The Science behind How Your Employees Learn

By Leah Belsky, Chief Revenue Officer at Coursera

When delivering L&D programs, too much focus is often placed on the content and teaching, rather than on the employees themselves. To upskill and reskill effectively, understanding how employees learn is important, too. That’s why we have partnered with Barbara Oakley, a distinguished professor of engineering at Oakland University and creator of some of the most popular courses on Coursera, to offer five science-backed recommendations to help build a more impactful, learner-centric L&D program. 

You can download the full list of recommendations from The Science of Learning: 5 Ways to Make Your L&D strategy More Successful E-book. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Help employees master new skills: Encourage combining periods of intense focus with relaxing mental breaks. 
  2. Help employees learn successfully: Consider a range of different content formats suited to different types of learning needs.
  3. Cultivate employee curiosity: Allow space for your employees’ curiosity to flourish, giving them room to carve out their own careers.
  4. Help employees retain the material taught: Provide employees with the space to learn, retrieve and absorb knowledge. 
  5. Encourage employees to go beyond passive listening: Incorporate different layers of interaction into learning experiences. 

A Word from Barbara Oakley on Curiosity (Recommendation #3) 

Barbara Oakley discusses why curiosity is a potent motivator for learning and what formats help satisfy that curiosity.

Short-form content like Clips from Coursera are a great way to pique employee curiosity. Clips teach quick skills while nurturing the desire for more in-depth learning. They consist of more than 200,000 video lessons that deliver new skills in under 10 minutes. 

[Clips] are, I think, a great new format to help encourage what we know works well in learning,says Oakley. “Clips can help encourage that little curiosity — those short bursts of learning often geared to help pique your curiosity.”

The science of learning provides several important insights on how to engage employees despite distractions and competing interests. Shifting to a learner-centric strategy can engage employees more actively — a win for the entire business. 

Find out more about how to create a learner-centric L&D program by downloading our E-book: The Science of Learning: 5 Ways to Make Your L&D strategy More Successful.

The post The Science behind How Your Employees Learn appeared first on Coursera Blog.

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