By Jen Sweeney
Not too long ago, you rarely needed to learn new or different sets of skills during your career. Most of your workplace learning centered around compliance training, plus sporadic, intensive formal courses. But in the past 10 to 15 years, as rapidly advancing technology has transformed how you live and work, your professional learning and development needs have begun to change and expand too.
Employees today are overwhelmed—the average American worker spends 25 percent of their time reading and responding to emails, checks their mobile device 150 times a day, and works 47 hours per week1. Plus, considering the rate at which technology changes, keeping up becomes even more challenging.
The good news is that many companies are beginning to recognize how critical L&D transformation is to your productivity and job satisfaction. In Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, improving employee careers and transforming corporate learning is rated the second most important issue, up from fifth last year. In addition, 45 percent of executives surveyed for the report say that the ability to keep up with employees’ learning and development demands is “urgent” or “very important,” which is also an increase over the previous year.
More organizations are implementing learning and development approaches that offer a range of options—including e-learning, self-help portals, on-demand video instruction, instructor-led training, software coaching, and more.
What can a new approach to corporate training mean to you, the employee? Quite a bit. It can provide you with easier access to the information you need to get your job done, can enable you to be more productive and efficient, and can give you the resources you need to innovate and drive company growth. On a personal level, it can encourage you to continually develop your professional skills and boost your satisfaction at work.
E-learning, for example, eliminates geography constraints and lets you choose when and where you learn. Self-help solutions also provide you with control over your learning—you can find answers to questions at the moment you need them. With immediate access to the help you need, you can minimize frustration and maintain your productivity.
One of the most notable differences between old and new corporate L&D is its focus. Previously, learning was process-centered and content was determined by the organization. Presently, learning is more focused on employees, and what you need to stay productive, efficient, engaged, and innovative.
Learning has also become more complex. According to HR expert Josh Bersin, principal and founder of research firm Bersin by Deloitte, learning content now falls into one of two main categories: macro and micro.
Macro-learning is studying something new, such as SEO or data visualization. This type of learning requires a time commitment, and is often delivered via a series of videos or instructor-led courses. Conversely, micro-learning is what you search for when you need help right away with a specific problem or topic. Micro-learning includes videos, blogs, or other content you can read, view, or absorb in 10 minutes or less. People come across this kind of content all the time, Bersin writes, from news sites, social networks, and other sources such as YouTube.
Complexity has become the norm in the modern organization—in L&D, and in every other facet of work. Companies have begun to do things differently, and are taking steps to meet your learning and development needs. It’s now up to you, the employee, to take advantage of the learning options your company has begun to provide. It will not only help you with day-to-day challenges, it will also enable you to keep up, stay relevant, and bring about your own digital transformation.
1. “The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things We Have Learned,” by Josh Bersin, March 27, 2017
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