learning experiences
Training & Learning

3 Ways L&D Teams Can Create Fun and Meaningful Learning Experiences at Work

Let’s face it; employees simply don’t want to spend hours on mandated training, only to come away feeling as if they’ve learned nothing new. A study by Corporate Compliance Insights found that nearly 50% of employees skipped through at least some mandatory compliance training materials, with a full 15% clicking through training without reading or listening to any of the material.

If your employees see ‘workplace training’ as just another task to get out of the way, you aren’t only wasting the time and effort of your L&D department. When employees aren’t engaged in learning, it can lead to serious risks for the entire organization. But with the right approach, L&D professionals can create meaningful learning experiences that keep employees motivated and engaged.

Make learning experiences useful

I’m sure you remember at least a few high school classes that were a complete bore because they seemed useless. Though the setting might be different, poorly defined work-based learning experiences can make employees feel as if they’re back in those classrooms asking themselves, “When am I ever going to use this!?” To make learning experiences more meaningful, instructors need to connect learning outcomes to real-world tasks or give learners tangible examples of how they will benefit from what they are learning.

When employees understand how training will positively affect their careers, they are more motivated to spend time mastering the material. A survey by LinkedIn found that 54% of employees would invest more time studying recommended learning materials if the learning outcomes were specifically linked to helping

Learners want to understand the purpose behind what they're learning. Learning for the sake of learning is simply not enough. According to Constructivist Learning Theory, learners need to build meaningful connections with the material in order to retain the knowledge over the long term.

When learners don’t have a clear understanding of the purpose of the knowledge they are learning, their only motivation is to ‘pass the test.’ At which point the learner will file their new knowledge away as ‘information I don’t really need’ and swiftly forget everything they learned.

Imagine for a moment the high school algebra teacher. If they stood in front of the class and asked students to learn x=y*0.15 without explanation, it may be difficult for many students to grasp the concept. But imagine if the teacher then told them this is how they can calculate how much they will save during a 15% sale. Seems much easier and more enjoyable to learn, doesn’t it?

When learners don’t have a clear understanding of the purpose of the knowledge they are learning, their only motivation is to ‘pass the test.’

Make learning experiences flexible

Workers have enough on their plates without having to worry about workplace training disrupting their workflow even more. To make learning more enjoyable for employees, L&D managers can focus on making it easier for them to fit it into their already busy schedules.

L&D professionals can create training materials that adapt to employees’ busy lives is by incorporating eLearning and microlearning strategies whenever possible.

With eLearning, employees can access materials asynchronously, meaning they don’t need to work on the instructor’s schedule and can learn at their own pace. And while video is a great eLearning option, you don’t need a full video production team to implement eLearning into your L&D program. One cheap and easy option could be to create a knowledge repository of quick courses and explainer articles that employees can use to find answers to common issues such as how to use tools and resources, proper procedures for submitting expense reports, or how to reserve a conference room.

The goal of microlearning is to present content in bite-sized portions that focus on a single, well-defined idea or topic. Microlearning materials require only a short learning time, usually between five and ten minutes each, making them perfect to fit into a busy schedule. One way L&D professionals can integrate microlearning principles is to send weekly 5-minute mini-podcasts to employees covering new information or company highlights, rather than hosting hour-long company meetings every month. L&D managers can also use simple games or quizzes to help employees keep important knowledge fresh (and have a little fun while doing so).

Of course, there’s more to flexible learning than just giving your employees the ability to learn when they want.

Mobile Learning combines the best of eLearning and microlearning with the flexibility of learning anywhere. Mobile learning is delivered on the go with quizzes, gamified lessons, videos, and more. And when employees have the freedom to access training materials on the move, they spend much more time training. In fact, 360Learning’s mobile learners complete 70% more courses than those without mobile access.

Related: Microlearning Examples and Techniques to Improve Employee Learning Outcomes

mobile learning and gamification example
Mobile learning enables learners to complete fun, bite-sized courses on the go.

Make learning experiences diverse

The human brain gets bored easily. Luckily, L&D managers can use this innate desire for novelty to their benefit. Changing up how, when, and where information is presented can provide that little extra nudge your employees need to stay interested and engaged. And when learning happens in novel environments, it activates regions of the brain that drive exploration and learning.

One great thing about creating diverse learning experiences is that there are an infinite number of ways to do so.

  • Diversity of backgrounds: When you mix learners from different teams or groups together, you promote the free flow of ideas by eliminating barriers and introducing everyone to unique ideas and perspectives. This creates novel learning environments where each learner interacts with learners of different backgrounds, experiences, expertise, and perspectives.
  • Diversity of environment: Field trips (including virtual) are a great way to give learners a new way to explore ideas and concepts. A fresh environment presents learners with thousands of unexpected sensory cues to spark creative thinking and exploration of concepts. Learning through experiences outside of the office setting also makes it easier for learners to explore the concept in real-world situations, as opposed to purely theoretical textbook examples.
  • Diversity of format: In addition to a change of setting, learners will also benefit from changes in your delivery method. No one wants to sit through hours of video or read hundreds of pages. Look for ways to change it up, like job shadowing or peer coaching. One-on-one learning gives employees a low-pressure opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues. Learners can ask questions, try new tasks with expert supervision, and learn through experience and observation.

Build more meaningful learning experiences with the 360Learning L&D Collective

While there are plenty of ways to create meaningful work-based learning experiences, finding what works best for your company’s unique culture and needs can still be a challenge. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. The L&D industry is full of creative professionals who are constantly trying new things and finding new and better ways to create meaningful learning experiences.

We recently launched the L&D Collective, a community where L&D professionals like you come together and share insights, expertise, and ideas with like-minded people. Are you ready to be a part of the community? Apply to join the L&D Collective.