What is learning fatigue and how can we avoid it?
With great powers comes great responsibility. When establishing a digital learning environment, the saying very much holds. Organizations today have unprecedented opportunities to provide employees with digital learning. But more content and initiatives do not necessarily translate to a better learning and employee experience.
Organizations now realize the potential of digital learning. Building on the growing digital infrastructure of work, learning previously conducted in conference rooms are increasingly going digital. It is fast, time-effective and more flexible.
A consequence of this shift is that organizations can put more focus on content and experience instead of logistics. There is also the possibility to increase the number of learning initiatives when physical limits to learning is no longer a part of the equation.
So, get as much content as possible in the hands of employees. Is that it?
Not so fast. Enthusiasm over the world of digital learning initiatives can unfortunately backfire, and it is mostly related to the sheer amount of learning. Although one of the hallmarks of digital learning is flexibility, it can still overwhelm employees more than it empowers them.
An overload of digital learning programs goes under the label learning fatigue. In this state, employees feel uncomfortable levels of stress and anxiety when digital to-dos pile up. When you do not have to be somewhere in terms of work, you are also always potentially at work. This omni-digital presence is one of the positives of digital learning, but also something for organizations to be cautious with.
Learning fatigue is thus the antithesis of what digital learning are supposed to do for employees. It should be engaging, accessible, interactive, and in general a positive experience. How then can organizations harness the power of digital learning and not risk contributing to learning fatigue?
Don’t stray from purpose
Revisit the fundamental purpose of the digital learning. Consider what it will achieve, the knowledge gap it bridges and how employees gain from it. If those learning objectives are carefully defined, it increases the chances of employees getting substantial and beneficial knowledge in return for their invested time and energy. A clear purpose and sense of meaning eliminates the risk of employees perceiving digital learning as just another thing to tick off the list.
Integrate micro learning
One mistake when setting up digital learning is simply migrating material from other contexts, such as long videos or extensive text documents. By doing so, much of the potential of digital learning is lost. Instead, focus on key-takeaways and put it into multiple, shorter modules. That is called micro learning, and it facilitates and make the process of learning more engaging and interactive.
How we learn and the styles that suit us varies. One of the great positives of digital learning is addressing multiple learning styles and mixing up the content, creating a fresh and engaging learning experience.
Do not underestimate the power of short breaks, and consider including it in the digital learning. We all know the draining effect hours in front of the screen can have and what it does to our ability to concentrate and absorb information. When employees decide how they conduct their learning with no one keeping time and initiating breaks, it can be a good thing to communicate its importance via the course.
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