A recent report from Towards Maturity contains some great news for online learning, with 80% of those surveyed saying how it helps further their career. In fact,
“70% think online learning has had a positive impact on job performance.”
But the report also says that corporate learning is “wildly out of sync” with how people prefer to learn. So, stay ahead of the game with our guide to the report and what you can do to close the gap.
Tapping into the ways people prefer to learn is a winning strategy for training providers, leading to higher take-up, more engagement, and better, longer-lasting results for individuals and their organization. Going with the grain rather than against it pays off in this case. Yet many training teams are missing some tricks and delivering only part of the winning combination.
If you’re already providing some online learning, according to the stats, you’re going in the right direction. But you need to factor some silver bullets into your blend to get in sync with your learners.
What the report says: How do people prefer to learn?
Towards Maturity surveyed 2,000 people who paid for their own development—i.e., they were learning by choice. This is what the survey discovered about their natural learning tendencies:
- 80% can see how online learning helps with furthering their career.
- 66% rate self-paced elearning courses as essential or very useful.
- 90% are going mobile, using apps to further their learning, with half being education-based and half being productivity tools or on-the-job help.
- 70% use their own smartphone, and 52% their own tablet for learning (so BYOD is big news).
- 77% rate working in collaboration with others as essential or very useful, with 70% liking technologies that enable them to network and connect with others.
- 80% say Google or other web search resources are either essential or very useful to learn what they need to do their job.
- 47% rate classroom courses as essential or very useful.
What does this mean for training providers?
What stands out is that online learning is soaring in the rankings, and access from mobile devices has become the norm. In light of this, should we all be creating multi-device elearning? Absolutely! But not in isolation.
Learners are crying out for blended approaches that provide a mixture of resources, courses, performance tools, and, crucially, collaboration. It’s the latter that’s often left off the list.
Classroom-based learning still has a place, and for certain types of learning, it’s a top choice. What people like about face-to-face sessions is learning from each other: the war stories, success stories, anecdotes, teamwork, and the ability to interact with colleagues in other departments. It’s the context for the learning content.
Related: Why blended learning is important
People might experience a jolt when training providers move to more digital offerings, forgetting the human factor—the bit that enables people to learn from one another. With only minimal context, how can we expect learning to stick? Training is about changing behaviors—stopping or starting something in the workplace. Collaboration and social learning are crucial to this, because underlying such training can be the need for a shift in groupthink and organizational culture.
But we also need to take heed from the fact that most people’s first point of call for help is Google, not the LMS. When we need help, information, inspiration, or demonstration, we’re there, phone at the ready, running a web search without even thinking about it. Should we give up and let Google do it all? No, but alongside deeper dive specialist content, training providers need to provide short, to-the-point, just-in-time performance support and on-the-job tools and templates of their own.
Six takeaway tips
In summary, training providers need to develop blended strategies that:
- Provide multi-device online learning and performance support.
- Support people on the job with quick-to-find tools, templates, tips, examples, and performance-support resources alongside deeper dive learning content.
- Enable self-paced learning: Courses are still rated highly, but learners must be in control. Either that or go for a fully resource-based approach, where learners pick and choose from a range of bite-sized topics.
- Use online collaboration and social learning tools, such as Elucidat polls, forums, Yammer, online coaching, and more. Jane Hart provides an entire list.
- Consider virtual classroom sessions as part of the blend to foster collaboration and story sharing.
- Include face-to-face when and where it counts.
We’ll be following up with more on blends and how you can plug in social learning and collaboration to get the most from your elearning.
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