Learning trends

Beware the Risk of “Learning Fatigue”

Duration 3 minutes Modified on
Risk of “Learning Fatigue”

Article 2 of 5
This article is the 2nd component of the qualitative study produced for CrossKnowledge among a representative sample of its customers across 4 markets with different cultures and maturity levels in terms of online training practices.
Study carried out by SpringVoice, a marketing research and strategy consultancy specializing in questions of positioning, understanding customers and purpose.

The need for effective and impactful training is increasingly clear, and its benefits are even clearer. Whether its via digital or classroom learning, acquiring and improving skills is now seen as a huge opportunity for personal and professional development, helping learners achieve fulfillment. But the risk of learning fatigue is real and ever-present.

It can be a way to respond to various driving motivations:

  1. increase performance and remain competitive, thereby increasing an employee’s value on the job market
  2. career advancement and better opportunities which help attract and retain top talent
  3. achieve personal fulfillment and feed curiosity and an appetite for learning
  4. develop agility, anticipate changes, opportunity for reskilling or upskilling

It is also a vital means of adapting to ever-demanding professional fields, especially when confronted with multiple pressures:

Your (work) life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change

Learning helps to strengthen ties with the company and create a fruitful and reciprocal culture of exchange. Overall, the benefits and motivations for corporate learning are undeniable.

Is there such a thing as learning that’s too structured?

Examining the various pathways towards goals and the varied experiences of learners can reveal a very complex reality. On the one hand, constantly acquiring new skills can turn individuals into better versions of themselves. For many people, the structure and organization of corporate learning that can be counter-productive or demotivating. When faced with too many course requirements or choices, learners talk about reaching a kind of saturation point, a phenomenon called “learning fatigue”.

What causes learning fatigue?

There are several possible contributing factors:

It is crucial to consider the possibility of learner fatigue when selecting subject matter and designing courses for corporate learning, to allow for some amount of autonomous learning and personal choice in skills development. Learners should feel that they are more than passive participants and they need to see the benefits that the trainings will have on their career goals.

Access to learning just isn’t enough to deliver real results

Simply providing an access to learning, such as that offered by LinkedIn Learning and Coursera, can never provide true learning outcomes or long-term results. Organizations need to adopt a genuine strategy in relation to the content offered, one that takes into account the frequency of training and each person’s specific levels, needs and aspirations. This means that each learner’s underlying motivations must be fully understood and appreciated, and the training must be designed with the individual in mind to be truly effective.

If you enjoyed this, continue on with the 3rd article in our original research series!