Creating a learning culture

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Written by Gerry Griffin on 25 November 2019

Reading time: 4 minutes

When it comes to marketing content, there is a wealth of different approaches – some good, some bad – and in the e-learning industry, the biggest challenge we are confronting is user engagement.

From object to subject

Since Donald Kirkpatrick developed the eponymous Kirkpatrick Learning Model in 1955, which distinguishes between four levels of learning – reaction, learning, behaviour and results – this approach has proven to be very easy to misuse, despite it being one of the most commonly used methods to evaluate the effectiveness of learning solutions.

More specifically, within this rather linear model, the learner is branded as the ‘object’, creating a certain passivity in students as a result.

However, the solution may be to turn the learner into the ‘subject’; in practice, this means that learning would be something they do, rather than is done to them. By giving the learners individual agency, they will always be more engaged, and importantly, more likely to return. 

Digital relevance

There can’t be a discussion around creating a learning culture without mentioning the concept of digital relevance.

When individuals don’t look at the information sitting in front of them, what they are saying is: I don’t believe this information is relevant to me. 

We can break this down into two parts. Organisational relevance is one of them, and it usually involves non-negotiable commitments we have made to ourselves and our organisation, causing us to behave in a particular fashion, such as wishing to become more customer-focused, more agile, or more enterprising. 


Driving uptake is about making content available anywhere; the easier it is to access, the higher the chances are that employees will use it

Second, we must bear in mind that people will not look at self-directed learning unless there is a personal motivation behind it. They will ask: what’s in it for me?

The motivation may be learning soft skills such as strategic influencing, building trust and active listening – this is what you wrap content around.

Keeping note of the organisation’s circadian rhythm 

Depending on the business’s overall disposition and internal trends, the digital aisles of our Learning Management Systems can be changed to reflect this.

For instance, content can be curated at the start of the week to cater for ‘Motivational Monday’; similarly, by the end of the week, the users could be confronted by a different mood of material such as ‘Reflective Friday’.

This allows for content streaming to be concurrent with the mood and activities that are ongoing in the business, and of course, keeps the learners on their toes. 

Delivering content 

This is a vital step, which requires consideration from the very inception of content. Before the learning content has been created, you should know how you want it to be delivered and eventually consumed by learners.

In the modern world, this is more important than ever, and content delivery needs to reflect modern realities. Learning cannot be contained within a single set of circumstances. 

Are you on a train or in the back of a taxi and want to catch up on that TV show you missed? No problem.

Learning needs to be available everywhere, online and offline. Driving uptake is about making content available anywhere; the easier it is to access, the higher the chances are that employees will use it. 

Shorten the content 

No one wants to listen to a boring or excessively long piece of content. Their attention span will wane, they will lose interest, they will fail to understand its relevance, and inevitably, they will not remember what they were learning.

The solution to this is simple: cut it down! Break down the content into small, actionable chunks and then suggest more relevant content – don’t try and fit it all into one video. 



You don’t want to force learners into content, you want to guide them and provide choice. Active participation yields the best results.

It is always far better to guide users to content and have them discover the opportunities for themselves, rather than attempting to force it upon them. 

Actionable content

A step which goes hand-in-hand with the shortening of content is ensuring that the content is actionable, and thus doubling its usefulness and increasing relevance. Content will always provide information, that is its primary purpose.

However, if you can make that content actionable, by providing information that can be absorbed, then be applied immediately to a situation such as a big meeting or sales pitch.

It not only makes the content more useful; it provides another reason for individuals to access the content, and therefore, drives engagement and uptake. 

To conclude, it is vital to not only think about learning and training people, but also about getting them to take responsibility for their learning and career pathways.

This will result in a more engaged learner; who will not only be cheaper to work with, but who will also be able to successfully share their insights with others.

These observations will benefit any organisation who are seeking to create a more conscious, independent, and beneficial learning culture.

Read more from Gerry here.


About the author

Gerry Griffin is the founder of Skill PillFollow Skill Pill on Twitter here.

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