The Modern Learner, as viewed in the infographic below, has a desire to learn, but they are desperately trying to keep up. “Today’s modern learner is overwhelmed, distracted, and impatient. They want learning content that is relevant, focused and succinct, timely, mobile, and engaging.”
While the Bersin by Deloitte Modern Learner research is directed towards corporate employees, the agriculture industry can learn from the concept.
For example, “learning initiatives must be good for both the learner and the business, in order to be good for the business.” As more and more people turn to their smartphones to find just-in-time answers on social media and search engines, you can use these windows of opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise to advance the dialogue around food and farming.
To create a foundation upon which you can build engagement through learning:
- Become a Nerd of Trust: According to 2016 data from the Pew Research Center, nearly 62% of adults in the U.S. got their news from social media, up from 49% in 2012. I think we can safely assume there’s been another jump in that number over the last year. Furthermore, since research from the Center for Food Integrity shows that most people get their ‘trustworthy’ information from family and friends, you’re missing a giant opportunity for outreach if you’re not on the most popular social media sites, taking part in conversations and sharing myth-busting information. Your audience is listening and the advantage of them being personally connected to you is just that: they know and trust you.
- Prioritize the learner: Your content should be designed to drive the type of behaviour change you’d like to see in your audience. By prioritizing their learning and information goals you’ll stand a better chance of capturing their attention, sticking in their mind, and making them want to come back time and again. It’s not all about what you want to say, but rather responding to what your audience wants to know.
- Go little or go home: According to the Bersin infographic, people won’t watch videos longer than four minutes and website designers have only five to 10 seconds to grab your attention before you move on to the next shiny thing. (Squirrel!) Keeping this is mind, design your messages, videos, etc. to be succinct and impactful. It may take a few tries, but eventually you’ll hit on the right language that intrigues, resonates, and teaches. “Focus on what really matters, get rid of clutter, and present content that can be easily consumed and digested.”
- Provide accessible, mobile learning: In addition to fitting within the above-mentioned attention span, your messaging should incorporate learning solutions that cut through the noise and are accessible when and where your audience needs information and answers. This ‘just-in-time’ approach means your platforms and messages should be tailored to an online audience and mobile functionality.
- Create transparency and trust: When sharing information or citing sources, provide credible, up-to-date information from a qualified source. Organizations like the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity can help you learn how to lead the public discussion and foster understanding within the food system by building consumer trust and confidence. You can also surf around our website to learn more about the science behind making messages resonate and stick.
Above all, you need to make sure your content is relevant, logical, personal, and engaging. It’s a tall order, but getting your information out in front of the right audiences is win-win.