Winning learning experience? The right format at the right time

Do we all remember how bored we were in the third row listening to history lessons? Hours of lessons at the blackboard trying to assimilate dates and information while waiting for the sound of the bell. The learning experience was definitely not exciting, but as students we had plenty of time to dedicate ourselves exclusively to that: learning, growing and developing skills to earn good grades.

When we talk about corporate training from a teaching perspective, things are different. Our students are fast-moving professionals with busy schedules that interrupt their learning workflow. Between their daily routines and commitments, their time has tangible value. Creating a learning experience that respects their flow is the key to delivering information without employees wishing for a break.

The efficacy of the learning experience depends on our habits

A learning experience with the right balance between training and work habits is crucial. Today’s professionals, especially sales teams, wish to acquire information flexibly and easily; they wish to be involved in dynamic itineraries designed to suit their lifestyles. In fact, their agendas set the ideal learning path, not the other way around. Between a meeting with a potential customer, an internal brief for a new product and a demo call, a seller’s workday quickly becomes full. How then can we introduce time dedicated to training in these contexts? Simply put, we require the right format.

Right format at the right time

The key is to adopt a continuous approach where formats adapt to the daily flow of workers and not vice versa. Deloitte Consulting1 has developed a graphical summary that identifies how the various modules can be correctly associated with each dedicated context.

Learning experience: the Continuous Learning Approaches

If the context is “Education”, then suitable formats are traditional methods, from learning in the classroom with a teacher to e-learning and the virtual classroom. The material to be learned can be acquired from a book, an article, or a recommended blog and there is time to focus on these. But if the training context refers to a typical day, then the most suitable formats will be real practice (“Experience”), such as on-the-job assignments, test projects, and checklists.

It’s the same if we find ourselves in interpersonal moments with colleagues or leaders in their sector. The delivery format will be linked to an interaction context (“Exposure”) where the worker can learn through events, conferences, or coaching sessions, but also from social networks and debate forums. And during business hours? The most functional formats will certainly be resources and tools used day by day, such as Wikis, feedback, online research, and all the tools to support daily operations (“Environment”).

Flexible formats for a memorable experience

The training method studied within the context itself also guarantees flexibility and can be applied in various circumstances. A perfect example is virtual training which is extremely effective both at an “Educational” and “Exposure” stage. An example might be podcasts, that can be listened to during working hours (“Environment”), while at the same time bringing the potential input of an industry leader (“Exposure”). The trick to creating a satisfactory learning process is to stay connected to the flow of our users, using their full agendas not as an obstacle but as a playground where it is possible to continuously intervene. Creating such combinations and making the most of each format is the key to an exceptional learning experience. Modules will be stimulating, since the worker’s lifestyle will be taken into account and each context will be considered an integral part of their day.

Next steps

Why not start by examining one of the most popular formats within “Education” and “Exposure” contexts? Virtual training is currently one of the most effective tools if managed in the right way. Discover the secrets of successful virtual training and do not hesitate to contact us for further information.


1 Bersin (2015). Deloitte Consulting