We talked in a previous article about the importance of a learner-centered approach across all forms of education, from formal learning in schools and universities to training programs at the level of organizations.
According to an academic article on this topic, “without attention to the way people learn, what motivates individual learners to engage in higher education goals, and how individuals differ in ways they prefer to learn, traditional universities may be left behind in the digital revolution.” And, in our opinion, this is also applicable to organizations and their learning and development programs, i.e. if trainees do not receive access to learning programs that are actually centered around their needs, and their knowledge and skills gaps, their level of engagement as well as the level of knowledge retention will fall behind expectations.
A learner-centered approach sounds explanatory in itself, i.e. it should focus on the learners and their needs. However, we’ll list a few aspects to have in mind when checking whether or not your training program can be considered a learner-centered approach.
Does your training program meet the needs of your learners or are they universal learning programs that should meet everyone needs? That’s pretty impossible. That’s why we recommend testing trainees’ level of knowledge and skills before registering them to a specific training program to see if it fills their skills gaps or not. You can do that with a pre-assessment questionnaire, which engages the learner from the very beginning, leading to the expected learner-centered approach.
The modern trainees want to know how specific learning activities meet their individual needs and one way to give them this opportunity is through self-reflective learning checks. There are also group activities you can use for this purpose, for example you can split participants into small groups and ask them to think about the peak experience they had in terms of a training program, asking all of them to think about what aspects of that learning experience made it successful.
Then, they can share it with both their colleagues and the learning and development team, giving everyone a glimpse of what a good training program means for every learner. Undoubtedly, you cannot plan a training program that checks absolutely everything, but having the learners’ needs and learning styles in mind when planning it is a great starting point.
Modern learners want to have access to learning resources in no time, whenever they need it. That’s why an eLearning platform used in a learner-centered approach should be flexible in the way it provides knowledge to learners, allowing them to navigate the resources intuitively, focusing on the user experience.
Let’s have a look at a few activities that can be used in order to implement a learner-centered approach to your training programs.
Gamification is a great way to engage learners in the training process and to give them access to an active and dynamic learning environment. You can easily implement it with the use of an eLearning platform that uses tools such as badges, points, leaderboards and so on.
Collaborative learning is always better than a trainer exclusively delivering a monologue to learners, isn’t it? Learners want to be a part of the learning process and one way you can encourage this as a learner facilitator is by collaboration, which can be fostered through communities of practice at the level of an eLearning platform. At Knolyx, the communities of practice work as a learning environment where the trainer can upload resources and materials and the organization can create learning channels where employees from the same department can share learning insights, conduct brainstorming sessions or learn from each other.
Changing roles seems like a great way to actually use the knowledge learner, doesn’t it? Also, it is a great activity for a learner-centered approach, with trainees becoming the trainers who better understand the information while they deliver it to their coworkers.
To wrap it all up, you can use any method you find appropriate for your team when it comes to a learner-centered approach, making sure that you focus on your trainees’ needs, objectives and learning styles.
Some (final) thoughts
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