From education to employment

Learner happiness is the key to success


On-the-job training such as apprenticeships are an essential vehicle to transporting thousands of young people to meaningful careers. The Government’s commitment to the future of apprenticeships, signalled in its FE white paper earlier this year, reflects the value that apprenticeships bring to the workforce when delivered effectively. 

The training industry has faced many challenges over the past 18 months and in an industry dependent on the successful outcome of its learners, never has the impact of learner happiness been more vital. 

Studies have shown that learners with a positive outlook retain more information.

Dr David Rock, co-founder of the Neuroleadership Institute explains that,

“people experiencing positive emotions perceive more options when trying to solve problems…and generally perform better overall.’ The emotional state of a learner therefore needs to be a key consideration for training providers. Lester Biddle, technology director, HIT training confirms this link: ‘Statistics have proved the more engaged the learner is the more enjoyment they get from the learning and the higher degree of a successful outcome at the end.’ 

The industry could be guilty in the past of being process driven, and linear in its approach to a set curriculum, but the best way to raise the standard of apprenticeship delivery is to put the learner first, and that doesn’t happen with a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Ian Bamford, COO at Paragon Skills, explains that it’s important to let the apprentice take the lead in their learning,

“Determining learner happiness not only relies on a clear framework for monitoring progression, but also the ability to enhance each individual’s strengths by taking a holistic approach to their learning.  By providing access to the latest digital learning, we are encouraging the apprentice to lead their own learning journey in a style that suits them. This gives them the autonomy to decide how they complete the curriculum with the reassuring support of their designated Personal Tutor. It’s an approach that’s high on engagement.  

“Our results are possibly a good indication that this approach works. Our latest inspection from Ofsted was good. We also have above average success rates across all sectors, which have increased year on year, for three successive years. We’ve also seen an impressive increase in our success rates since implementing this approach with numbers rising from 66.7% to 71.4% in a single year.” Ian Bamford, COO at Paragon Skills.   

Raising the levels of learner happiness and satisfaction in a tech-savvy generation depends on the following approaches: 

  • Today’s apprentices are true digital natives and expect to consume products and services at any time and in any place. A survey by statista shows that 94% of generation Z regularly use a smartphone to access the internet. Accessing content via a smartphone is second nature to them, therefore apprenticeship delivery needs to be mobile-first. 
  • Giving learners the digital tools and the autonomy to decide how they learn is an important aspect of engagement. Taking a singular approach to each learner nurtures their individual strengths and growth in their learning journey.  
  • Make learner happiness and engagement a key metric for apprenticeship delivery.  Build in interactive “personal development” activities to the online curriculum to track knowledge, skills and behaviour at regular intervals.  
  • Pause to listen. Track learner progress in real-time, rather than wait for course work to be handed in late and hold regular calls or zoom meets to show that you value the learner experience. Invite learners to share their voices and experiences.  

Kirsten Greenlees, Managing Partner at Decoded explains how learner happiness is measured at the digital learning provider,

“We take a data-driven approach, assessing hundreds of data points for every learner at different stages of the course. For example, after each workshop we see an average increase in the confidence of using a data analytics technique of 34%.  

“When monitoring feedback such as it’s, ‘the most exciting thing I’ve done this past year’, or ‘opening up new opportunities and broadening my horizons’… we’re confident our approach to learner happiness leads to success with each and every learner.” 

Brad Tombling, Customer Success Director at training management platform Bud Systems 

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