The human element of the learning process is a difficult one to predict. Even if training content is well-designed and engaging, support for completion is forthcoming and the subject is one that is essential for either education or work, there is still the infinitely complex landscape of a learner’s interior world to be considered. Teaching and learning is an essentially human undertaking encompassing motivation, ability, skill-set, attitude and a wealth of other factors and is not necessarily a simple case of measurable inputs and outputs.
Basically, it’s complex.
In any market it’s entirely natural to focus on product. Product is relatively easy to analyse, to breakdown, to improve if needed. But when it comes to training and other educational offers, the product must always be viewed through the lens of learner interaction and this can be a frightening prospect as learning can be an unpredictable, often chaotic process (in fact, at its best, it often is) and the people doing the learning bring with it their unpredictable, chaotic selves.
Offering the best product is not just about the product itself. It is about an understanding of people and an understanding that sometimes learning isn’t a smooth, clinical process. Learning can be emotive, even painful at times. A user’s motivation may change, increase or diminish, seemingly at whim. Both internal and external factors may have positive or negative effects and these factors are often difficult to pin down.
If an educational product is to be truly successful, the learner, with all their complexities has to be placed at the centre of every stage in the process from inception, design, implementation and beyond. A consideration and understanding of the very real hurdles that are faced by those using the product is essential, and efforts made to try and offset them through a realistic consideration of learners’ lives separate to the product itself.
Learners are people. When it comes to learning people react in different, unpredictable ways. If a business accepts this and adapts to the intricacies of learning behaviour in all its wonderful strangeness it will go some way to achieving maximum outcomes.