Embracing New Solutions for the Modern Learner

The new year officially began months ago, but for many of us, spring is the season of growth, bringing with it increased energy levels and a sense of renewed purpose in our personal and professional lives. In fact, this might be the best time of the year to kick off the type of ambitious undertaking that drives meaningful improvement. 

The technologies below have been adopted by the learning and development team at SCTE•ISBE to improve remote training outcomes and meet the needs of today’s learner. It is no secret that circumstances brought on by the pandemic have forced most workplaces to adapt and that many of these changes are likely to endure. Now is the time to embrace long-term solutions for learning and development — maybe one described here will spark your team’s next big idea.  

A New Foundation for Innovation 

Professional training was once restricted to instructor-led workshops in corporate conference rooms, but as virtual formats have gained in popularity, platforms have emerged to reach learners anywhere in the world and deliver impactful lessons in real-time or on-demand. 

Last October, SCTE•ISBE unveiled an updated learning management system (LMS) designed to create a more effective and engaging online experience for industry professionals at all levels. It serves as the digital home for more than 1,000 learning modules and is rich with the sort of modern features users have come to expect, such as faster processing speeds and advanced reporting and analytics capabilities.   

One of our main goals for switching to a new system was to make it easier for the learner to conveniently and independently access course content. In the new LMS, students can quickly start, pause, and resume learning via a simplified, intuitive path for navigation.   

Additionally, the new LMS provides a strong technical foundation that enables us to take advantage of the latest innovative tools in L&D. For example, we recently added new interactive simulations that leverage 3D technology.  

Interactive Tools Keep Learners Engaged 

For many learners, hands-on training is the most efficient way to master new material. SCTE•ISBE uses interactive technology to simulate hands-on experience and make it easier for remote employees to connect real-life scenarios to traditional content. We have found that the most effective simulations focus on practical applications, like network troubleshooting or performing a return sweep, and can usually be completed in under ten minutes.  

The new learning management system also features gamification-style leaderboards to spur friendly competition as well as mobile games to support knowledge absorption and retention. Gamification is a proven method for motivating learners of all ages and pairs exceptionally well with remote training. This approach is not only fun, it also provides a low-stress environment that encourages learners to challenge themselves and take risks without the fear of failing.  

Microlessons Offer Knowledge on the Go  

Every individual process information differently, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. At the same time, attention spans are shrinking, and even outside of the pandemic, dedicating several hours to training is not always feasible. SCTE•ISBE goes to great lengths to provide educational content in a variety of formats, so whether a cable professional is looking for an in-depth course to prepare for certification or a quick refresher on basic engineering, they find what they need.   

Several years ago we launched microlessons, or short video lessons that last from two to 10 minutes and cover everything from tips for enhancing leadership skills to overviews of the industry’s emerging technologies. The response has been remarkable: 50 microlessons have more than 8,500 combined views to date. And our learners tell us they appreciate having access to easily digestible content when they are unable (or unwilling) to commit to longer sessions. 

The new LMS also enables users to quickly provide Kirkpatrick Model Level 1 feedback. Learners are able to rate a course at any time by simply clicking one of the five stars. So far, our learners have given these short microlessons 4.5 out of 5 stars.  

Supporting Learners Today and Beyond 

Over the last year, L&D leaders throughout the industry have had to rethink their educational strategies, in some cases adopting ad-hoc, short-term fixes practically overnight. For better or worse, the current health crisis has given rise to a crucial inflection point for our profession. 

As the world evolves, we must remind ourselves that the needs of learners will evolve as well. Understanding and embracing the modern worker is the first and most important step in embracing long-term solutions that will transform the learning experience for years to come. 

Robin Fenton is the vice president of membership and learning operations at SCTE•ISBE, the not-for-profit member organization leading the acceleration and deployment of cable telecommunications technology. Fenton’s team develops and facilitates industry certifications and training courses for professionals at all levels of the cable industry. For more information, visit www.scte.org.