Let Employees Learn On Their Terms

Let Employees Learn on Their Terms, Not Yours

Today, more and more companies recognize the importance of engaging team learning. But a logical question often is, “What should that learning look like?”

This series of blogs spells things out pretty clearly: do this when building team learning, and don’t do that. These best (and worst) practices provide a framework for effective and engaging learning that increases employee productivity and confidence.

Do This: Let employees learn when, where, and how they want

The rise of online training software has enabled learners to engage with content anywhere, and a lot of science has emerged regarding individual learning styles and preferences. Even within a single office building, some employees prefer to learn at their desks while others are more comfortable learning in quiet meeting spaces.

Still, others might learn best in a context Jean Lave and Etienne Wegner coined “situated learning.” It says that more information is absorbed “when learning takes place in the same context in which it is applied.” So customer service or sales reps might understand information more if they consume it at the desk they’ll be calling from.

Online learning is essentially a necessity for remote employees. Beyond the time and cost savings related to travel, remote employees often benefit from a little more structure and training than their in-house counterparts. Basic office rules that are passed through casual in-person conversations can be codified in lessons that are assigned to remote employees.

Unless the information is mission-critical, there are huge benefits to allowing employees to train on their own time.


Time-of-day influences how well people learn. Early birds may have no trouble rising at the crack of dawn and sitting down to absorb information immediately, while night owls might prefer to stay up later for their studies. And both may feel downright woozy after a big lunch, therefore missing critical points of a lesson. As a result, managers should recognize that learners learn differently and aim to make them more comfortable in their environments.

So what’s the best practice? Send learners a lesson covering the basic knowledge that they need to know, and allow time for them to cover this information at their leisure, absorbing as much as they can. Managers can then focus face-to-face meetings on uncovering deeper meaning and applying the information. Allowing for this type of training to be completed on employees’ time puts less pressure on them, even if the knowledge is important. And by establishing a clear deadline, employees can maximize their learning effectiveness by diving into the material when they know will work best for them.


Learners can access training systems and software on many devices these days, and they’ll likely express preferences for using certain devices over others. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish the dream of mobile learning for organizations and their employees. The most popular mobile solution is learning software that is accessible from a web browser. Responsively-designed web content changes layout dynamically based on the screen size of the device looking at it—mobile phone, laptop, or desktop.

Choosing learning software that’s mobile-friendly immediately offers learners the flexibility to learn from a desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or a tablet. Employees can sit down and learn anywhere they have a web browser and connection to the internet. This degree of autonomy requires a certain level of trust, but also often creates more engaged learners.

Not That: Force employees to learn on your terms

These three points all have the same counterpoint: Don’t set overly-stringent rules for how your team takes their lessons.

Few things feel more insulting to learners than a timer saying they can’t move on until a predetermined amount of time elapses. Long, in-person training sessions that feature employees being talked at are not fun for anyone. Try to avoid approaches like these.

Forcing learners and employees to comply with company policies—or else face punishment—leads to disengaged and frustrated employees. But when planned correctly, employee-centered learning can be just as effective as those programs dictated completely by the company.

Build flexible team learning with Lessonly

Teams all around the world use Lessonly to support and enable their remote employees. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of our team learning software and see how it works. Sign up today.

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