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Research conducted by Middlesex University on work-based learning found that 74% of employees believe that the lack of learning is the biggest hurdle in achieving their full potential at work. Yet employees only average about 6 to 12 minutes of management training across 6 months. These statistics indicate a drastic gap between learning need and learning uptake. Clearly, the approach that most organizations are currently taking to learning is not very effective. In fact, ineffective trainings cost businesses 13.5 million dollars every year on every thousand employees.
Where is the gap? It appears that L&D teams are yet to completely understand the needs of the modern learners, who are organizing their work in non-traditional ways to suit their lifestyles. Bersin by Deloitte has taken the liberty of educating us about this elusive bunch of people through a thoroughly researched infographic called “Meet the Modern Learner”. Let’s refresh the key points of the infographic.
The modern learner seeks learning that is:
- Untethered to time and location
These four points are non-negotiable to modern learners. Traditional learning such as classroom-based workshops, unfortunately, do not cater to all four requirements. Therefore, learners are looking for options on their own since they are not getting what they need from their employers. In other words, learning today is self-directed, i.e., learners want to be in control of their own learning.
The most popular method of self-directed learning appears to be self-paced courses. Open source platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, etc. happily cater to this need, and employees do not see the need for employer loyalty, given that their own needs are not met. Not catering to the needs of the modern learner, therefore, impacts organizations far more than the learners themselves.
While learners have adapted to self-paced learning far more seamlessly, organizations have been slower on the uptake, increasingly losing out on high potential employees to competitors who cater to their needs. This doesn’t mean that self-directed learning puts L&D teams out of work. L&D teams still play a crucial role in identifying what learners need, something that Google and Wikipedia don’t effectively tell you. What needs to change is the delivery methodology. Let’s look at three important reasons that self-paced learning is the right fit for your organization:
- Learners seek to review content more than once
The modern learner is easily distracted and cannot register massive amounts of information in one go. Therefore, they appreciate being able to access content whenever they need it, which traditional classroom-based interventions restrict. While Google offers tonnes of content, however, the self-directed learner often tends to simply chance upon it through various sources, rarely in a structured manner. Even when bookmarked, content may not be easily recalled. Immediately, significant learning is lost, and with it, time, money and effort.
Self-paced courses, however, allow learners to learn at their pace, access content as they need to (on-demand), and significantly increases learning retention and productivity.
- L&D teams are expected to do more with less
Logistical constraints such as coordinating with global teams to match schedules for learning interventions, identifying facilitators, arranging for travel and accommodation, arranging spaces to hold workshops, etc are incredibly cumbersome, and account for over 85% of the expenditure on learning. The process and cost of repeatedly booking training venues, travel facilitators, etc to roll out the same training material across different batches of learners is exhausting, expensive and largely unnecessary. Scalability takes a major hit with constant dependency on facilitators and the need for physical proximity. Should learning suffer because of its cost?
Self-paced courses, on the other hand, are highly scalable, transcend time and distance, and still give the modern learner opportunities to collaborate and connect with a wider pool of peers and mentors.
- Learners want to own their learning experience
Human beings have always learnt at their own pace, and in their own style. The advent of technology has facilitated a bigger disparity in the knowledge that modern learners possess, i.e., the access to information at our finger tips has allowed learners to specifically browse topics of their interest. Therefore, no two learners have the same learning need. Unlike traditional classroom set-ups which adhere to one specific topic or a specific pace for covering the material, self-paced courses provide learners with a variety of topics or sub-topics that they can consume at their convenience, even if they decide to alternate between topics.
With several options for learning available, the modern learner is most receptive to that methodology which most effectively caters to his/her learning need and style. Therefore, organizations can get the greatest return on their learning investment with minimal effort and cost by adopting self-paced learning as a methodology for employee development.
In short, adopting self-paced learning is vastly beneficial for organizations to align the learning needs of employees with business requirements and justify the expenditure on learning. KNOLSKAPE’s exclusive suite of self-paced courses – ‘Path to Performance, powered by Cross Knowledge are created to help your employees undergo deep skill acquisition and accelerate their performance.
‘Path to Performance’ is a perfect blend of experiential learning. Some niche features are videos from experts in the field and top global professors, it provides the learners with exclusive content, curated for their individual behavioural skill development. Experience it for yourself with a one-week trial – Test it out!
In Part 2 of this blog, we highlight some common pitfalls to avoid for successful implementation of the self-paced learning methodology.
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