Insights

Meet the modern learner

January 16, 2019

Meet Alyssa.  Alyssa is is a junior accountant at a CBD firm.  She is one of the firm’s star performers, and she perfectly fits the profile of a ‘modern learner’[1].

Alyssa spends around 25% of her day processing emails[2] and she is interrupted on average 56 times a day.[3]  It’s any wonder she’s overwhelmed and distracted, and so has precious time to waste on training that does not meet her needs. 

There is no doubt that Alyssa is motivated to learn however.  She is ambitious and her career development is a high priority.  In fact, when it comes to evaluating potential employers, opportunities for personal and professional development are one of the main things she takes into account. 

But if you were to ask Alyssa what she wants from her employment in terms of learning and development, she is not impressed by promises to send her to seminars and pay for courses.  She knows that the best way to learn is ‘on the job’[4], not in a classroom and she demands an employer that facilitates this. 

Alyssa grew up with a smart phone in her hand – in fact she checks her phone some 150 times a day.  She turns to it to communicate with friends and family, for entertainment, for the latest news, and importantly to research answers to problems on just-in-time basis.  Unlike previous generations she can access all of these things as needed, anytime and anywhere by turning to her phone or other device. 

The learning and development needs of Alyssa and her colleagues are much different to employees of previous generations.  The question is whether today’s employers have been able to adapt accordingly.  


[1]Meet the modern learner’ infographic by Bersin at Deloitte, 26 November 2014

[2]Insights from IMPACT 2018: The Rise of the Individual in the Future of Work’, Bersin insights April 5, 2018

[3]You waste a lot of time at work’ Atlassian infographic

[4]Introduction to Modern Workplace Learning in 2018’ Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies