Digital learning must complement, not replace

Digital learning is gaining in importance, because the digital transformation does not stop at learning. Continuing education in companies, organizations and learning opportunities offered by institutions are becoming increasingly digital. Current infection control measures additionally accelerate this development.
What we notice in conversations with new customers and interested parties is that the comparison between classroom situations and digital learning is often seen as an either-or, rather than a both-and decision. In our view, this view leaves a lot of untapped potential, because learning can only be designed in the best possible way if the strengths of analog and digital learning are combined.

Analog learning experiences are more intense than digital ones

What’s the best experience you’ve ever had in a learning situation? Feel free to take a moment before reading on. Can you think of anything? When we talk about this in the team or ask clients this question in workshops, they often mention situations with outstanding trainers or remember the one teacher who was particularly inspiring in school. Also included are discussions in learning groups or working in a quiet room, where you have spent days on a problem.

In fact, the memory of a webinar, eLearning, or printed self-study course never came up in the process.

What does that mean?

Now, that’s not to say that learning experiences interacting with other people are bad per se or always have to be particularly great. But the answers clearly indicate that analog learning experiences form more potential for high intensity and sustainability. And also that even with the best video software, we can’t represent the intensity of educational experiences in the classroom 1:1.

Advantages of digital learning apps

On the other hand, modern digital learning apps can offer functions that cannot be presented in analog form or only with a great deal of effort:

  • Advanced learning apps can select learning content based on the individual’s needs. This is where we talk about adaptive learning.
  • They can provide continuous moments of reflection, even after content has already been worked on by learners. We have described more on this topic in the context of learning transfer here .
  • Learning content can be made more accessible than is possible with analog learning, regardless of time and place. Especially currently during a time marked by infection control measures a valuable feature.

Combining analog and digital learning optimally

With chunkx, we have developed a learning app that offers precisely these functions and thus optimally complements analog learning experiences – for every subject area, every topic and for both companies and educational institutions.

Need-based learning:

In chunkx, courses are broken down into their smallest possible units. Which of these small learning units is selected, when and how often, depends on the individual user’s level of knowledge and learning needs.

Continuous Learning:

For digital learning to succeed in the long term, it must become a regular occurrence. Instead of checking off a topic once, chunkx takes advantage of time and location independence and reselects content for users even weeks, months, and possibly even years after it was edited. Both analog classroom training and digitally conducted webinars can thus be perfectly complemented.

Connecting topics instead of separating them:

For digital learning to enable continuity, it must connect diverse topics for the user in one feed. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and our news apps only work because they use algorithms to select relevant content for us from a wide variety of sources. In learning sessions in chunkx, learners therefore only select content relevant to them from all their voluntary or mandatory courses and providers.

Digital learning with chunkx

Only when digital and analog learning complement each other optimally and we talk less about replacing and more about reinforcing each other can we design qualification and further training in the best possible way. With chunkx, we offer you a tool to expand both new and existing measures in a targeted manner. Not a customer yet? Then contact us for a personal presentation and let’s discuss together how to improve learning for your target groups. We look forward to hearing from you!

Digitally support learning transfer in companies

Continuing education in companies poses many challenges: Which content, for which target group, in which format, in which frequency, carried out by whom? Professional or layman, you can probably think of many more questions. In this article, we address the question of sustainability, which is complementary to the above: How do we ensure the sustainability of learning interventions? How do we ensure that after a training session all participants do not go over to their daily business and forget what they have learned? How can the transfer of learning take place?
We present different approaches and also show how we support you with chunkx to increase learning transfer and turn unique learning moments into sustainable learning experiences.

Factors for successful learning transfer

Learning transfer stands for the ability to transfer a learned problem solution to another, comparable situation. Sustained learning transfer rarely occurs through a single learning activity. Or have you ever done an e-learning or attended a single training and made a lasting change in the way you work afterwards? If not, it raises the question of what the investment in learning was worth if it does not lead to change. After all, companies spend a lot of money on the creation and implementation of learning measures and participants invest a lot of time in which they are not working productively. The transfer of learning is therefore very important and significantly decisive for the success or failure of a measure.

Three crucial factors that contribute to successful learning transfer are what we want to highlight in this article:

  1. Emotional events
  2. Time
  3. Repetition

1. the importance of emotional events for the transfer of learning

A sustainable transfer of learning is made possible by internalizing the content. Internalization, on the other hand, takes place when learning events are not only run through rationally, but are experienced emotionally.

Emotionality here does not mean that we make the seminar participants cry or that everyone lies on the floor laughing. The latter is perhaps not to be rejected in principle, but it is a difficult goal to achieve (you can learn how humor can be used meaningfully and purposefully in continuing education and in leading teams from Wiebke Schulz, for example). Emotions can already be generated through intensive listening or the mental transfer of what is learned to one’s own experiences. This is favored by so-called irritation experiences, which trigger specific emotions in participants. If a salesperson fails frequently in dealing with objections, he or she has already had the irritation experience and is likely to start motivated in an appropriate training. However, if he does not experience the failure as such, he is probably indifferent to the training and still needs the irritation experience.

Experiences of irritation thus result, for example, from the fact that everyday routines of action fail and a difference from one’s own level of knowledge and understanding is experienced. Only out of this experience of difference do personal reasons for learning arise for the participant and the participant.

