How 'Netflix for Learning' can work - despite the haters

How 'Netflix for Learning' can work - despite the haters

Alicja King
Alicja King

Senior Content Manager

Nick Hernandez, CEO of 360 Learning started his blog post with the following; 'It’s the end of a long, stressful work week. Finally, time to unwind and relax. You microwave your popcorn, pour a glass of wine, and settle in on the couch to turn on ... a tutorial on video editing? Seems unlikely, right? Yet once a week or so, we hear of another “Netflix for Learning'' initiative'.

And no, we're not going to argue with that. At the end of the (long, stressful) day, nobody wants to relax by learning. But what we do want to argue with, is that...

-the motivation to return to learning,

-the retention created,

-and the personalisation,

can be replicated by certain learning platforms.

In the minds of myskillcamp employees at least, the idea of 'Netflix of Learning' is more about recreating the personalisation, addictiveness, and simplicity of use, of the Netflix platform in a learning environment.


Will to learn

Nick Hernandez, in the same article also said that work is competing for employees' attention. With music, podcasts, social media, chatting to others... there's a lot of noise out there and it's hard for employers to win this battle - especially when it comes to promoting 'training' in employee down-time.

However, we would argue that the will to learn is increasing, it may not be for the sake / or love of learning, but the will to learn is growing. For example, when looking at the newly working generation - Gen Z, '[They're] primed to respond to benefits and perks aimed at avoiding or reducing debt or providing training and education at reduced prices'. Also, since the education level is higher on average than it was a decade ago, we need to learn more in order to stay competitive. So whether it's to get a better job, grow a career, or start a new one - the average person understands how education is beneficial.

Similarly, there are more courses than ever before on specific topics and unique skills, not to mention they're at a competitive price and can be accessed remotely. The ever-descending barrier to entry and the wealth of skills available leads to more people taking it upon themselves to learn.

Ensuring you have a platform that is compatible with these cultural/technological features means you have a better chance of learners returning. Just as the low barriers to entry (low price, downloadable, accessed on multiple devices, works for Netflix, so should it too work for your LMS/LXP/Course provider.


Addictiveness of platform

With Netflix, the sheer amount of options, the autoplay, and of course, the fact it's video, creates a lot of addictiveness. Although eLearning is different, it doesn't mean we can't make it addictive. Take myskillcamp for example. Our LXP offers many multimedia options (like video, quizzes, podcasts, etc) that engage the user. After all, video and audio hold attention for longer (think about the popularity of TikTok, YouTube and Podcasts) which is why we worked hard to give users a simple upload feature for multimedia and we're integrating a video creation tool from our Partner, Powtoon.

We've also found that using Gamification techniques increase the retention rate of users and makes them return to the platform in order to improve, compete, and play by taking courses. Viewing your course score is a tried and true technique we use.

Enabling social interaction on learning platforms also promotes an addictive aspect. It may not be something Netflix does, but it's certainly a main trait of many addictive sites, such as social networks. Not only does it mean teams can chat together, but it enables course trainers and admins to coach and motivate.

Ease of Access

A trait that's consistent among today's successful companies is the ease of access they have. Quick load times, apps, mobile accessible, remembering who you and where you left off... Netflix even autoplays shows if you hover over for too long!

After all, there's a reason why Google rates pages on their loading speeds, people don't want to wait or work hard to get their information. Successful companies' know this, and they have happy users because of it.

We use much of the same traits to encourage users to return. Single sign-on, analytics that log your scores, automatic saving, easy buying options with credits or the myskillcard. Similarly, myskillcamp is working on a recommendation algorithm (based on AI), to identify and suggest the best training for your business needs. Basically, we ensure users don't have to wait, while making the buying of new courses easy, safe, and cost-effective.

Personalisation

Looking (even briefly) into Netflix' algorithms , shows they are the king of personalisation. The platform recommends content based on what has already been watched, and they change a shows 'artwork' to something which has proved to appeal to your tastes.

When it comes to learning, the need for personalisation (even in face-to-face) learning is important. Depending on somebody's existing knowledge, the skills they need to acquire, their learning style... personalisation is key for successful teaching. What's more, eLearning can take this to the next level by introducing follow-up courses automatically, suggesting new skills, and quickly personalising course material with real-life, in-company case studies.

Personalisation is taken a few steps further with myskillcamp. Due to the chat features, anyone can suggest course edits or even platform edits. If a user suggests a way to improve the platform, it’s discussed and (if it helps our users) it’ll be added to the product roadmap.

Similarly, companies can personalise their training hub with company-specific colours, add department-specific camps, allow and restrict course access depending on the learner, and build personalised ‘learning pathways’. Learning paths actually solve a problem that Netflix themselves struggles with; 'choice fatigue'. Building paths for learners means people can make informed choices and about what they study, without a library of content staring back at them.

Company admins can further personalise their offerings to their learners by viewing their analytics - if a course is causing drop-off, if training retention is low, admins can further personalise and adapt what they offer.

Lastly, we give companies the chance to pay for the courses that actually get used. Rather than a blanket cost and hundreds of course subscriptions (that only a fraction of employees use) we have a pay per use payment option.

Bingeing

This is where the 'Netflix of Learning' analogy should take a U-turn. Bingeing (according to *ahem* Oxford Dictionary) ‘is a period of excessive indulgence in an activity’. It’s basically doing something enjoyable to excess, in an almost absent-minded way.

However, if your mind is absent, learning isn't going to occur.

It may be fine for Netflix, because their content is still being consumed, but we need learners to find courses informative, engaging and fun, without being bingeable - a new word for Oxford Dictionary.

To have learners reach their fill, leave, and come back when they're hungry to learn again is our goal. We do this by introducing quizzes, scoring systems and learning pathways. For example, if you take a course quickly but fail the quiz at the end, you can't access the next course.

The finale

The 'Netflix of Learning' is passed around lightly, and in many cases, no... it won't work. There's too much noise, learning isn't a 'hobby' or a 'stress reliever'.

However, the main aspects that make Netflix successful can be recreated in a learning setting. The accessibility, fun, addictiveness, crossed with a growing will to learn keeps our users returning. So yes, it's possible - you just need an LXP like myskillcamp to achieve it.

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