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4 Tips for developing effective digital learning experiences

By Simon Dewar, GM Digital.

The best way to design a digitally enhanced ‘learner experience’ that includes the right tools, at the right time for your people, is to consider what people need at different stages of their learning timeline. Being able to access the right type of content gives your learners flexibility, choice, and takes them on a coherent journey that will keep them engaged. Mosher and Gottfredson, in their “Moments of Need” model, identified five specific “moments” where learning was needed. They recognised that the focus and type of learning initiative employed needs to shift as the learner’s motivation changes.

It makes sense that the stage we are at, will therefore require different approaches according to our needs. So how does this work when it comes to digital learning content? We’ve thought about some of the ways you can take a “performance support” approach and really assist the learning process to stick with your people. By providing targeted digital and blended content at the right points in the learner’s journey. Help your learners to get on board, satisfy their curiosity, apply their learning, and solve complex problems.  This will ensure learning is properly embedded and results will follow. Read on for our four tips…

So what digital content is useful, and when?



Digital Question

Instil purpose and explain why

Naturally, you want your people to be excited about your organisation’s vision and passionate about the work they do, whatever the task or learning challenge ahead of them. Many digital learning courses get straight to the ‘what’ without explaining the ’why,’ and fail to provide the organisational context required to see how the learning fits in with the organisation’s goals, and the work of the individual day-to-day. The first key to gaining people’s attention and engagement is to ensure they understand and believe in the vision from the get-go.


Digital content to consider:
  • A succinct, responsive, interactive piece of digital learning that introduces learners to their role
  • Short, sharp video explainers describing the topic at a high level and why it’s important
  • Introductory micro-learning providing foundational information and video content



Digital BrainExplain process and demonstrate how

After you’ve given context about the ‘what’, people then need direction on ‘how’ to deliver. What behaviours do they need to demonstrate to be successful? This is where video based content can be great, showing your stars and how they do things. The goal of this stage is to help people visualise what they need to do and clearly articulate the steps in the process. You can fill knowledge gaps with information needed to fulfil a request or meet a need. It’s important that content at this stage helps people understand what to do and how to do it consistently, and consequences if things go wrong.


Digital content to consider:
  • Video interviews profiling champions or experienced staff demonstrating how they work
  • Targeted learning units that cover each stage of the process, with links to processes and checklists
  • Micro-learning providing specific support skills that promote success



Digital GraphProvide different options and encourage practice

Have a range of different learning options. Provide a variety of modalities, with problem-based challenges, and targeted support tools. The aim is to motivate learners and provide flexibility for their different needs. Assist learners to access the content they need, when they need it. Create multiple touch points to ensure learning can be retained and embedded every day. If possible, create systems that allow them to easily search for and find information they may need when performing complex tasks for the first time. Being able to access demonstrations, sandboxes, or simulations can be a great way to test the application of their learning.


Digital content to consider:
  • Practical, interactive learner scenarios that follow key process steps
  • Repeatable simulations that allow learners to practise using key systems, entering information, and holding effective conversations
  • Work-based digital activities that get learners to observe, demonstrate and get feedback on new skills



Digital PuzzleCreate challenges, provide feedback and support

Putting your learning to the test is best supported by problem-based learning and detailed, multifaceted challenges. Combine this with the human touch, delivered either virtually or in person. This assists learners fill gaps and master new skills. Digital coaching and development tools, formal and self-assessments, and observations, together with regular reporting on KPIs, will help management and coaching staff to support their people effectively and consistently. This should be supplemented with support tools, at moment of need… Supporting learners who are out there performing new tasks for real.


Digital content to consider:
  • Problem-based scenarios with multiple ‘endings’ where learners must choose the correct path
  • Knowledge bases and systems connecting learners with support tools and micro-learning bites for key tasks
  • Observationally oriented learning, where learners need to find out ‘what’s wrong’ or ‘what went wrong’ to move forward in the experience


So there you have it. Thinking about learning content as a support tool for performance is a great way to ensure we move away from “training for the sake of training” and towards learning that is there for the right purpose, at the right time to assist your learners to do their work. Keep these tips in mind when looking for new digital solutions and by thinking about what your learners needs are you can ensure you have the right content for them when they need it most. If you’d like to chat about any of the ideas above, let us know by contacting us here!