Modern learners: It's not just millennials that matter
The dynamics and demographics of the workplace are rapidly changing. By 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce. Having grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media, the millennial’s world is digital. It is not surprising that these individuals expect technologies to empower their personal lives and their learning in the workplace. This said, older generations will embrace modern L&D approaches. Being adaptable and worked throughout the changes in technology, baby boomers will embrace better working processes.
Meet the Modern learner: overwhelmed, distracted and impatient
Learners are now overwhelmed, distracted and impatient. With email, texts, websites, apps and video clips all competing for attention, employees feel swamped and cannot dedicate time to formal learning conventions. However, rapid changes in business means workers want and need to be constantly learning – 69% of employees want to be able to do their job better or faster . Your LMS needs to support personal development and proactive learning to keep up with millennial learners’ expectations and to reflect your modern business.
Flexibility in where and how people learn has become increasingly important particularly with the rise of remote-working – 61% of staff like to be able to learn on-the-go  which reflects this. The modern learner is thirsty to learn from his or her peers and managers as much as from experts, with 86% finding it essential or very useful to work in collaboration with other team members  – this is related to the rise in social media, with information and feedback made instantly available.
Millennials expect information to be available at their fingertips – if your LMS does not support mobile learning then it is time to reconsider your options.
More than anything, however, modern learners do not want to be restrained by ‘how things used to be done’. L&D professionals are under intense pressure to embrace these challenges and evolve their approach to learning to meet the demands of today’s modern learner.
Why does learning need to change?
Given that 72% of employees have a clear personal plan about what they want to learn and why , organisational learning success depends more than ever on L&D’s ability to provide the right training and engage learners. Modern learning is essentially about making it intuitive for learners to access high-impact, bite-sized learning at the point of need.
Tactics that will help you to modernise your learning include:1. Enable on-demand learning
Thanks to brands like Uber and Deliveroo, people are getting used to having everything on demand via mobile apps. From taxis to food, there are thousands of apps available to get what we want, when we need it. Why should learning be any different? Whilst the concept of learning on-demand is not new, technologies and systems are now available to wholly support it. Convenience has made mobile devices the go-to channels for information in our daily lives, which leads to a flexible way to enable training on demand.2. Make it mini
Microlearning – the use of micro-sized chunks of learning that can be easily processed and accommodated into busy schedules – is going to continue to grow in popularity due to the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of the multi-tasking generation in the workplace.
Creative L&D professionals are exploring the power of short bursts of video which was set to become the primary microlearning format in 2017, particularly given that four minutes is the maximum time a millennial learner will spend watching a video. In fact, content only has between 5 and 10 seconds to grab the attention of the millennial learner before they click away . However, if your LMS does not support a slick user experience you will not see the engagement levels that are expected of microlearning.3. Make it personal
Learning needs to be personalised to your organisation’s needs. If you can break learning down into smaller self-contained chunks and organise it with your learners’ experience in consideration, you’ll make it easier for employees to create their own personalised learning pathway. 91% of employees like to be able to learn at their own pace – don’t underestimate them though, as they are generally resourceful and more than capable of searching for themselves . Your aim should be for your LMS to be their first port of call.
Learners want content that matches their personal needs, learning speed, preferred learning style and, most importantly, their learning pathway. Look for features in your prospective LMS that can provide recommendations and wish lists to ensure that your learner gets the level of personalisation they now expect.4. Embrace social and collaborative learning
Learners are keener than ever to share what they know and to learn from others. With more people working remotely and younger generations having grown up using social media, social learning has become more attractive than ever to exchange ideas and information and get questions answered by experts. Indeed, 63% of employees know how to build a personal network to help them learn  so make the most of this by encouraging the sharing of information.
61% of learners are motivated to learn online by using technologies that enable them to network and work with others . A smooth LMS system will be able to integrate tools such as Yammer to encourage social sharing of information. One in two learners rank collaboration in their top three factors necessary to a smooth and successful online learning experience , so integration with a professional social networking system such as Yammer will enhance their learning experience.
Don’t dismiss the MODERN LEARNING REQUIREMENTS!
A modern approach to learning can boost engagement, improve performance and drive business success. The L&D function has a key role to play in enabling change including embracing new ways of learning for oneself. Failing to support the new order of learning that is on-demand, collaborative and empowered will inevitably result in more and more workers looking for their own learning outside of the organisation, making in-house L&D teams’ efforts void.
 Meet the Modern Learner: Bersin by Deloitte, 2016