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David Perring explores why creating engaging experiences is the key to digital learning success


f you want to understand why digital learning frequently fails to excite learners, then

look no further than the critical drivers behind why organisations adopt it, according to our ongoing research with Learning Technologies. Te least critical driver is learner

engagement. Although, overall, 83% of L&D professionals see it as one of their drivers, only 5% think it is a critical one. However, fundamentally, learning engagement – or increasing the desire of your learners to learn and increasing their access to learning – should be at the heart of creating great learning experiences. If learning engagement isn’t

a key driver, then it’s unlikely it will feature highly in the overall strategy or be a deciding factor when selecting technology solutions. And if digital learning doesn’t inspire engagement, then how on earth will it ever be a valuable part of an organisation’s value proposition or make learners feel their demands for modern learning are being responded to? Success is about more than just the technology. Pleasingly, however, a greater focus

on engaging learners seems to be building momentum, with nearly 75% expecting an increase in demand for features that better engage learners. And this is more than just redesigning the user interface in the LMS, or even next gen learning platforms. Tese solutions have become a source of frustration and dissatisfaction for many, and if they are to evolve

34 | August 2017 |

they need to take on a new role. Fundamentally, this is about

creating ‘Learning Engagement Systems’ – solutions that use profile data about learners, their personalities, habits, goals and feedback from others to drive personalised learning. And then provide the nudges, coaching and connections to help keep distracted and overwhelmed workers connected with their personal development priorities. Tink about how chat bots and artificial intelligence is changing customer support. Tink how fitness applications like Strava and MapMyRun are impacting exercise routines.

Learning engagement will soon be fuelled by ‘coach bots’ as much as it is by the personalisation of learning journeys

be far away. Tis will be dependent on advances in analytics which, again, is one of the top four drivers behind customers’ demands from their learning platforms in the future. Te opportunity to transform learn- ing using technology is immense. Tat’s beyond any doubt. Despite some of the harsh realities exposed in our research, there are reasons to be optimistic as we move away from a focus on traditional learning content, to more focus on learners, while also evolving from an era of massification to personalisation, using digital and social technologies. Tese shifts will enhance learners’

Te time is coming when this

will reach learning systems. Learning engagement will soon be fuelled by ‘coach bots’ as much as it is by the personalisation of learning journeys. In some Human Capital Management Systems, there are already connectors to Amazon’s Alexa, for example, which allow users to verbally make holiday requests. So, the time when a virtual coach nudges us verbally to look at some new learning resources, may not

experience and move L&D from delivering solitary instances of learning to powering the full learning cycle and create ongoing experiences that go beyond simply learning, to actually applying and sustaining behaviours. We should then see some

truly significant progress in L&D’s perceptions of technology-led learning – and in the perceptions and engagement of our learners.

David Perring is director of research at Fosway Group. You can download the full reports from the Digital Learning Realities series via and follow him on Twitter @davidperring


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