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Who are today’s learners?

Fill in the blank: Today’s learners are _______________

What did you come up with? Busy? Distracted? Multi-tasking? Overwhelmed?

All the above, according to Elucidat, which just released a new infographic on today’s learners. Compiled from several pieces of research from the learning industry, Elucidat says people are indeed overwhelmed and distracted. Case in point: How many times while reading this blog post might you check your phone?

In fact, the typical employee spends 25 percent of their time checking email, 33 percent of their time in meetings and 5 percent of time being interrupted, Elucidat found. So that leaves about 1 percent of time for learning.

Yet, according to the infographic, learning is the No. 1 reason people join organizations. Ninety-four percent of employees report they would stay with their organization if their employer invests in professional development and education. But only 15 percent of employees say they have access to learning.

And quality – rather than quantity – is key. Learners want personalized, timely and quality content. Most workplace learning is done in the time of need, Elucidat says, when employees turn to Google or their phones.

At the same time, learners have become nimble – learning anytime, from anywhere. One-third of people learn while traveling to work and home (at least for those who take public transportation). But the majority of employees learn from their desks.

“Is this an indication that not all content is optimized for mobiles, or the reality that this is where many people are working and so are switching to learning on the job and where it’s convenient?” Elucidat asks. “It could also be because a lot of learning needs dedicated focus and is easier to do on a larger screen.”

So, it’s important that learning platforms are mobile responsive. Elucidat says the average person spends two hours a day on their smartphone and that climbs to three hours for 18- to 20-year-olds. (I’m surprised it’s not more!) And the average person checks their phone 10 times in an hour. 

Takeaway: Your learning programs need to be mobile-friendly.

With time being so limited in today’s working environment, most people want to learn on the job, so as not to interfere with personal commitments. Recent research found 93 percent of people want to integrate learning with work. Ninety percent want collaboration and knowledge transfer and 65 percent of people want to learn via coaching and mentoring.

“The modern learner may be busy and overwhelmed, but they are hungry to learn and savvy around they type of content that will help them get there and the skills they deem important for the future,” Elucidat says. “To engage modern learners, performance support and training and development opportunities need to empower professionals to develop their skills easily and flexibly.”

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