As a company that provides training, we keep watch over the trends that are making news, and rapid learning is on the rise. While we know from what our clients tell us on a regular basis that learning in the classroom is not going away any time soon, we can’t ignore the upswing in demand for more just-in-time training experiences.
How We Learn is Changing
In his book, It Starts With Passion, Keith Abraham tells a story that illustrates this trend. He says that he was trying to learn a new video editing software program and was having trouble figuring it out when his 12 year old daughter suggested that he just ‘Youtube it’ because you can learn anything on Youtube. This shift has been happening for a while. Seven years ago, Nicholas Carr wrote an article called Is Google Making Us Stupid. Carr described how our behaviors as they apply to interacting with the Internet have actually reshaped how we take in information and learn. In a world of sound bytes, news feeds, and viral videos, it becomes harder and harder for us to sit down and listen to an all-day lecture or read a book to find the information we are looking for. That’s not to say we have become lazy. Just the opposite. On average, people spend more time researching topics simply because the information is so much easier to get our hands on. We just do it more quickly and in short bursts.
What is Rapid Learning?
This is where rapid learning comes into play. It is not training that fits every scenario, but there are times when all of us need to digest a bite sized chunk of training to help satisfy a specific learning outcome. It’s now possible for a salesperson to sit in their car in a client’s parking lot and watch a short video about effective questioning techniques that will help close the sale. Instead of trying to remember the Excel class you took 5 years ago when it’s time to make your first pivot table, you can take watch a 3 minute video that describes the process. Video is the key component to this just-in-time approach to training. It’s the quickest and easiest way for the learner to absorb the short form content.
Tips on Evaluating Rapid Learning
Here’s what to look for when you are evaluating rapid learning tools for your organization:
- Length. It’s implied in the term rapid learning, but the course material needs to be easily reviewed in a short period of time. Under ten minutes seems to be the sweet spot. Even when dealing with complex topics, the content should be sub-divided into small chunks that are independent of each other. No bookmarking or remembering where you were. Watch your 4 minute segment and come back for more later.
- Platform independence. It shouldn’t matter whether you are on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. You want to get the content wherever and whenever you need it.
- Content expertise. We know Youtube videos are free. There’s an old saying though that you get what you pay for. I’ve searched for content and watched enough videos made by people staring into a webcam in their bedroom to know this is true. It is possible to have credible content that is researched, produced and presented by professionals in short digestible chunks.
Like we said earlier. Rapid learning has its place in every organization. It doesn’t fulfill every training requirement you have, but in certain places, it’s exactly what you may need. If you are interested in learning more about the types of rapid learning content that’s available, give us a call to discuss or download our EJ4 course catalog. If you are ready to give the content a try, check out our EJ4 – 4 Pack Learning Bundle in the shopping cart.