Designing Engaging EdTech for the Modern Learner

When looking back on how industries or businesses evolve, invention is at the center – either by discovering new processes or materials that produce or distribute goods and services more efficiently and cost-effectively.  Inventions in one industry usually led to ripple effects and breakthroughs in others. When an engineer at Raytheon was working on magnetrons in 1945, high-powered vacuum tubes that generate short radio waves, a candy bar in his pocket melted that led to an unexpected discovery — microwave cooking.  Even then it took 20 years to perfect the technology that led to inventing a cheaper, smaller microwave oven in 1967. Now, almost all homes in the United States have a microwave.

Beyond learning that microwaves melt candy bars, new discoveries that lead to time savings, convenience, lower production costs, faster distribution, and more competitive pricing are welcome changes that better our lives.  And while forms of technology have been in our lives for eons, now more than ever the endless flow of technology and its applications lead to new ways of thinking and doing that improve our work and life styles – be it communicating, processing information or learning.   

Having consulted businesses and organizations on talent development for almost 20 years, count me as a first-hand witness and advocate on how technology can change adoption and improve performance. A key driver of this change is how everything from online shopping, to remote work, to watching your favorite sports, shows or movies is now ubiquitous through AI and increased connectivity. The same is now evident in learning and talent development, where Education Technology, or EdTech, accelerated its transition towards frictionless, efficient, convenient, and most critical of all – always personalized and untethered curriculum or content. Or better said, “knowing what the modern learner wants, everywhere and at all times.”  

A further accelerant to EdTech’s emergence was born out of necessity during early 2020 as the COVID-19 outbreak became an ongoing global pandemic.  The pandemic changed our interactions from live to virtual – meetings, happy hours, shopping, work, education, and of course, learning too. While unwelcome and still with us, the pandemic provided further evidence of what Modern Learners already knew – that remote learning – be it in business or higher education – was much needed and wanted.

Modern Learners are not a new phenomenon. They are everyday people who want to learn so they have the opportunity to gain an advantage in reaching their goals. Today’s Learning Management System (LMS) platforms must meet today’s Modern Learner needs and wants – or risk being ignored.  Traditional LMS platforms are static and rigid, based on three-hour courses with a stream of multiple-choice questions and mostly accessible from a desktop in the office or classroom. The modern LMS must facilitate “learning on the go”.  When identifying an LMS partner, it’s critical for their platform to understand and support the Modern Learner’s need for flexibility, freedom and access to on-demand resources. This learner-centric approach to platform development starts with mobility in mind and the following questions should be considered when exploring an LMS platform that will engage today’s Modern Learner:

  • Will it deliver the experience Modern Learners expect? Is it intuitive, engaging and personal?
  • Is it flexible, simple and connected for easy integration?
  • Was it developed for learner mobility? Is it convenient, accessible and just-in-time? 
  • Can it measure and analyze use so that it becomes trusted, adaptable and insightful?

Learner Mobile brought the future of EdTech forward by developing a more engaging and adaptable LMS platform. One that delivers continuous learning to meet the work and lifestyles desired by the Modern Learner, and helps meet business and organizational needs to improve performance. What is new for some is how Learner Mobile was working with businesses and organizations for years to deliver just-in-time content — much like how we shop, meet or stream our favorite entertainment today — that improves business and organizational performance and ensures the success of their people.

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