Learning is the pillar of the new talent economy. And an ongoing conversation in the C-suite. When well-executed, it not only educates and informs, it unifies the workforce, inspires effort, builds loyalty, and prevents the burn-out and churn that is culminating in “the Great Resignation” movement and inciting crazy talent wars.
But as large global enterprises invest millions – even billions – in “future-proofing” their employees, arming them with new skills needed for the new world of work, we continue to see evidence of an elephant in the training room.
And that elephant is the status quo, responsible for cranking out learning-as-usual, using Learning Management Systems with clunky user interfaces, and a lot of expensive learning content that doesn’t always generate enthusiasm. Too often there is the lack of an engaging, holistic experience for the audience on the journey to knowledge consumption. The result? Fewer people engage voluntarily, many don’t know it’s available to them---or they just forget it exists. We hear a lot of reasons why that’s the case: budget of course, lack of time, fear of change, inconclusive metrics, etc.
But the truth is, these people in the work force who need and want to learn are the very same people who are every-day consumers of some pretty spectacular digital content. Brands all over the world have figured out that with everyone at home, glued to their screens, blasted by incessant noise and requests for their attention, they have had to raise the bar to get noticed; expectations have risen; ignore it and risk losing people’s attention; and a competitive advantage.
By embracing a more modern, engaging, holistic approach, you’ll create followers that want MORE from you, not less.
Because people need relevant reasons to take action. We only really notice advertising that’s clever and compelling; we only remember stories that tug on our heartstrings; and we are moved by poignant words and compelling visuals that connect and are hard to shake from our minds.
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Think of your new program as a “must-watch” new show on HBOMax. Conceive of a humble but clever comms and sneak-peek campaign that creates excitement, initiates the Learning journey and unveils the program name and “brand.” By letting the audience know something is being created for their benefit, they can look forward to the program, become familiar with what to expect, know who is behind it and why, and maybe share a little word-of-mouth among their peers. Let them know when it will be available and why this is going to be great. Make it a “can’t wait!,” versus issuing a mandate that they have yet another thing they have to do.
Learning professionals could benefit from taking a cue from those ubiquitous marketing campaigns that are vying for our attention. A campaign typically begins with the creator’s thorough understanding of where the audience is at and meeting them there. Which requires starting with empathy and putting yourself in their shoes. It could also mean sharing a narrative that explains the “why?” this learning is vital to the organization’s vision and to the individual’s growth and success. Understanding the purpose creates a sensation of inclusiveness and relevance that dials the audience into the experience. Then, identify the brand system and elements that will guide the creative direction for your program. Is it simply based on corporate guidelines? Or should a customized group of visual elements be created that is unique to the program’s objective, and helps to better represent the content?
Clarifying the brand will enable consistency and cohesiveness in content design execution and voice.
We think of the person doing the learning as a customer, so we want to create a customer experience that leaves them feeling --- “I am connected to this experience and I see how this is going to help me be more successful at work.”
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Remember how spoiled our audience has become from consuming well-designed apps and websites from Lyft to Apple+. It doesn’t take that much more of an effort to do something nice and intentional versus using the same ol’ same ol’ LMS. A branded sense of arrival enables our audience to continue the journey and land at what is next, know exactly where they are, and want to engage. But if the interface looks like it’s from the early 2000’s and navigates similarly, we’re probably going to frustrate and lose the audience before they even begin to investigate what it is that they’re being offered. Just like with any website, thinking through the UI/UX is just as important as the learning assets themselves, or people will move on. Ask a simple question: are they going to be delighted to land at the site and understand immediately and intuitively how to navigate an enticing learning experience that has their best interests in mind?
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Investing in creating modern, engaging design and writing ensures that your audience will follow through and come in contact with the actual learning assets that you’ve created. As you are creating assets, ask yourself a few guiding questions:
These are all principles that @Andrew Huberman talks about in his amazing podcast, Huberman Lab.)
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"If you nail all four, regardless of whether people are in a virtual or in-person setting, then the learning will stick.”
VP of Learning & Development, LinkedIn in San Jose, California
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At Oxygen, we’re creating end-to-end Learning experiences so that people embrace knowledge, gain the skills they need to thrive and understand and are mired in the new strategic narrative – the why – which is central to their motivation and success. We work in response to the fact that people are rejecting cumbersome learning exercises---and technology dinosaurs that ignore user experience in the age of prolific digital delivery. People need compelling information, when they need it, and in a way that is easy to consume, act on and keep moving.