3 DevLearn Takeaways

As my plane traversed the Nevada desert and landed on the strip of the McCarren airport, all I can hope is that luck be on my side as I take on Las Vegas. Luckily for me, I was headed exactly where jackpot awaited; DevLearn L&D Conference, an event rich in shared knowledge, experience, and inspiration amongst the learning and development community.

I had the privilege of attending this conference and with the bounty of information gained from my experience, would like to share three takeaways from all the discussion regarding trends, technologies, and strategies in the industry at DevLearn.

1. Optimizing The Learner's Experience

In an eLearning ecosystem, which component holds the title for being most problematic? I’d bet anything (insert casino quip here) that most people would answer learning management systems. LMS’s are great for delivering content, but most of them are administration centric. In other words, LMS’s provide capability to manage all the administrative tasks, but often forget the most important factor of a learning ecosystem – the learner!

Take the profound user interface of the Netflix platform for example. The platform makes it easy to locate content you’re looking for, recommends relevant, personalized content to the user, not to mention is presented beautifully on any device whether you’re viewing from your phone or binging on the tv.

Consider taking common UI elements across the different media platforms and integrate them into your content delivery method. Turning your learning platform into a vehicle to your content that your audience is used to will cause your content to become more accessible, which will ultimately improve the learner’s experience.

2. Promoting Learner Engagement

Now that the learner is presented with a learning platform that compliments the content, how can the content itself take it one step further? It is a commonly known fact that the key to learning is wanting to learn. If the material feels like work, learners will slack on the job. So that raises the question: “How do we make learning fun and engaging?”. The missing link between learning and the content itself is engagement.

Having well designed, informative, and rich content is not enough. 

Allow the learner to interact with the learning, provide small bursts of knowledge, personalize the learning to the individual’s contexts, or even give the learner options between different learning tracks within the course that allows them to make decisions in an environment where it is safe to fail. These are just a few learner engagement examples that can be implemented in your course. If you are unsure which engagement strategies to pursue, gathering feedback from your learners is a great way to cater your content to your audience.

3. Improving Learning Retention

So, you have a user-friendly learning platform and your content is engaging, you’re all set, right? Wrong! What you do after your training is just as if not more important that the training itself.

According to Art Kohn, Fulbright Professor of Cognitive Science (and phenomenal speaker at this year’s DevLearn), 70% of all training is forgotten within 24 hours of the training. That number is staggering, especially if your learning program is doing nothing to combat the forgetting curve. If the brain is not using or forced to recall information, it intentionally deletes it. We’ve all heard the saying, “use it or lose it”.

To ensure information from a course extends retained and not used just to pass an exam, you must help the learner to recall the information days, weeks, and even months after the initial learning event. This method can range from short quizzes, forum posts, short answer questions, etc. that the learner receives over the course of the training period that serve as booster events to continuously challenge what the learner has learned from the initial learning event.

This sort of after-training will cause the learner’s brain to tag the information as important, marking it safe from deletion (which supports the “use it or lose it” methodology). With the combination of a quality learner experience, learning engagement within the content itself, and after training to insure learning retention, you will begin to see an improved ROI from your learning program.

Upgrade Your Learning Toolbox

These are just a few of a plethora of L&D topics that were buzzing around this year’s DevLearn conference, but the shift in trends will not stop there! eLearning coincides with technology and we all know how quickly (and dramatically) technology changes.

CMR Institute keeps this in mind which sponsored my trip to the Mojave Desert to attend this conference. We strive to shift with the trends, constantly learning of new strategies and technologies to provide the best learning experience we can.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to connect with the L&D community to share experiences, hardships, tips/tricks, and projects. Not only did I walk back into the office with new tools in my toolbox, but with inspiration to optimize the learner’s experience, implement learner engagement, and improve learning retention to combat the forgetting curve.

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Sam Harrison | eLearning Technologist | CMR Institute

Sam Harrison, a recent graduate of Radford University, joined CMR Institute in February of 2017. His role at CMR Institute enables him to explore his passion for web development, new technologies, and creating the most impactful learning experience for CMR Institute’s clients and students. Outside of work, he enjoys playing music with friends, watching/playing sports, cooking, and enjoying anything outdoors.