By Todd Tauber
Skillsoft: What’s a common mistake that organizations make with their elearning programs?
Todd: A big one is not understanding their audiences. With an increasingly diverse workforce, a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work anymore. Different people want and need to learn in different ways. And yet more than two-thirds of L&D professionals admit they don’t know much about their learners beyond basic demographics.16 They don’t have a good handle on employees’ knowledge or skills levels, their work priorities or their habits and preferences. It’s hard to engage people if you don’t know who you’re talking to.
Skillsoft: What does the future of ILT-only learning programs look like?
Todd: I see three big shifts. For starters, instructor-led training is being re-shaped to fit into work rather than the other way around – which is how it’s normally been. Programs that used to fill up a week or two at a time, for example, are now being broken up into shorter bursts and spread out over months. Second, I think we’ll have less one-way lecturing and more active and collaborative learning. We’re already seeing some L&D teams put more emphasis on learning through projects and with peers. And finally, there will be more technology. Virtual ILT already accounts for 12% of formal learning hours delivered at many companies.17 But we’re also seeing more ILT programs leveraging smartphones and tablets to improve the connections between instructors and learners in real-time, though feedback and audience polls.
Skillsoft: What questions should an organization be asking a prospective vendor when considering an elearning purchase?
Todd: 1. How can we align, configure or customize your offerings to address our specific objectives? This is critical because people don’t have the time or motivation to learn anything on- the-job “just-in-case” anymore. It has to matter to them.
2. How fresh is the content and user experience? For example, is the material relevant to current challenges and priorities? Is it accessible on mobile devices? Those things matter a lot because it’s gotten harder and harder to keep people’s attention. So their learning has to be easy and engaging, too.
3. What support do you offer to help drive adoption and usage? Not many people do that, when L&D teams switch their strategies from occasional, “push” training to continuous, “pull” learning – which they are – they often see demand drop off. Surprise! Learning isn’t workers’ first priority.
16Key Findings: Becoming a High-Impact Learning Organization, Bersin by Deloitte, August 2012.
172014 Corporate Learning Factbook. Bersin by Deloitte, February 2014
Todd Tauber leads Bersin by Deloitte’s Learning research practice, focusing on workforce learning trends, strategies, organizations, programs and technologies. His thought leadership on learning has been featured by The Atlantic, Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance and Quartz as well as SHRM and ATD.