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Find your MODERN
Why modern learners may be the key to business recovery
This article was originally posted in HR Future Magazine – November 2021
Reflecting on the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s reasonable to conclude that the challenges it created were felt across most industries. And while some companies thrived during the pandemic, most had it rough. Even today, we’re still not entirely out of the woods, with highly transmissible variants still causing case numbers to tick up.
Hope is on the horizon, with vaccine availability giving many business leaders confidence to start planning for reopening and economic recovery. And helping organizations lead the way will likely be Modern Learners.
Why do I believe that? In our research, we’ve discovered unique traits in Modern Learners that give them advantages during disruptive and changing times. These Modern Learner traits include their drive to not just succeed, but to win the day, every day. They are the highest performers in times of uncertainty because they keep up with the speed of change through rapid learning practices, being flexible and nimble in their work styles instead of rigid. They are mobile and untethered, so they are capable of being productive from anywhere – in the office with others, isolated at home, or halfway around the world working across multiple time zones.
We’ve observed how learners, who we affectionately refer to as Modern Learners, use their smartphones and mobile devices to learn and work. We’ve engaged outside parties to corroborate our analysis of performance metrics to validate the results and the findings to remove all doubt that Modern Learners are performing exceptionally in these evolving times.
If you have Modern Learners in your company, then you already know how invested they are in your success as well as their own. They desire the best possible outcomes and will inspire others to enact change. Yes, they are motivated by ambition and they have a sensational drive. It is essential that you can identify a Modern Learner. Here’s how.
Modern Learners have a unique worldview. With unlimited access to information, they demand learning solutions that quickly filter the noise and serve up the best information at the perfect time so they can perform their best. These Modern Learners will not patiently scroll through an inventory of topics in hopes of finding the right content. They don’t have time for that. They expect solutions to do the work for them – leaning on smart systems that are personalized for them. This worldview expects instant access and on-demand delivery that makes learning convenient and immediately applicable.
Modern Learners demand an untethered work and lifestyle. They understand that organizations must be able to adjust rapidly, based on evolving conditions from a pandemic, a competitor, finicky consumer demands, the speed of change, or social unrest. For these Modern Learners, being tethered removes their ability to be adaptable and agile when supporting their business. They demand the freedom to move and shift according to the needs of the day in order to achieve success each and every day.
In your search for Modern Learners, you’ll also identify them by their need to be recognized and rewarded. Modern Learners seek continuous feedback and validation. They are highly-competitive professionals who set high standards and goals for themselves, and they have high expectations of their co-workers and their organizations. They expect to win, they expect their organizations to win, and they put forward great effort to ensure it. They are curious. They ask questions, listen and observe. They like working alongside other performers and aren’t afraid to hold disengaged teammates or classmates accountable for apathy. In your organization, Modern Learners will be among those driving innovation. This is partly due to their general restlessness as well as their growth mindset. This is why I believe Modern Learners will be the key to recovery and it is essential that we lean on them as we navigate the chaos. Therefore, we must engage and enable them.
An effective learning management system that is built for these times is a good place to start. Your organization must provide learning and performance solutions that are convenient, not clunky; intuitive, not burdensome; on-demand, personalized and predictive, not a generic portal that forces learners to search into a never-ending abyss of information. Give them a learner-centric solution that accommodates their own learning style and pace that enables their success. Give them a solution that these Modern Learners can access from anywhere at any time.
If you identify your Modern Learners, engage them, embrace their work styles, and enable their success with the right tools for these times, Modern Learners will become your business’s competitive advantage and the key to your recovery and ongoing success.
MIKE THOMPSON is the CEO of Learner Mobile, a business-to-business software-as-a-service provider in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, delivering next-generation learning management solutions that are secure and scalable for today’s modern learning experience.
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