1.1 How can irritation experiences and thus emotional learning events be achieved?

For example, by asking at the beginning of an event why the people attending have chosen the seminar and what they hope to gain from it. In this way, the personal reference can be established, which can be addressed in the learning process.

Self-reflective questions during or after the learning activity help to stimulate reflective processes in learners and link what they have learned to their own experiences.

Furthermore, irritation experiences can be stimulated through role plays and exchange of experiences between participants.

1.2 Digital support for emotional learning events

The above approaches can be implemented both analog and digital. Especially in measures without a tutor or trainer, it is difficult to encourage participants to participate personally. But even when using learning media, care can be taken to emphasize the “why?” at the beginning and to regularly ask self-reflective questions that invite people to apply what they have learned to their own experiences.

1.3 Learning content in chunkx

When creating learning content, our trained writers make sure to regularly incorporate reflective questions into our micro-learning units of chunkx. Most often this happens in feedback after a learning task. However, there is also the possibility to set up the whole learning task as a so-called reflexive task. Feel free to contact us about this and we’ll tell you more about what’s important to us when creating digital learning content.

What about you, are you already using reflective tasks? When was the last time and do you feel they helped with learning transfer?

2. the relationship between learning time and learning transfer in corporate learning

The adjective “sustainable” in the title of this article stands for the consideration of a longer period of time and thus already includes the time component. However, time also plays a role in achieving sustainable learning: it is obvious that the chances of achieving a sustainable impact are higher with a 5-day training than with a 1-hour workshop. Unfortunately, however, there is only a very limited amount of time available and the question is always, how do you achieve learning goals most efficiently? In other words, with the least possible investment of money and time.

There is no blanket rule for weighing how much time to devote to a topic. Rather, it depends on how complex the topic is and how important it is for the target group or the company.

2.1 Digital support for productive learning time

Used responsibly, digital tools can help us use time more productively. For in-company training, it is advisable to examine existing blended-learning concepts and further optimize them with the help of digital tools. Blended learning is about combining methods and media in the best possible way. Consider, for example, a 1-day training on “Presentation and Facilitation of Workshops.” Methods will be presented, knowledge about them will be imparted and the application will be practiced together. The methods can be beautifully presented beforehand with a learning video, a short web-based training, a PDF, an email, or with chunkx. Knowledge transfer can also already take place in part with the digital tools. The practical exercises could still be carried out in the training, but this could then be done in four hours instead of eight. The four hours saved are not fully replaced by the digital tools for every participant and every participant. Instead, participants with prior knowledge will need less time. 

Our learning app chunkx even supports by making learning content adaptive and according to. of the level of knowledge can be selected for the individual users. The content selection is readjusted to the user after each individual action. You can read more about adaptive learning in chunkx in this blog post . And we have written more about learning time in chunkx in this article.

Making learning time more productive is one thing. Making it continuously productive over a longer period of time is another. For us, the focus in developing chunkx from the beginning was to free learning from the time constraints of a workshop or online training. Because you probably know it too: everything we don’t use right after a workout fades faster than we’d like. Therefore, it is important to provide continuous moments of reflection after the main learning time and to deal with the fact that the transfer of learning does not take place in a single second, but distributed over a longer period of time. The micro-learning approach we have chosen is suitable for this purpose, among other things: learning content is divided into small micro-units that are interrelated but can also stand on their own. This decomposition allows us to stretch the engagement with new content over a longer period of time and to select content according to. of the strengths and weaknesses of the respective user. However, it is not only new content that plays a role in the success of learning transfer, but also the repetition of content that has already been covered.

Want to hear more about learning transfer and the role of engaging learning tasks? Then take part in our workshop.

3. the importance of repetition for the transfer of learning

In classical learning formats, as they have already been listed several times in this article, repetition takes place if only in the form of summaries. This means that it is assumed in online training that we independently repeat content that we have not understood. Most of the time, however, we don’t even find out that we didn’t understand the content correctly. At most, the learning objectives are checked at the end of the learning measure, which in turn does not trigger any targeted repetition of the content.

This means: Repetition does not take place in most digital learning solutions.

It is estimated that learning material has to be repeated about six times in order to store it in long-term memory. This has nothing to do with memorization – this would require much more frequent repetition – but rather with consolidating what has been learned and having it ready for transfer in everyday working life.

3.1 Digital support for learning repetitions

In our micro-learning app chunkx, we take a completely new approach and repeatedly incorporate small repetitions of previously learned content. The frequency and selection depend on the user and what he or she is good at and not so good at. To achieve this goal, we are breaking down the outdated separation of learning and testing. Each micro-learning unit in chunkx contains a learning task, which on the one hand interactively stimulates learning processes in the learner and on the other hand helps our app to learn what should be repeated and what should not. This not only creates an individualized and adaptive learning experience, but also provides optimal support for learning transfer.


Sustainability and a successful transfer of learning are crucial for the success of learning measures. We have elaborated on whyemotional events, time, and repetition are important factors in learning transfer and how to best use each.

With chunkx, we offer you a tool to expand both new and existing measures in a targeted manner. Not a customer yet? Then contact us for a personal presentation and let’s improve learning in your organization together.