Not Your Grandfather's Corporate Training: 5 Trends Changing Workforce Learning

Not Your Grandfather's Corporate Training: 5 Trends Changing Workforce Learning

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The corporate learning environment has been experiencing a great deal of development over recent years. It shows no signs of stopping as learners become more involved in their own education. 

Gone are the days when the organization dictated what should be learned and how. Learners are now demanding that they are educated in a way that works for them. The teams usually responsible for corporate learning within companies, human resources, are also undergoing a period of change as they identify areas where they need to come up to speed to deliver the most tangible results for their companies.

Here are some of the trends that you'll start to notice in corporate learning in the near future. Most of them are still in their early days of implementation with just a number of trendsetters paving the way for the rest. In general, the industries most responsive to these new developments are technology-based ones, usually with a young employee demographic.

Experience is Better Than Theory

The shift away from lecture-based, theory-heavy learning models has been on the rise for some time. However, it is now taking off in a new way: Adult learners want to see how the theory is applied in experience so that they can apply it easily in their everyday life. Case studies and visual simulations are becoming more common ways of providing this type of experiential learning.

Move Away From Corporate Style Environments

The environment in which corporate learning takes place is changing also. Learners are the target market for these programs, so learning management systems are losing some of their corporate stuffiness and are being replaced with a user-friendly environment in which the learner feels as though they are shopping for exactly what they want. We can hope that a long list of courses in a drop down menu format will be shelved in favor of a user-friendly interface full of video, engaging content and search engines that allow learners to find the most relevant information they need in the online space.

Although there has been an increase in the use of video technology within corporate learning, from 5 percent to 15 percent over the space of a year, there are still a significant proportion of organizations that struggle with outdated platforms and static learning approaches, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends study carried out this year.

Learning Professionals Are Now Becoming Specialists

The industry has recognised a need for corporate learning professionals to be highly qualified and experienced in their specific area rather than possessing general knowledge on training. With a branching out of learning to areas outside of the company, these experts can be located externally, which allows for the company to provide access to a range of the best experts while retaining the corporate learning generalists who do the hard work of maintaining the learning program within the company.

However, there persists a lack of evidential investment in development of HR employees, who are the ones expected to oversee the corporate learning portfolio in most companies. In the Deloitte research, just 8 percent of the companies involved were found to currently have dedicated CPD programs for their human resources employees although learning & development was rated as the 5th most important growth area with 84 percent of respondents characterising it as important or very important. The report concludes that ‘companies are struggling to redesign the training environment, incorporate new learning technologies, and utilize the incredible array of digital learning tools now available’.

Learners Employ A Range Of Training Grounds

As mentioned above, learners are now seeking out the best information wherever it is available on the net. They are not simply restricted to staying within the corporate learning environment of old. This means that learners can find the most appropriate tools for their specific learning capabilities. We all learn differently, for some video may be the best way for us to absorb information, while others will prefer text-based models or infographics. More and more, learners are advocating for themselves in this respect.

In the Deloitte survey respondents identified a variety of learning tools that they felt can contribute to their development within their company, these included external certificates at 32 percent, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) at 18 percent and external, self-directed learning powered by social media at 14 percent. These various ways of training account for 64 percent of the learning tools identified by the respondents in this study, which is more than significant. This year the amount of companies who are now comfortable with employing MOOCs as part of their learning strategy rose by 13 percent since last year to 43 percent in 2016.

Foster Learning to Learn

For the best corporate learning programme, it is now being recognised that training learners in specific tasks is not necessarily the most productive use of our time. Like the old adage goes, if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach him to fish you feed him for a lifetime.

The same principle applies to learning in general, but particularly in the corporate learning environment. Here you have willing, interested parties who are keen to improve their skills in their chosen career field. Employers are already aware of their staff competencies and their potential for learning, so by fostering this ability to learn by encouraging learning methods we can encourage learners to continually develop within an organisation in line with their particular skills and interests. This is a much better investment of a company’s time in their corporate learning program. Despite this, 61 percent of executives report challenges in moving their organizations toward external self-directed learning which is slowing the potential growth in this area.

The way that people choose to learn is constantly changing with the new technologies that come online. Trends can be reflected in terms of these new technologies, such as the current demand for video-based learning, or mobile apps. The most significant trends, however, are the one’s which signal a new way of learning by learners and a new approach to learning by trainers. By staying up to date with these trends you can ensure that you and your company are providing the best training opportunities for your staff today and in the future.

Mary Frenson is a Marketing Assistant at Check Director

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