Employee learning has traditionally been internally focused and corporate-centric, but the pendulum has swung to the other side, and if companies don’t embrace that it has shifted to a learner-centric model, they will not only fall behind, but they will lose good employees and lack talent moving forward.

Instead of functioning as an education provider, companies are now serving as experience facilitators and content curators. Innovations in technology have made learning a self-driven pursuit. The biggest change in the past years has been a shift from internal programs that were aimed at the development of people to innovative platforms that empower people to develop themselves.

According to the 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report, over 84% of executives say learning is an important or a very important issue. Employees not only desire development opportunities, but they have come to expect them. They want training for employees that is self-directed, interactive and dynamic.

Historically, training has utilized the push method. Employees were invited to a training class, subjected to a number of lectures and sent back to work. This learning model was measured by how many attendees participated in the training class and not on actual learning. It revolved around the schedule of the training department without keeping the employee at the forefront. Today, the learning model has shifted to a pull method where employees have come to expect training to be as rapidly accessible as a search on Google. Today, eLearning tools have evolved to give employees the capability to engage in continuous learning. In addition, employee learning has evolved to incorporate learning with everyday work experience.

TELUS, a national telecommunications company, is a good example of how employee learning has changed in the last ten years. In 2007, employee engagement came in at around 53%. Back then, training took place solely in a training center as a scheduled event. Collaborative technologies were foreign and the company ranked “low” in customers recommending them. Just 6 years later, employee engagement was up to 83% and 73% of TELUS customers would recommend them to others. There was a lot of change that took place in between that time. Changes incorporated formal, informal and social learning. Collaborative technologies were added into the mix, including blogs, gamification, wikis, virtual worlds, microblogging, photo sharing and instant messaging. As a result of initiating these changes, team member return on performance increased from 62% to 75% demonstrating that effective learning can drive a performance increase.

In the past five years, employee learning has evolved rapidly in the following key areas:

  • Mobile has transformed the way companies operate and interact.
  • Social media has evolved a lot over the last five years and will continue to impact employee learning as companies become more educated on how to use social media for employee learning.
  • Stand and deliver method of training has evolved into integrating multiple forms of training, many of which can be customized for individual employees.

Looking forward to 2017, there are several areas where companies will need to continue to evolve in regards to employee training:

  • Mobile apps for learning: Currently only 10% of companies are utilizing web-based mobile applications, and about 8% are using mobile learning apps. Those companies looking to improve their learning functions will need to consider increasing mobile training options.
  • Companies will need to continue to evolve in regards to their use of social media for employee learning. Companies need to continue to move from document sharing, blogs and discussion forums to using more video and microblogs. To continue to grow in social learning, companies will need to educate themselves on the value of social learning and partner with providers that can help champion this effort.
  • Increase adaptive learning: Companies need to continue to discover new ways for employees to learn at their own pace while integrating learning into the job experience. This type of learning is desirable to millennial employees because it is flexible and self-directed.

Looking forward to 2017, experts have identified the following trends:

  • Gamification will continue to grow at a healthy rate. There has been a shift in “what is gamification?” to “how do I integrate gamification?”
  • Virtual reality will continue to grow for large-scale learning projects. These aim to provide an immersive experience where users can do everything from viewing a new piece of equipment to helping employees be empathetic towards others in the customer service realm.

Learning management systems help facilitate the employee learning experience by providing a flexible, modern and intuitive platform for learning to take place. Our eLearning solutions allow employees to take the learning experience with them wherever they go—making the learning experience more employee-driven and flexible. Each company can have their own unique, tailored solution that meets the needs of their particular business model. In addition to our LMS solutions, we can develop courses specific to your business goals to inspire, motivate and inform your workforce. Staying up to date with how to foster employee learning in the digital age can be a daunting task for anyone. Let our experts help develop a program that is right for you. To learn more, contact us today.

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