Let’s face it: corporate learning and development programs are no longer what they used to be a few years ago. Today’s millennials, who are expected to account for 75 percent of the global workforce by 2030, have transformed corporate learning and development programs with their expectation for ongoing learning opportunities.
This is an era where filling skill gaps with skilled workers is becoming a pressing challenge for almost all organizations. The corporate world is on the look out for solid training initiatives at growth-focused companies that appeals to millennials. As each generation becomes more technologically advanced, it is apparent that the future of training programs lies on the Internet.
As corporate learning and technology join hands, it’s time that HR professionals take a closer look at their existing learning and development programs to prepare for the future. As employee's expectations are changing, so are organizations’ training methodologies. Let’s throw some light on a few statistics here:
- 59 percent of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. (Source)
- 87 percent of millennials base their decision to stay at a job or go on their access to professional development or career growth opportunities. (Source)
- 74 percent of employees feel that are unable to achieve their full potential at work. (Source)
Corporate E-Learning Trends That Corporate Leaders Should Know in 2019
Looking at these numbers, it becomes clear that corporate learning and development opportunities are one of the most essential enablers of employee and business performance. With millennials becoming more and more particular about the indirect rewards of their jobs, it is extremely important for corporate leaders to embrace e-learning as the key to engaging and retaining the fickle-minded workforce.
To make the best use of e-learning in corporate training and development programs in 2019, HR professionals should keep an eye on the following trends:
- Adaptive learning
2019 is the time for HR professionals to rethink their L&D strategies. Every employee in the organization is different, possessing different skills and knowledge and having different learning needs and expectations. The reality here is what suits one may not suit the other. Embracing such a diverse workforce and meeting individual learning needs is possible for HR professionals only when they make adaptive learning a part of their workplace’s culture.
Adaptive learning allows corporate professionals to create learning paths that are tuned to each individual’s unique learning needs and capabilities. Today’s corporate e-learning programs have to make such customizations in their training practices to:
- Personalize learning experiences: Adaptive learning helps in providing focused attention on an individual. It becomes the future of employee development through corporate e-Learning as it provides personalized feedback to each and every employee. Adaptive learning backed by technology leverages algorithms to adjust itself to learners’ needs based on their role requirements, proficiency levels, and learning styles. This, in turn, mimics a one-to-one instruction model, which is necessary for ensuring in-depth learning.
- Improve time efficiency: The best part about adaptive e-learning is that it enables employees to learn faster. A "personalized approach" helps employees devote half the amount of time that they take in a typical course by allowing them to focus on learning content at their convenience that helps them improve.
- Collect employee data quickly: Adaptive learning is a learning system based on technology that analyzes and gathers data on an employee’s performance and tweaks teaching methods. HR professionals can then use this data to achieve personalized learning objectives, regulate the course of training and create an effective learning path for each employee.
- Keep pace with learning dynamics: Adaptive learning "adapts" to the employee's needs. Whether designed adaptivity or algorithmic adaptivity, both learning approaches collect detailed data about what and how much an employee knows or doesn't know. It then fills those knowledge and skill gaps with necessary information. This means that the more employees use adaptive e-learning, the bigger its database gets and improves the learning experiences for employees.
2. Mobile learning
Millennials are more likely to use higher-end technologies in their personal lives. As such, it comes as no surprise that they have a more positive opinion about IT strategies that encourage the use of personal devices at work for talent development.
At the same time, the biggest challenge standing before corporate leaders in talent development is getting employees to make time for learning. Employees would agree that their primary jobs consume so much time that they don’t get time for training. This is where adaptive learning proves beneficial as it makes mobile learning a huge possibility. This method of going about corporate e-learning can:
- Leverage multiple platforms, such as classroom, mobile and on-demand, all of which can deliver training in a way that eliminates the time crunch of employees on the go.
- Merge social, video, and gamification aspects of training to make training more attractive to millennials and Generation Zs in the workforce.
- Conduct small daily training through mobile phones, which require only a few minutes of people’s attention.
Clearly, the current trend of e-learning through mobile technologies is extremely prevalent in increasing ease-of-access and interactivity. The time for HR leaders and employee to go mobile with their L&D programs is now.
