Your Learners Got Attitude!

Your learners got more and more attitude!

Your learners’ choices are changing. Their attitudes as learners in the middle of learning experiences are shifting. And, their assumptions about the yield of learning time invested are evolving.

Your learners are not being rude or arrogant, but they do have a new attitude, which may be surprising, disappointing, or confusing to us Learning and Development veterans. Some of your learners, who are normally grateful recipients of all that you can give them for development, may be showing new behaviors that look a bit more like “online dating”. Your learners look at a learning offer and…

• Quickly give it a swipe left or a swipe right – “keep it” or “let it go”.
• Ask “Is this good? Will my time on this be worth it?”
• Want to know “Did other employees like this or is it just not worth my time?”
• Ask “Is there a quicker or better way to learn?”
• Say “Hey, give me the good stuff and skip the fluff!”

Your learners are better guardians of your wage time than you! Set up a 75 minute webinar for every regional manager and their attitude kicks in:

• “Is there really 75 minutes of new and valuable stuff?”
• “Do I really need to participate live? Will my absence be noticed?”
• “Could I watch the archived version and skip to the few minutes of important info?”
• “Ah, let me order my lunch, check my emails, and have a side telephone call during this very long webinar.”

Your learners have attitude and it will grow as the panorama of learning options expand. They will make personal swaps:

• Skip the leadership videos that your Learning and Development group purchased and watch a few 18 minute Ted Talks that seem more engaging!
• Ask to take the assessment quiz before the class – in order to skip the teaching and jump to the certification!
• Resist the sense of “newness” for each announced corporate strategy and find the old slides that look almost exactly the same (with a few text changes).
• They might even partner with other colleagues to gain efficiency in their learning assignments. One person goes to the important meeting and sends real-time internal tweets with updates. Or, Joe does module 1 and Karen does module 2, and they collaborate to save time and energy. Both pass.

Your learners have attitude because the times are changing and the choices are getting more complex:

• Memorization is becoming less important. The learner knows they can get content online, so why pretend to memorize it? Navigational readiness may be all they need or want.
• The employment lifespan of a new employee is much lower. Some new hires want to jump in and start performing quicker since they may not be sticking around for long.
• They may be way more interested in the CONTEXT rather than the CONTENT. They can’t look up the real backstory online, so context is their hunger in a classroom, much more than the PowerPoint slides.

Your learners have fewer boundaries or barriers to keep them from getting the best learning experiences. Beware!

• Given an IT problem, they may call their friend who works in the IT department of another company for help! Why? They trust them and will get a more targeted answer.
• They will likely validate or confirm knowledge from a trainer via a real-time search. I mentioned a statistic in a leadership program last year and five minutes later one of the participants kindly corrected me based on real-time research on my stated fact.
• They are more drawn to a short video and FAQ instead of a well-formatted instructional layout.
• And they want us, as teachers and facilitators, to more deeply honor what they know already and sort by what they really need to know now!

Your learners have attitude, and it is time for learning departments and professionals to adjust our own attitudes:

• Encourage your learners to be “in charge” and own their learning process.
• Toughen up and tighten our assessments to be of more value and guidance to learners.
• Expand the curation skills, tools, and strategies of our organizations to harvest and target more personalized content for our learners.
• Take the “school” branding out of our learning resources, treating learners more as colleagues, employees, and candidates - rather than students.
• Allow our own attitudes to shift. My lectures can go on video. My ice breaker activities may be way too familiar. And, my learners want to connect with my knowledge more than my curriculum.

Learning deserves some new attitudes!

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