Skillsoft Blog

Modern Learning Content is What Modern Learners Need, But Do They Get It?

Find Out in Our Latest In-Focus Report ‘Modern Learning Content: For Modern Workers’ Which Explores Learning Content That Will Keep Them Motivated and Excited.

Our data revealed that the modern learners can make quick decisions about how and where they learn based on what they need to do their job better. They also need to be very discerning about where they get their learning from because there is almost unlimited access to tools and information. They’re hungry for high quality information that is useful, relevant and interesting. On top of that, it needs to fulfill at least one of the ‘five moments of need’.

5 Moments of Need

  • New: when you use something for the first time
  • More: when you want to learn more about a subject
  • Apply: when you apply what you’ve learned
  • Solve: when you encounter a problem
  • Change: when you need to do something in a new way

Good e-learning is obviously critical here. Historically, there has been a real problem with e-learning content and learning management systems that have all been tied up with compliance programmes. This has caused so many e-learning programmes to fail or underperform in the past. But that is the past!

We are moving forward now. E-learning is more popular and effective than ever before, although our research does show that the much-talked about massive growth in digital learning is not yet a reality. Take a look at our figures:

  • 73% of employees access digital content for mandatory learning (such as for compliance purposes, an increase from 52% in 2012)
  • 32% of formal learning is currently delivered using e-content or virtual classroom (increased by only 8% in five years)
  • 22% of learning is online only (up slightly), with 42% of online content being compliance-related
  • 22% of the training budget is spent on e-learning and associated learning technologies (little change from 20% in 2012)

However, there is a shift in how and why technology is being used. There is a much greater focus on consumer technology now, resulting in a shift to mobile and social learning. There is also a much greater focus on the consumer experience. This has led to consumers having a much significant voice in shaping their learning experience. Modern and flexible workplaces are two increasingly more important aspects of the learner experience.

These have led to increasing numbers of learning leaders recognizing and acting on a few key points:

  • modernizing learning strategy is essential to offer demonstrable value to the business in a changing environment
  • learners want to take more ownership of their development and become more self-directed
  • traditional role as course provider is no longer enough, as formal learning accounts for only a small proportion of the total learning taking place
  • online learning offers benefits beyond measurable efficiency gains and is helping to change behaviours and organizational culture

L&D leaders know they have to facilitate a consumer-led and collaborative approach to satisfy the modern learners.

And that’s not all. The need for agile organisations and agile learning are also critically important. L&D knows this, and they are striving to achieve a more modern, agile learning culture. It’s not just about programme efficiency and reach – as a profession, we need to look at online content through a new lens.

Why? Why do we need to look at online content through a new lens? There is so much content out there to help learners curate it. As we say in our report ‘If content is the king, then curation must be the queen’. Unfortunately, our data shows that modern learners cannot find the content they need (26%), with the same number saying current online content is not relevant to their needs. That’s why content is still one of the major barriers for learners today.


  • 45% of participants believe generic online learning is not sufficiently tailored to need (34% in 2012)
  • 39% say that past experience of e-learning has not met expectation (43%)
  • 41% think there is a lack of high-quality digital content that supports their business goals (44%)

Do you see the problem with e-learning and its content?

Luckily, technology evolves all the time. Tech-savvy L&D professionals have lots of tech-enabled tools at their disposal: search techniques, tracking and analytics, mobile devices…. These tools are there at your disposal. Use them and use them well!

For a copy of the report click here.

Laura Overton is founder and CEO of Towards Maturity.

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