Overcoming Learning Fatigue with a Learning Campaign Approach

August 26, 2019 - 4 minutes read

Last week I delivered a presentation at the Melbourne L&D Leadership Summit. Titled “Beyond one & done – Delivering performance with learning campaigns” I discussed the implementation of campaign learning, a progressive learning event with multiple points of contact over time, that provides a more agile and effective approach to delivering performance outcomes.

After the event I was asked a great question – “How do you minimise learning fatigue if we are taking the learning campaign approach?” The question was because I was likening the learning campaign approach to a marketing campaign and “we all delete marketing emails or notifications, even if they are from our favourite brands or even about things we are interested in”.

I think the simple answer is, that with anything, moderation is required. A learning campaign approach that constantly spams you with points of learning, notifications and updates, as some marketing campaigns do, would result in a level of learning fatigue. This learning fatigue would result in learner disengagement which would impact on performance outcomes. The volume of learning being delivered would need to be done in a moderate way, with learning events spaced appropriately over time.  

I believe that if we were to compare a two hour “one & done” learning event (say a webinar or face-to-face event) and a learning campaign with multiple points of learning appropriately spaced over 6 weeks, we would be seeing greater levels of fatigue during the one & done event than the learning campaign. I liken this to a fitness analogy. If you were asked to do 120 push-ups in one event there is going to be a level of fatigue and, unless quite fit, you probably aren’t going to achieve the performance target required. Whereas, if we were asked to do twice as many push-ups but over a six-week period it would be a much easier task to achieve.

One may argue that having to do the same task continually over a period may result in a different type of fatigue – more likely fatigued by the repetition. For this reason, I would be advocating a mix of media to deliver the learning campaign. Back to the fitness analogy, maybe we mix it up with push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. Delivering the points of learning through a range of methods and media provides different ways to engage learners and helps to minimise the fatigue.

I would also be advocating different points of learning to ensure engagement and minimise fatigue. In our Campaign Learning Playbook we discuss using different points of learning to excite, inform and provide opportunities for reflection, social learning and implementation. Variety is (apparently) the spice of life and will help to reduce learning fatigue.

We have also seen the different points of learning benefit in engaging the disengaged learners. Often, we see that learners attending a one & done event are not interested because they have not yet been explained how the learning will benefit them, have not been “switched on” for the event or provided opportunities to reflect, share or implement. The greater towards being disengaged then the easier for learning fatigue to occur. Conversely, the more engaged they are the longer it takes for learning fatigue to kick in.

I’m sure you all have your favourite marketing campaigns that we are engaged by and it would take a lot to make you sick of those ads.

If you are interested in knowing more about learning campaigns click the link above to get access to our Campaign Learning Playbook or post a comment below and keep the conversation going.