In today’s learning landscape, there are many forms of learning. There are instructor-led courses, eLearning (electronic learning) and the recent concepts of mLearning (mobile learning) and learning reinforcement.
eLearning and mLearning are sometimes used in the same sentence but they are fundamentally different ways of learning. The activities are closely related to and often compliment one another. But for those in the know, there is a fundamental difference between learning in all its forms.
Learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills through experience and study. This is true whether learning takes place in a classroom, online, or through a mobile device.
Learning is an internal activity and we cannot directly observe or measure it.
If I have an instructor-based training classroom full of participants, how can I observe learning taking place? I might be able to observe some participants leaning in, actively listening, but is there really learning going on? How can I tell?
The inability to observe and measure learning carries forward to eLearning and mLearning as well. With both of these types of learning, I can’t observe the learner. I can’t see their facial expression or tell whether they’re awake.
The best I can do is measure whether a participant clicked on a link, answered a question, or watched a video. That’s not learning!
All I am really measuring is if the participant can use their mouse or successfully navigate an app on their smartphone.
The bottom line is this: learning is learning whether it is in the classroom, over the Internet (eLearning), or on a smartphone or similar device (mLearning).
How is reinforcement different than training?
Many businesses believe that reinforcement is simple reminders of past learning, but it’s not. Also, it’s not just a regurgitation of the learning that has already taken place.
In some ways, reinforcement is similar to learning in that it can be mobile and/or can happen over the internet. But reinforcement is different from learning in the fact that it has objectives that support the previous learning and helps you create Actionable Intelligence.
Reinforcement increases knowledge retention and actually proves whether the learning that took place was successful.
Reinforcement does all of this by using quick, meaningful, and engaging content targeted at your learning objectives.
The best reinforcement program measures behavior change not by pre and post learning assessments or endless questions used to collect data, but instead, it combines just the right amount of measurement activities, self reflection and fun to establish behavior change over time.
Learning alone can’t do that. Not all learning is the same, but all learning should be reinforced.