Skillsoft Blog

Developing Leaders at All Levels with Cloud-Based Learning

By Tim Redfern

An astounding 71 percent of survey respondents in Brandon Hall Groups 2015 State of Leadership Development Study cited that their leaders are not ready to lead their organization into the future. Why are organizations failing to effectively develop leaders, and how can we increase the number of ready leaders in 2016 and beyond?

The fact is that many companies are “doing it the way it’s always been done” when it comes to leadership training – and the way it’s been done is by sending leaders to Instructor Led Training (ILT) programs. ILT definitely has its benefits: face-to-face, formal instruction for skills development can be extremely valuable. Yet in today’s fast-paced business environment with limited budgets and time-strapped employees, ILT leadership programs aren’t always achievable, particularly when the goal is developing leaders across an entire organization.

For maximum leadership development impact, companies should implement a blended approach: create a foundation with cloud-based learning solutions that support and reinforces ILT. This provides “the best of both worlds” when it comes to developing leaders — existing leaders can hone their skills continuously and new managers can explore their own gaps at their own pace, or as business demands shed light on them.  All of this creates an environment of continuous learning that will be so critical to meeting the demands of the business environment in this coming year and beyond.

Here are just a few of the reasons why any organization should always consider cloud-based learning as a core element in leadership development programs:

  1. All managers need foundational leadership skills to lead teams and manage performance.

Front-line and mid-level management oversee the majority of our workforces, yet the bulk of training budgets are disproportionately spent on senior and executive levels. Leadership development should not be limited to the “select few” in an organization that are in the upper ranks of management or labeled as “high potential.” Instead, we need to invest in our future workforce by investing in these emerging leaders.  Yet, with an ILT-only approach, most organizations simply cannot afford to provide this training to all managers.

  1. Diverse learning formats are required for diverse learning styles.

We all know that everyone learns differently. Some learners are more visual, some are more auditory and others learn best by immediately putting ideas into action. And, we all assimilate our learnings differently. For example, we all process learning at a different pace. Classroom training cannot accommodate these individual learning styles. Diversifying your teaching methods – using both classroom and structured self-paced learning accommodates all learning styles.

  1. Cloud-based learning promotes knowledge retention and ensures continuous behavior changes in the workplace.

Hermann Ebbinghaus, a pioneer of memory research, developed the Forgetting Curve with the hypothesis that if information and knowledge are not reinforced soon after the event. A person will forget up to 90 percent of that information in as little as 30 days.  Providing micro-learning training opportunities for your learners, say twice a week over four weeks, can increase knowledge retention by 80 percent and dramatically shift a mindset!

  1. Reduced cost and increased availability of cloud-based learning extend leadership development to more audiences.

Event-based training is significantly more costly than elearning, and is also constrained by location and time. Online learning is available on-demand — anywhere and anytime a manager needs it.

Developing and maintaining a culture of continuous learning for all leaders can be affordable, scalable, and portable.  Who wants to risk organization readiness? Not me!

Tim Redfern is Vice President and General Manager, Leadership Solutions at Skillsoft.

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