3. Gamification of training
When coming across the term “gamification”, most corporate leaders will think of traditional video games. As seen from gamification initiatives of many successful organizations, gamification of training involves an element of video games, but it’s not essentially turning corporate learning into one.
In the context of corporate training, gamification is simply a process of creating a progressive reward system and incorporating it into training-- just like modern video games. The idea behind inserting the rewarding style of games into corporate training is to rebuild the corporate learning process into a lighter, more engaging process without shifting focus from the long-term business outcomes.
How to gamify corporate training?
For adopting gamification in corporate training, enterprises may create games or adapt them according to their internal needs. If an organization is facing difficulty in lowering employment-related accident rates, for instance, an option might be to develop a game in which all employees identify problems by using personal protective equipment (PPE)-- something like the games created in the analog age.
To get the best out of gamification, leaders have to:
- Identify and recognize employees who excel at learning new concepts.
- Present the problem before those employees at the beginning of the course and let them work around a solution.
- Keep employees involved and motivated by making learning more interactive.
- Allow employees to learn at their own time and pace.
Why gamify corporate training?
- Badges, points, leaderboards and community involvement are tools that make e-learning more lucrative and involving even for the most lackadaisical employee. Learners who are bored or lack the passion to participate in training can find these tools extremely useful for bouncing back and staying motivated.
- Gamifying corporate training can promote positive workplace interactions, which can ultimately boost the morale of the workforce and keep them engaged throughout their professional journey with the organization.
- Gamification of training makes corporate learning programs more data-driven and measurable. This can help HR leaders better optimize their learning programs to meet future learning and/or skills requirements of the organization.
4. Continuous training
Millennials are just not changing the composition of the global workforce, but also ushering in a new type of leadership style. 41 percent of employees consider career advancement opportunities a very important factor in getting job satisfaction, but only 29 percent of employees are happy with the career advancement opportunities they are currently getting.
There’s no doubt that current employees wish for more knowledge, more skills, more growth and more feedback. This is particularly true when they have access to information right at their fingertips. Leaders have to now train employees continuously, not as and when the need arises. Employees have to be up-to-date with new technologies and methods that are emerging at an accelerating rate.
It’s only through a regimen of continuous learning that employees can gain competencies “in the moment” and leaders can match roles to employees’ skills. Such a learning environment aids training and development strategies by:
- Ensuring that employees receive the required internal training and external training from institutions that the company supports.
- Facilitating adaptation through constant learning, in addition to providing employees with fresh content from the Internet, whether it's on specialized websites or on social media.
- Enabling knowledge and skill sharing by identifying best practices and learning from past mistakes. This equips employees with the skills they need to become the most successful professionals.
- Creating internal career advancement opportunities and saves time, money, resources and reduces employee turnover.
- Establishing a far-reaching vision for employees and bringing the business to the forefront of the industry by empowering them constantly with new skills.
The last e-learning trend that’s quickly rising to the top is micro-learning. Micro-learning stems from the idea that human concentration is scarce and limited, and that breaking down huge chunks of information into smaller pieces and spacing them out can result in higher engagement and information retention. It is particularly useful in a landscape where information is extremely dynamic and people find it challenging to register such a barrage of facts.
As emerging technologies support this form of learning, it shouldn’t be difficult for organizations to incorporate it into their existing L&D strategies to do the following:
- Boost learners’ retention: The use of bite-sized, short learning nuggets of 2–7 minutes in micro-learning can help HR professionals to increase engagement of learners in training and improve their ability to retain information.
- Create better learning experiences: The use of high-impact, rich-media formats in micro-learning creates an engaging learning experience for learners and make corporate training more fun for them.
- Seamlessly deliver content: Micro-learning proves quite accessible and flexible as learning assets are created keeping multi-device delivery in mind. It has the potential for using an all-inclusive approach to instruction for both unstructured and structured learning.
- Make training relevant: Owing to the availability of content on various devices, micro-learning makes it possible for learners to learn at the right time. Learning nuggets are available to employees exactly at the moment when a particular skill is most needed and more specifically, within their operational workflow.
Making the change
Continuous technological developments have made lifelong learning a prerequisite for organizational success. Attracting and retaining top talent is a major challenge for organizations. If they wish to overcome this, they have to create a learner-centric experience with these technologies, which provides employees with the access to training anytime, anywhere, and on any device.