Last updated: 10.06.21

Virtual College releases report on how to create training for the learner

A lot has changed in the world of learning and development in the last year, namely the big move to digital learning, which many businesses had to undertake to ensure that their training could be carried out in remote settings.

But another significant change is how learners want to learn. They have been introduced to a new way of working, and have been given more freedom and flexibility with their time, both which seem to have had a significant effect on how they want to learn.

Virtual College, a digital provider with over 25 years’ experience, recognised the importance of understanding learners’ needs and expectations when it came to training, as well as understanding how valuable those insights could be to businesses who were planning and developing training programmes. In an attempt to discover these insights, they sent out a survey titled ‘Understanding our Learners’, which was completed by over 2,000 learners from a range of industries and roles. They asked 24 questions in total, including:

  • How is learning perceived in your business?
  • How does your employer support your learning development?
  • What motivates you to learn at work?
  • When looking to develop a new skill, in or out of work, how would you choose to learn?
  • What elements do you think are needed to create a really effective learning experience?

There were three clear themes in the answers: how to create training to suit the learner, how organisations can support their employees, and what the future of Learning and Development might look like. Virtual College have since gone beyond the results, analysed them and expanded upon each theme, and are producing three reports which will be released throughout the year.

The first report is titled Creating Training to Suit the Learner, and was released in early June. Drawing on the findings about how much time learners have to learn, which learning mediums they like to use, what their ideal learning environment is and more, the report offers best practice guides, practical tips and useful infographics which they hope will help businesses when developing their training. The report covers topics such as:

  • How to create a successful learner journey
  • How to create training that will engage the learner
  • Learners’ expectations of the training provided by their organisation
  • How much time learners have to learn vs how much they would like to have

They also interviewed industry expert, Cathy Hoy, the Chief Learning Officer at The Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), who shared her thoughts and ideas about the importance of listening to learners’ changing needs, and how to keep them at the forefront of the training programme.

She explains why learner insights are so beneficial to businesses. ‘Insights and information such as these, which have come straight from the learner, are essential for businesses if they want to create a training programme that works.  A successful training programme will not only get the desired metrics – high completion rates – but it should also result in the desired behaviour change. Overall, learners want to learn and businesses now have to help set the scene for that. This approach has positive effects for businesses in the long-term as it helps employee retention and loyalty and businesses will benefit from these skills and a stronger workforce, turning them into a stronger organisation overall.’

Simon Falconer, Chief Marketing Officer at Virtual College, explains their drive to create this report and why it is more important than ever. ‘In this current climate, when things are changing so quickly, it’s vital for businesses and learning and development professionals to understand what learners really want – they are the centre of your training programme after all!

Businesses are struggling with knowing how to put the learner first and how to make training that is suitable for them so we wanted to offer something that would help put them on the right track. With brilliant insights from a wide range of our learning base, and our in-house and external experts, these reports should do just that – a useful tool that businesses can use to find answers to many of the important questions they may have, and ultimately, provide their leaners with the support and training programme that they need to grow and develop.’


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