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Up until fairly recently, corporate learning was viewed quite simplistically. With software—with any skill, really—the stages of expertise were generally novice or expert, with little in between. Methods of instruction were also lacking breadth.

Then, momentous change occurred over a tiny span of time. With advances in technology, a deeper appreciation for how people learn, changing workplace demographics, and other factors, the need for and understanding of corporate learning and development exploded—in theory, that is.

In addition to better awareness of learning styles, your organization now also has greater access to a range of learning technologies. The tools are easier to come by, they cost less, and they don’t require the kind of long-term commitment as in days past. By now, your organization should be on board with the idea that one-and-done and one-size-fits-all instruction are relics of the past.

The future of corporate learningBut there’s a disconnect. Surveys reveal that, while organizations recognize the importance of learning, many are struggling to take the next step toward improving and updating learning approaches.

According to a recent study by Deloitte, 84 percent of executives surveyed for the Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report indicated that they view learning as an important (40 percent) or very important (44 percent) issue. However, the survey authors write, “Despite the strong shift toward employee-centric learning, many learning and development organizations are still struggling with internally focused and outdated platforms and static learning approaches.”

The current challenge, it seems, is a familiar one: How do you close the knowing-doing gap? How do you turn talk into action?

Here are five things you can do now to ensure your organization keeps pace:

  1. Examine your current learning approach—the content, the pace, the methods of delivery, and participation rates. Does it address your employees’ varied learning preferences, or is it predominantly one size fits all? Do you solicit feedback and act upon it?
  2. If you don’t do so already, consider providing resources that make it easy for employees to get hyper-relevant help in the moment they need it. Examples include microlearning modules, live support, knowledgebase articles, and instructional videos.
  3. Make sure all of your learning resources are accessible and easy to use on mobile devices.
  4. Adopt and embrace an employee-centric approach to learning and development. Link learning with professional growth, and encourage employees to create their own career paths.
  5. Assess your organization’s current state of collaboration, too. Which tools do your employees use the most for communication and collaboration? How proficient are they with the technology? Which tools would they prefer to use? Take steps to improve their proficiency with their current tools, and consider implementing additional applications.

In order to stay competitive, you need to reshape your organization’s learning and development culture—in the same way you and your colleagues are changing overall approaches to move into the digital future. Work today is dynamic and frenetic. Your employees need learning that prepares them for it.

Image: Modified from original design via Freepik

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