Technology Plus Formal and Informal Learning Strategies=FUN

When you’re having fun, you are much more relaxed and you remember more—almost by accident!

By Heather Loisel, Chief Marketing Officer, Skillsoft

What if you could transform learning from an obligation to an activity a person enjoys? This would significantly improve engagement for your users. One of the secrets to doing this is using technology. Designing such an experience that’s both appealing and interesting is a challenge, but when it’s done right, it can help people move mountains. In the past, learning was a solitary event that left users exhausted with click fatigue. Today, the learning experience, with the aid of technology, is richer, continuous, and more community oriented.

At Skillsoft, we know learning is more effective when it’s fun. When you’re having fun, you are much more relaxed and you remember more—almost by accident! Learning is fun and user centric when you connect formal, informal, and collaborative learning with technology. To improve your programs and keep learners engaged, try some of these strategies:

Grab and keep people’s attention with a great technology experience.

Technology based learning works—even with kids. A child’s attention span is short, but frankly, so are adult attention spans. We know that technology meets this challenge because Skillsoft partners with the e-Learning for Kids Foundation, an organization that provides courseware in math, science, reading, and keyboarding for children ages 5 to 12 worldwide, at no cost. Children learn directly from the courseware, freeing up the teachers to help with problem-solving and coaching. To date, the foundation has changed 7 million children’s lives as a result of partnerships with providers such as Skillsoft.

How does this work? Let’s expand our thoughts to include adult learners. Technology allows students and adults learners to have a customized, one-to-one training experience. They experience formal learning through technology. And technology-enabled learning isn’t boring—it’s learning through the lens of consumer Web experiences. Learners don’t check their consumer tendencies at the door. That means if the learning technology mimics the characteristics of popular Websites, learners will assimilate more quickly. Technology is a critical success factor here. For Skillsoft customers, this is possible with Skillport 8, Skillsoft’s learning management system (LMS) platform, which is a visual experience, highlighting relevant resources that apply directly to that learner.

Get a formal or informal personal trainer.

Training is about connecting users to relevant content in order to quickly learn a new skill or concept. To cement learning, training should combine informal and formal methods—using a variety of media—videos, books, and courses. Community-oriented features are effective as they encourage participation and help users get targeted information from subject matter experts within their organization.

This type of functionality provides a forum for senior leaders to communicate and reiterate key business initiatives to the organization and tie them to pieces of learning content that support those initiatives. Peers also can connect and leverage the valuable informal networks of experts and “who’s in the know” in your organization.

Learn wherever you are.

Location doesn’t matter anymore. Organizations can train employees consistently across the globe with the use of technology. Users can access informal and formal materials 24×7 and fit learning in when it’s convenient for them, saving time and money. And when it’s not boring, they’ll use it.

Technology allows the e-Learning for Kids Foundation to cross all borders. “One of the most powerful applications of the Internet is the opportunity to deliver high-quality courseware—courseware that’s designed to enhance the effectiveness of learning for a new generation of children,” says Nick van Dam, Ph.D., founder and chairman of the e-Learning for Kids Foundation and chief learning officer, Global Talent, Deloitte.“We have the duty as a society to provide all children around the world with the best learning solutions to be successful in their lives.”

By enabling the right technology for learning, employees are in control and empowered to further their professional development. As a result, organizations are productive, agile, and effective when their employees have the right training. Thinking through these strategies can help you to define a successful program for your learners—those who are adults and those who are kids at heart.

Heather Loisel is the chief marketing officer at Skillsoft. Skillsoft provides cloud-based learning solutions for its customers worldwide, ranging from global enterprises, government, and education to mid-sized and small businesses. For more information, visit

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.