From A Learner To A Customer

Last time when you were exploring an option to learn something new, what did you do?

  • Googled the topic of interest
  • Bought a kindle book
  • Looked up a quick video on YouTube
  • Subscribed to MOOCs
  • Spoke to an expert in your network

Oh and I forgot…

  • Searched through your company’s learning management system..did you? Really?

The point is, modern learners have a wide variety of choices and fortunately they are no longer handcuffed to the excruciatingly painful, “Click next to continue” or “Let’s start with an icebreaker” that corporate learners have experienced in the past.

With so much variety, learners (or as I call them: our customers) have a choice and they are looking for a curated learning experience that satisfies their unique learning needs, factors in their learning preferences, and is accessible when they want to learn. Unfortunately, most learning professionals have either lost focus on what the customer wants, or see “the customer” as the person or department asking for a course to be built, and not the end learner who is actually going to consume the content. And for those who disagree, I’d argue that if we’re doing a good job at creating what our customers want, then why do they still rely on Google or curate their own learning to address their own needs, even when it’s already addressed by L&D that exists in their environment.

Ever since the military first used a systematic approach to training in 1930’s, corporate learning has been creating more processes around structure, sequence, and presentation of information. This worked well in the 1930’s and helped us build cookie-cutter solutions with great efficiency. The world we live in today, needs a much different approach.

Organizations are starting to shift their mindset towards creating the kind of connected, personalized learning for the workplace that we all experience in our personal lives. The organizational expectation of “perfect your skill and I will teach you how” is certainly changing. Organizations realize that the skills needed to achieve business results are changing, evolving, and emerging at a very rapid pace. The cookie-cutter approach to addressing the skill gap is not working today and will certainly not work in the future. The ownership of developing skills is now in the hands of the learner and they are one choosy bunch! And let’s not forget, technology has a big role to play in feeding their choice.

It’s time that learning professionals look beyond the realm of instructional design models – ADDIE, Merrill’s Principles of Instruction (MPI), Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, Bloom’s Taxonomy – and look to user experience and design thinking when curating a personalized experience for the learner, with technology as their ally.

The next generation of learning will start with UX and design thinking to figure out what the customer really wants and will make the most of modern technology to deliver a truly personalized learning experience. With self-directed and learner-driven content – learners, and companies, will benefit from an experience that delivers the right content, at the right time, using the right medium.

This piece was originally published by Shveta on LinkedIn.

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Shveta Malhan

Shveta is passionate about technology in learning and is always researching and testing new ways to create meaningful learning experiences that leverage technology to enhance the learning experience.


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