What corporate education can learn from B2C learning?

In the corporate sector, learning teams have to create learning or make learning accessible and relevant, usually to multiple 100’s if not 1000’s of users in various global locations. I have been part of these teams and often felt that we were only scratching the surface with the possibilities. Only occasionally hitting the sweet spot for a large amount of users with outlier courses that just hit a nerve in the company.

With the lead up to Thanksgiving and Christmas sales, my inbox is being flooded by messages of great course deals by B2C course providers some private and some more widely known like Udemy and Lynda for example. Because of the messages I logged back into Udemy and started cleaning up my wish list and delving into some courses, which I had bought but hadn’t made time for yet.

Immediately that triggered more messages, to tell me about related courses I might be interested in. The fact that these new messages inviting me to look into more courses related to what I was learning already, made me look again. I am at some level suspicious sometimes that I will get pitched courses to me that I have already bought. So far I haven’t seen duplicates in my account, but there is no little messages like for example in Pinterest to say “Psst you already pinned that one” or in this case “Psst, you already bought that course”.

It made me reflect that the personalised messages both to my inbox and on the platform, truly work to make me consume more courses. I have often bought a course to learn about a new technology and then not wanted to pursue anything more in that field, because I have learned enough to realise it isn’t going to be of that much use to me. So far I have 49 courses sitting waiting for my attention in Udemy, 10 on my wishlist and 54 in my archive, where I feel I have either completed them or found I got what I needed out of them and moved on since.

In the corporate learning world, in our gamification work we often talk about reminders and inviting people back with personalised learning messages. Immediately this tends to encounter reluctance and criticism for fear of overloading inboxes. In my case I route all learning related emails to a folder in my inbox and I choose when to look at this, in the corporate world you can do exactly the same. Then you choose when to look at it. In our gamification designs, when one of the goals is to increase learning activity, we recommend reminders and nudges to come back. Just making new material available is not enough for your learners, in their role learning is not their first objective, rather doing a great job is.

Messaging in gamification is often considered as additional and not quite relevant, but I tend to disagree. In business related gamification messaging is essential if you want to drive changes in behaviour. You remind and invite people back into your game, with things that attracted them already and nudge them forward to achieve their goal whether that is learning a new skills, dipping into a topic to find what they need and mark it accomplished or whether you peak their curiosity to delve into new materials.


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