but it is true enough to take notice. Focusing on the learner experience is less about building modules and more about curating the learning experience (Da Silva 2016).

In Torcivia & Kilgore’s 2016 article, they observe, “Human interactions within a course allow for critical reflection and deeper comprehension.” This means that as your employees digest the information being given, they need to have authentic learning opportunities that mirror real-life human connections.  “…learning opportunities are among the strongest drivers of employee engagement and strong workplace culture” (Da Silva 2016). Plainly put, humans learn through personal relationships or connections. “Social interaction plays a fundamental role in cognition, especially in online mediums.”

And this is why Edvance360 exists! Over a decade ago, we recognized the impact of social networking on learning, long before the terms “social learning” were used. We built tools to offer these learning opportunities and build relationships that facilitate learning, whether online or off.

We believe learning happens through personal relationship because learning through the medium of someone’s life is easy to relate to. By designing a training program that identifies how the learner will use this information on the job and then cultivates relationships amongst colleagues centered on reflecting, engaging, and sharing this information, the learner’s experience allows true learning to take place.

So how can you incorporate this into your online training program? By focusing on the learner’s experience. Experiences are about HOW you interact emotionally with something. Does it make you feel good or bad? Accomplished or lacking? Confident or confused? Often when training programs are failing the learner’s experience is not relatable.

The Edvance360 LMS-SN platform offers a variety of social networking and communication tools that allow training facilitators to design these humanized online learning experiences. Wikis enable learners to debate and then commit to a solution, which is far closer to real life than just discussing a topic with no resolution. Communities allow learners to interact with those of similar interest, background, future, etc. Blogs allow them to share their thoughts. Third-party vendors serve up 3D gaming to enable learners to interact with a scenario. To learn more, contact Cathy Garland at cathy.garland@edvance360.com.

References:

Torcivia, Patrice & Kilgore, Whitney What Faculty Need to Know About ‘Learner Experience Design’ Nov. 10, 2016

Da Silva, Caroline What You Need to Know About Learning Experience Design Sept. 14, 2016