The Top 5 Complaints of the Modern Learner

The Top 5 Complaints of the Modern Learner

The Modern learner is a complex animal. Resourceful, yet easily distracted. Social, yet distant. Untethered, yet connected. Hungry for information, yet impatient.

We have been working with learners for many moons and in that time we’ve heard almost everything that learners dislike about training.

Here are the top 5 most common complaints from the modern learner:

1. “It Takes Too Long”
3 days or more of classroom training? Is this the 80’s? Why do businesses still think this is okay? I guess for the same reason people still put their fax number on their business card. I think about the time, I painted my house. It also, took me 3 days. On day 1, I was precisely taping all the corners and making sure not a drop of paint touched the floor. By day 3, I was throwing paint on the walls with a complete disregard for where the droplets would fall. It’s the same thing with 3 day ILTs. Day 1, the learner shows up ready to learn. By day 3, they are clawing at the door to get out – forget about knowledge retention.

2. “There’s Too Much Text”
Learners don’t want to sit a read for hours or search through text until they find the nugget of information they need. The modern learner wants to watch a video and keep the reading to a minimum.

The last time I fixed my car, I had 2 options: 1. Read the owners manual and use the black and white diagrams and pages of text to figure it out. 2. Watch a very helpful guy from Boston do it on YouTube and explain how it’s done along the way.

Guess what, I chose option 2. The modern learner will do the same.

3. “What’s the point?”
Ever taken a training session and asked yourself ,“When am I ever never going to use this?” Learning has to be relevant and the learning objective clearly defined. It also needs to be timely – or just-in-time. That means learners can retrieve training right at the time they need it, not months before.

4. “This is boring.”

If we can take anything from the movie Gladiators and the lead character Maximus, it’s that if you entertain the crowd then you get what you want. Gladiators wanted their freedom, we want learners to learn. You don’t have to be a stand up genius to be engaging, just keep it light, keep it concise and have fun with it. Most importantly, create context for your audience.

5. “Where’s the information I need to do X?”
And the answer is… buried. Either buried in the dark recesses of your LMS or 20 clicks deep inside your intranet. Or maybe it’s in a current asset that has some obscure title and is in no way related or searchable based on the learner’s need.

Hopefully these responses don’t sound familiar in your organization!

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