How do you acquire new information? Are you one of those who want it broken down for you step-by-step, quick and easy, exactly when you need it? Then you are not alone. Is there really anyone who has the time or patience to read through the manual for their new dishwasher today?

Nowadays, we are more likely to do a quick search on Google, YouTube, or even TikTok to find out how to fix a flat tire, strip the floors in your living room, or find a quick and easy recipe on how to cook Pad Thai. The constant access to new knowledge has changed how we learn today compared to only a decade ago. And it’s reshaping us as modern learners.  

Getting Inside the Mind of the Modern Learner

Yes, the days of reading lengthy manuals and enduring lengthy training sessions are fading away. Understanding the modern learner and our ways of learning today into consideration will make it easier for you to engage your employees and help them retain the information.   

Contrary to popular belief, the term 'modern learner' isn't tied to a specific age group; it's a mindset. Modern learners share common traits that influence their learning preferences. And most likely, you, just like me, both fall under the category of being a modern learner.

Characteristics of the Modern Learner:

  • Get easily distracted and overwhelmed. On average, workers get interrupted as frequently as every 5 minutes, and we tend to unlock our phones 9 times an hour.  
  • Are impatient. If something does not catch our attention within the first 5 - 10 seconds, then we lose interest and jump on to the next. Most learners won't finish watching videos longer than 4 minutes.   
  • Get knowledge on demand. Most of the learning, both in our private life and in our work life, is done in the moment of need. Mobile-only users outnumber desktop-only users, 55% of page views in 2021 came from mobile phones.  
  • Want to learn. Tend to search for new knowledge and want to learn. Despite this, employees then to only have 1% of the workweek to focus on training and development.  

    *stats from Bersin by Deloitte

“If you have an eLearning course that’s about 20 minutes, I would say, maybe 3 out of 10 will complete it. It's way, way too long! [...] You're competing with Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and everything else. That is your competitor!”
- Jaqueline Jensen, Learning & Development Manager, Pure Gym

See Silje, our Learning Content Creator, here at Learningbank, giving you a brief summary of who the modern learner is.👇

How to Adapt Your Employee Training to Captivate the Modern Learner

 Keep the modern learner in mind when designing your employee training by: 

1. Tailor Training to the Specific Needs of the Learner


When designing training, it is crucial to keep the modern learner in mind. By tailoring the training to the specific needs of the learner, you can ensure that it resonates with them on a personal level.

This can be achieved by understanding their background, experience, and learning preferences. Doing so, you can create a customized learning experience that caters to their individual needs and maximizes their engagement and retention of information. Read more about personalizing your employee training to increase engagement here

2. Break Down Information into Small, Easy-to-Digest Chunks

Microlearning  and gamification are effective strategies for designing training that appeals to the modern learner. With shorter attention spans and a tendency to get easily overwhelmed, it is important to present information in bite-sized portions.

This allows learners to absorb and process the content more effectively without feeling overwhelmed or losing interest. By breaking down complex concepts into manageable pieces, you can enhance comprehension and ensure that learners can easily grasp the key takeaways.

"The attention span people have, it's not really that long. You might have them for about five seconds. You need to get the engagement and then move on to the learning content. If you don't do that, they're not going to do it [ed. the digital training].”  
- Jaqueline Jensen, Learning & Development Manager, Pure Gym 

3. Keep Training Sessions Short and Engaging

Also your in-person and classroom training needs to be adapted. Lengthy training sessions can lead to fatigue and decreased motivation.

By keeping sessions concise and focused, you can maintain the learner's attention and prevent distractions. Incorporating interactive elements, such as quizzes, simulations, or hands-on activities, to make the training more engaging and interactive. This not only enhances the learning experience but also promotes active participation and knowledge retention.

4. Include What Will be Gained from the Training

Including the "why" as a motivating element in training is another effective strategy. By highlighting the benefits and value of the learning content, you can create a sense of purpose and motivation for the learners.

When learners understand why they should learn something and how it can benefit them in their personal or professional lives, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in the training. By connecting the training to real-world applications and showcasing its relevance, you can increase learner motivation and commitment.

5. Make Training  Accessible & Available on Demand

Making training easily accessible is another important consideration for the modern learner. Use single-sign-on (SSO) and reduce clicks and loading time to reach your digital training content. Think about it yourself: how many times have you not disregarded a webpage if it took too long to load? It's the same with your learners. 

With the increasing prevalence of mobile devices and the rise of remote work, learners expect flexibility and convenience in accessing training materials.

Providing training resources that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and on any device allows learners to learn at their own pace and according to their own schedules. This not only accommodates their busy lifestyles but also promotes continuous learning and self-directed development.

6. Focus on Lifelong Learning

Lastly, focusing on lifelong learning is crucial to stay relevant in today's rapidly changing world. The modern learner is constantly seeking new knowledge and skills to adapt to evolving trends and challenges.

As a result, training programs should not be seen as one-time events but as ongoing opportunities for growth and development. By promoting a culture of continuous learning within your organization, you can empower employees to stay ahead of the curve and remain valuable assets in their respective fields.

To Summarize... 

Most of us today are modern learners. We crave quick, easy, and on-demand knowledge. Gone are the days of lengthy manuals and boring training sessions. As modern learners, we demand a more personalized, engaging, and accessible learning experience.

If you want to capture the attention of your employees and help them retain knowledge, you need to adapt your training to their needs.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Tailor the training to the specific needs of each learner. Understand their background, experience, and learning preferences.
  • Break down information into small, easy-to-digest chunks. Make it bite-sized and manageable.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging. Use interactive elements and keep it concise.
  • Highlight the benefits of the training. Show learners how it will benefit them personally and professionally.
  • Make training easily accessible and available on demand. Use mobile devices and flexible learning platforms.
  • Focus on lifelong learning. Encourage continuous learning and development.
By following these tips, you can create a training experience that will engage your modern learners💖