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How to inspire the best in your digital learning

Sarah Vaughan

A confronting thing about this pandemic is the impact it has had and is still having, on our day to day lives. With our comfort zones uprooted and lives overturned, most of us can relate to past lives on ‘hamster-wheels’ and being ‘adrenalin-fuelled’. Some of us potentially may even be starting to enjoy and settle into lockdown, appreciating the enforced slowing down of society as whole. What’s being unearthed during this time is an understanding of our own unique ability to tolerate chaos. Our individual capacity for coping with crisis is being tested, and our resilience when faced with collective distress is pushing us all forward.

One of the things helping people get through this period is the role of digital and online learning. I know for myself it has been a solace. Escapism, for many, in the form of online learning or other simulation-based set-ups, had been an absolute Godsend. The world is now home to ~2.7bn gamers, with the UK hosting more than ~37.3million of us and more and more people are using their mobiles, and tablets, as preferred sources for content delivery mechanism. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the latest VR kit to fully immerse yourself in the experience, just knowing you can access other realms, universes and worlds, interacting with other people, whilst the world suffers the century’s worst global pandemic, can be of comfort for many.

Digital learning and the quality of content we create, as contributors to the industry of online learning, has never been more crucial. If human-centred design is the most critical factor, consider for a moment our audience groups? Engaging multiple generations of learners, at the same time, with the same materials, has never been more challenging. Before, it used to be a breezy ‘one size fits all’ approach to L&D. Now, we must cater for your traditional classroom, face to face cohort, all the way through to the emerging Gen Alpha, ‘Tik-Tocked, YouTube’d’ micro-nugget’ consumers of digital media. Our learning audiences are changing, their behaviours are morphing, how they interact with technology is being recategorized (daily), just as we as humans are changing, and will continue to change. Therefore, we have now got the most complex, demanding, intelligent group of audiences to create for and train, ever, in the history of homo sapiens. As most digital content providers know the old rhetoric of ‘Being all things to all people’ is not easy. As in life, occasionally we’ll stumble. Often, we’ll fall. We might not always be producing content that’s worthy of Oscar cinematography awards. It might not be perfect, 100% of the time. And that is ok. If I’ve learnt anything at all it’s that what’s important is that we’re still human, we’re doing our best, and acknowledging this is what matters.

So, whether it’s a short video animation, or a more interactive 15-30-minute bespoke course. Catering for agile mindsets requires discipline and method. Many positive contributions to society are coming out of this experience when combined with emerging learning technologies such as immersive virtual reality-based violence prevention lessons, grief, and death awareness training, as well as simulations enabling self-care and wellness across organisations. Digital learning helps create new neural pathways, potentially warding off neuro-degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Putting the ‘H’ in the ‘human-centred’. These more people-orientated; softer forms of digital content mustn’t be ignored. They provide valuable gateways into the fabric of society we’re now weaving. One which I’m seeing as healthier, more home-and-heart orientated. Something perhaps we’ve all been wishing for, something perhaps which will shine through in our work.

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Sources:

https://financesonline.com/number-of-gamers-worldwide/
https://ukie.org.uk/research#Market

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