The art of healthy learning 

Learning professionals often talk about the lengths they go to support learners, but why then do professionals seem blindsided by the growing number of wellbeing challenges people are experiencing when learning virtually or in a hybrid way?

A growing range of physiological and psychological signals are being reported by participants in our study. Over half (57%) reported feeling tired and nearly a third (28%) feelings of frustration if they experience challenges with the technology.  Other reported wellbeing challenges includes impact on concentration (27%), feeling tired or eye strain (25%), and musculoskeletal impact due to a lack of movement (18%). 

In digging deeper into why these wellbeing challenges are growing, lack of awareness of the impact of learning enabled by technology is at the core of the issue. There’s so much we can do but our study has also highlighted that very little is being done to support people to learn well. 

These issues are particularly challenging to solve because they are built on top of the existing wellbeing challenges workers are facing as remote workers meaning learning is exacerbating these challenges, so urgent action is required by the learning community. 

There are so many things you can do, but here are 3 ways that proven to improve learner wellbeing. By taking an evidence-led approach that’s aligned to what your organisation is already doing will support people in a holistic way and drive sustainable capability changes. 

3 ways to support healthy learning:

Firstly, gather data/insights into the challenges learners are facing 

This could be done by understanding your general working wellbeing challenges, which are hopefully being focused on by leaders/HR, and then looking at how learning is compounding these, why and then by tracking how your adaptions improve wellbeing. Get used to building, testing and learning in a small forum until you get it right, once you’ve done this you can scale up.

Secondly, re-visit the learning design to check that it’s human-centred

All virtual and hybrid learning should include short breaks after each 60 mins of learning, and have opportunities for learners to move around appropriately built into the design. Learners need spaces that are psychologically safe, and they need reminding what you have done to protect their wellbeing, but also that they need to take responsibility for their wellbeing because changing this space for the better requires everyone to take ownership.

Thirdly, upskill all facilitators and SMEs (subject matter experts)

Anyone involved in up-skilling learners should be aware of the data/insights related wellbeing and the adaptions that have been made or are required when learning is delivered. Facilitators and SMEs should become super aware of checking for signs as part of the event e.g. digital body language signals and they should be aware of how just asking or telling people about wellbeing is not a viable option because people may not be confident or capable to share their needs. Wellbeing impacts facilitators and SMEs too so the impact on them should be tracked too. 

There are limitless things we can do to support learners to learn well but there is an art to getting the balance right and this takes an iterative approach to learn what works best, in what situation and with who. What your organisation needs to build is a central space for anyone involved in wellbeing shares what’s working and what’s not so you learn at an organisational level.

Your organisation and learners will need something that fits within your culture so don’t be swayed by what others are doing, instead build, test and learn in your environment until you see evidence that your actions are making the difference you are looking for. Keep sharing successes and failures with us too so we can make sure our community grows.

Read more about what you can do to drive best practice in virtual and hybrid learning here.

If you want to find out more about what we do and how, just join one of our free webinars!

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