Learning Campaigns: A New Way to Train

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Learning campaigns are the future of L&D – why? They’re perfect for the modern learner!

What Is a Learning Campaign?

In the past, training developers have overlooked something important: Learning doesn’t happen in one event. It’s a journey that takes place over time as information is absorbed, contextualized and put into practice.

Because of this oversight, when people hear the words eLearning or online learning, they imagine huge units taking anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes to complete.

Learning campaigns flip the old model on its head. Instead of ineffective information dumps, the content arrives in smaller, bite-size chunks.

The easiest way to picture a learning campaign is to look at another type of campaign with a long history of success: the marketing campaign.

What are the Benefits of a Learning Campaign?

1. They Help Fight Against the Forgetting Curve

Campaign learning reinforces your training. Reinforcement helps in the fight against the big bad wolf of the L&D industry: The Forgetting Curve.

The late-century psychologist, Dr Hermann Ebbinghaus, tested his memory from the period of 1880-1885. He concluded that on average we forget 80% of what we learn within 30 days.

The good news is, like all good doctors, Dr Ebbinghaus also found some antidotes! He found that spaced repetition dramatically helps in the fight against forgetting.

This is where learning campaigns come in!

When a company implements a learning campaign they are buying into the power of repetition. Content is scheduled for release over a selected period of time. Over time, learner’s knowledge builds and the content gets progressively more challenging. This helps you walk your learners along the different stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

By employing campaign learning, you’ll give learners a well-needed break in-between instalments, fending off cognitive overload. This will help with Knowledge Retention as it provides learners with time to absorb and practice their learnt content.

2. They Encourage Behavioural Change

If there’s one thing every business wants to see from its L&D department, it’s Behaviour Change.

Behaviour Change is a necessity if workers want to to keep pace with technological advances within their industries. But Behaviour Change doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes 66 days to form a habit.

In neuroscientific terms, when something new is learnt, it forms a neural pathway in your brain.

The more the content is repeated, the deeper the neural pathway becomes. The deeper the pathway becomes, the easy it is for your brain to access the info. The brain loves repetition.

This ability the brain has to reorganise itself is called neuroplasticity.

If an aspect of training is covered again and again, like it is during learning campaigns, then you’ll be changing learning behaviours quicker than you can say ‘neuroscience!’

3. They Use Different MediumsLearning Campaigns use different mediums to deliver training

You can use all sorts of different mediums when building your Learning Campaign. You can share video, PDF files, podcast, email, quizzes, images, graphs: basically, you can use anything!

The more varied the mediums in your campaign, the better. Variety will keep learners engaged.

Marketing to Your Learners

The purpose of marketing is to make potential customers aware of a product or service and then move them along to making a purchase. Marketing managers seek to engage these customers and speak to them in a language that’ll resonate with them.

Similarly, training managers need to engage learners and encourage them to change their behaviour. This process happens through four stages:

1. The Hook:

First impressions are important. You need to “hook” the learners and secure their buy-in. Your campaign needs to stand out in a world of information overload. Prominent banners and high-impact visuals will help grab attention. It’s up to you to create a sense of urgency and emphasize the need for the campaign, highlighting what your learners can gain from it.

2. The Response:

Once you have your learners’ attention, you need to give them a reason to keep returning to your platform. For real success, you need to account for the way the learners access the content. Because most people today prefer to use mobile devices than desktops, mobile learning should play a major part in any learning campaign.

3. The Conversion:

In marketing, a conversion means that the customer has bought the product at the centre of the campaign. In learning, you need to ensure that the material in the campaign has triggered a change in behaviour. Unlike their clunky ancestors which relied on formal content, learning campaigns focus on social learning and knowledge-sharing. This is a cornerstone of any advanced organizational culture, but it also lets the training managers see how the learners are applying the training.

4. The Result:

In a learning campaign, the result goes beyond simply communicating a learning objective. Continued learning is the mark of real success. With each campaign you create, you need to be open to the possibility that a community of learning might develop. Once you have a group of learners discussing the topic and helping each other, your learning campaign has done its job!

Learning Campaigns & Marketing Campaigns

It’s the LMS Driver’s job to plan and deliver an awesome learning campaign that engages people and creates behavioural change. So, how can you achieve this in a world of digital distractions, funny cat videos and addictive mobile games? Let’s find out what we can learn from ad land about delivering a winning learning campaign!

