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Why existing learning programmes are putting employees to sleep

Imagine this: your smart phone has been replaced with a pager (if you don’t know what a pager is, ask the baby boomers). Now try going about your day-to-day life with this pager of yours. You will soon realise that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to fully utilise it. Every time you receive a page, you would have to go to the nearest phone booth to return the call. You do not have access to Instant Messaging, nor can you search the latest news. If you find that your learning platform is struggling to engage millennials, the reasons may be similar to why a pager no longer works in our society; because it is not relevant anymore.

A failure to engage millennials on your learning platform can be summarised into two reasons: irrelevant instructors and irrelevant content.

Irrelevant instructors

A lot of learning platforms recommend trainers or instructors who have little to no credible background. As a result, you might see them as total strangers and are not interested in what they have to share. More importantly, you may find it difficult to even be able to trust what these so-called educators have to say. Furthermore, a vast majority of online learning courses or content you come across are designed, produced and delivered by Americans - whom not all of you can relate to.

Irrelevant content

Many platforms claim they do “bite-sized” learning, when in actual fact, they have merely chopped up bigger chunks of information and placed them into smaller containers without making any changes. For example, instead of watching a 60-minute video, you can now watch 20 three-minute videos, of the exact same content. Not only does this totally defeat the purpose, you might also waste more time and end up learning nothing. Before you can even reach episode five, you feel fatigued and unmotivated to continue. Or worse still, you watch it all but absorb zero information. Sometimes, the topics provided on your platform may not resonate with the real challenges experienced by your audience and are therefore irrelevant.

In terms of instructor or content, relevance is necessary in keeping students or learners [emotionally engaged, motivated and, most importantly, to help them understand the ‘why’](https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/how-to-make-learning-relevant/# :~:text=As%20instructors%2C%20one%20of%20the,motivated%20and%20self%2Dregulated%20learners.&text=Relevance%20can%20help%20students%20realise%20how%20useful%20all%20knowledge%20can%20be.) behind the ‘what’ they are learning.

Relevance starts by firstly understanding what your audience cares about. We might think that lessons such as Digital Transformation or Customer Centricity are what employees want to learn about, when in reality, they might find it more useful to learn about how to deal with their bosses, how to carry out conference calls effectively or how to keep the attention of an audience during a presentation (which are all very legitimate concerns). Therefore, learning platforms need to identify what people need and cater to what they care about. This is followed by an understanding of the market demands, for example, no matter who teaches the subject or how many materials or resources are available on the uses of pagers, it is just not relevant - or even necessary - because it is no longer being used in our society (which automatically means people care less about it).

To further engage your employees or audience, it is also crucial to use the appropriate cultural lenses. Having an American share generic content is not only strange because he is different from how you or your employees appear physically, but also because he has a cultural lens, or perspective, that might clash with yours. A dimension that is often considered in studies of Organisational or Social Psychology is the difference between Individualistic and Collectivist Cultures. For example, the Japanese culture is a lot more collectivist than American culture, and what may work in one country may not necessarily work in another.

When it comes to creating educational materials, it needs to be applicable to the cultures of the audience. For example, a course on Communication Skills in China would probably have to include an element of talking to clients or colleagues who are older than you (because respect is very important in most Asian cultures), down to specific nouns you are allowed to use. Whereas in Germany, it is of utter importance to arrive at your appointments on time.

Creating content that is relevant and specific to you or your employees’ goals, or cultural perspectives, is not as far-fetched as you think. With platforms like Tigerhall, you are able to access bite-sized Podcasts and Power Reads that are catered to your lifestyle and needs - no more wasting time on unnecessary introduction videos or overly animated cartoons that make you feel like a kindergartener. Say goodbye to irrelevant instructors or content, and say hello to Tigerhall.

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