1. Strong Value Proposition

The number-one rule of marketing is to create a strong Value Proposition. It may sound a bit dull, but this is where the Epic Meaning comes in. The most successful adverts answer people’s burning desires, goals and the needs-they-didn’t-even-know-they-had. You must do the same!

Every aspect of your training should answer your learners’ key question – ‘What’s In It For Me’. By making the personal benefits of your training clear from the get go, you will keep your learners’ engagement levels high and convince them to invest their time and energy in the learning.

2. Power of Video Content

If an image says a thousand words, imagine what a video can do! Well, I can tell you…Video content helps the message stick in our minds. In fact, 80% of people can recall a video they watched within the last 30 days.

Still need convincing? Take these facts from the advertising world… Real estate listings that include video receive 403% more enquiries than those that don’t. It’s not just prospective home buyers that are video mega fans – 59% of executives would rather watch a video that read a text.

The good news is, video isn’t all about getting people’s attention. Video content also holds our interest. Research shows people spend an average of 2.6 times longer on pages which include video content. It’s clearly worth including video content in your learning campaign to engage learners!

3. Make it Entertaining

Companies like Mobile Strike (the most viewed advert on YouTube of 2016) know that to make an impact their marketing campaign needs to be entertaining, tell a story and generate conversation. The best adverts are the ones we want to watch – the ones people seek out on social media to watch again and again!

Just like the most successful ads, your learning content needs to be entertaining enough to engage learners and keep them coming back for more! How? The best adverts make us feel. In the same way, your learning campaign needs to trigger an emotional response.

Whether that’s to laugh, to roar with triumph, or to ponder life in a new way…Make your learning campaign as compelling as Arnold Schwarzenegger taking on a lift full of gaming addicts!

4. Bite-sized

In today’s world of digital distractions, marketing and learning campaigns alike need to be short and snappy to succeed. Rather than the content putting people to sleep, it needs to keep the audience wanting more. So, how’s it done?

When super entertaining ads and addictive mobile games get together magic happens! Take the hilarious campaign, Clash Royale’s Rule of the Duel, the 5th most viewed advert on YouTube. What made it so successful?

Each promotional snippet tied into the campaign’s storyline. Each instalment was full of stunning visuals,  entertaining content and a clear message. The ads were all under 1 minute long. These bitesize promotional goodies left viewers eagerly anticipating the next instalment or finding it on YouTube!

You can harness similar levels of engagement among learners by using bite-sized learning to drip-feed content straight to their phones. Keep each chunk of content entertaining and meaningful to trigger curiosity and build anticipation.

Keep it short and sweet (if the massively successful Ted Talks can do it in 18 minutes, so can you!). This way, learners will be eager for the next instalment in the learning campaign.

5. Social Success

Social media marketing uses the oldest and most successful marketing tool of all, word of mouth, to generate conversation and fuel consumer interest. And with over 2.3 billion social media users worldwide, that’s a lot of conversation! Social media has transformed marketing from a monologue into a dialogue with consumers.

Take SpecSavers’ award-winning social media campaign, for example. The marketing team use social media to make the global conversation about their glasses!

They take trending topics, such as this year’s Oscar cue-card mishap and transform it into an opportunity to tell the world, ‘Should Have Gone to SpecSavers!’ It works, with their ‘Luis Suarez 2014 Twitter Campaign’ being retweeted 30,000 times in just 6 days. You too can make your online learning something people want to talk about on the LMS message boards.

After all, what’s better than telling learners why they should do the training? Encouraging learners themselves to spread the word about the learning benefits! Promote the training through word of mouth.

Just like marketers want their campaigns to influence buyer behaviour, you can also use the power of social learning to reinforce the training content and create lasting behaviour change.

6. Mobile Magnitude!

Last but not least, ensure your learning campaign is delivered in the right package. Make it mobile! Why? In 2016, 70% of adults accessed the internet on the go.

Most people today choose to access everything they need on their phones – learning content should be no different. To meet modern learners’ technological expectations and on-the-go lives, learning needs to be mobile.

So, however, you choose to communicate your learning campaign make it mobile. This way, your learners can access compelling learning content whenever and wherever they want. The average person touches, taps or swipes their smartphone 2,617 times a day!

Your learning campaign needs to get in on some of that action to make an impact. Create a bite-size learning campaign so engaging it can compete with the endless email, notifications and Snapchat pics pulling on your learners’ attention.

Learning Campaigns and Behaviour Change

Another way to view learning campaigns is to look at how ideas spread throughout a group of people. Everett Rogers came up with his Diffusion of Innovations theory in 1962, but it’s still relevant to today’s information-rich culture. His theory describes the process by which any new idea is adopted (or not) by the people in a social system.

According to Rogers, there are four things that impact the rate of diffusion:

1. The Innovation

In L&D terms, you can think of an ‘innovation’ as the change in behaviour needed to satisfy the goals of the organization. This can cover all kinds of new learning objectives, from simple policy refreshers to major changes in processes.

2. The Communication Channels

In a learning campaign, your communication channels can take many forms, both physical and virtual. As it’s such an important element in driving innovation, you need a social platform that everybody can contribute to, and engage with.

3. Time

Not everybody will adopt a new behaviour at the same time. This is a fact that one-off training interventions tend to ignore. Reinforcing these behaviours over a set period means that your learners can gradually form new habits.

4. The Social System

In the world of training, the social system refers to the culture of the organization. A campaign-based approach to training lets you encourage a culture of learning and knowledge sharing that will make it easier to implement future changes in behaviour.

The Process

In a learning campaign, the learner goes on a journey, at the end of which they accept the new behaviour and incorporate it in their daily lives. Along the way, these intrepid learners will encounter five key milestones:

1. Knowledge

First, the learner will encounter the new learning objective. They might receive an email notifying them of a new piece of training material or see a custom banner on the dashboard of their learning management system. In larger campaigns, this message could even be reinforced by physical posters, or fliers displayed prominently in the workplace.

2. Persuasion

The next step is to convince the learner to act. You need to make sure that they don’t simply ignore the new training initiative. This was a lot harder to achieve in the old days of once-off learning interventions, but with learning campaigns, you get multiple chances to encourage everybody to participate.

3. Decision

Once they’ve consumed the learning content, your learners will decide whether they will change their behaviour as a result. You need to show them the value of the change and make them understand what they can gain from it. Make sure your learning objectives can easily be tied to the individual’s professional goals. If they can see the link between the training and some future promotion, your learners are more likely to engage with it.

4. Implementation

One of the most effective ways to communicate the value of a behaviour is to show it in action. Ask your learners to demonstrate the learning objective, by posting a short paragraph or even a video on your social LMS. This gives you a wealth of highly relevant assets that your learners can relate to and identify with. Once they’ve seen the new behaviour in action, there’s a better chance of your learners trying it out for themselves.

5. Confirmation

At the final stage of the process, your learners have seen what the new behaviour means in practical terms. They can now decide whether to adopt a change in behaviour or disregard it. If they take the lessons on board, you can feel free to celebrate, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t. Since you have an entire campaign’s worth of learner interaction to analyse, you have a better chance of figuring out why the new initiative didn’t have the desired impact.

How to Successfully Launch a Learning CampaignHow to successfully launch learning campaigns?

There are a few simple guidelines to follow when scheduling a learning campaign. Here are three of our top tips:

1. Promote it Beforehand

Building interest is integral when it comes to learning campaigns. It’s like a trailer before a movie. Using channels such as email notifications or even a poster campaign, you can create a sense of anticipation for your upcoming learning campaign.

What’s unique about it? Why should they be looking forward to it? Let them know by creating a mini ad campaign.

2. Analyse What Your Learners Want

Perform a training needs analysis. Discover what your learners want from their training and personalise it. With a campaign designed specifically for your workforce they will be much more engaged.

3. Customise your Training to suit each Medium

As we know, each channel of communication has its own strengths. Releasing a learning campaign via video? Ensure it’s optimised for mobile viewing. Make the visuals are exciting and punchy. Really appeal to those visual learners and increase your learner buy-in. (Did you know, 65% of learners are visual learners?!)

4. Check In with your Audience

You know when you’re halfway through eating at a restaurant, and the waiter/waitress asks if everything is okay? You can do the same during a Learning Campaign. Schedule follow-up emails, videos, or even post on your LMS Newsfeed and consolidate your training! This will help drive Behaviour Change and kick the forgetting curve firmly to the curb!

Final Words

It’s an exciting time to be involved in learning and development. There are more ways than ever to engage learners and secure those all-important changes in behaviour. At the same time, learners’ demands and expectations are changing and we need to adapt to give them what they really need.

Learning campaigns don’t have to replace your current approach – they can in fact become the ideal partner, raising awareness and reinforcing your key messages.

Want to find out more about learning campaigns? Our most recent whitepaper takes a deep dive into the topic and is packed full of practical tips to help you deliver learning campaigns which change behaviour! Interested? Click Here!

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