Does technology-based learning in the workplace matter?

  • 4 Min Read

Employees say yes

Not so very long ago all training in the workplace was carried out face to face but technology has transformed learning at work, just as it’s transformed so many aspects of our working lives. Now, while face to face training is still popular, increasingly employers and employees are choosing digital learning solutions. Employees are so convinced by the digital option in fact, that a recent enterprise survey we conducted revealed that over three-quarters (78 per cent) of UK employees think it’s important to leverage new technologies for learning.

A look at some of the other survey results gives an indication as to perhaps why they might feel that way. Over two-thirds (68 per cent) think that video is a valuable tool in learning programmes and 60 per cent believe their employer should implement mobile learning.

Why incorporate video and offer mobile learning?

Video-based content and the ability that mobile gives to access and engage with learning content at any time, from any place are two strong benefits of technology-based learning.

Video is an engaging format for many learners. It’s visual and well suited to explaining complex subjects in a way that can be quick and easy to understand. People used to looking up instructive videos online in their personal lives may well respond positively to the opportunity to do the same in the workplace.

Meanwhile, mobile learning gives employees control over when and where they learn. This is helpful to employees and organisations as it’s now less common for all staff to be co-located all of the time. More often than not, a workforce is made up of some office-based staff, some who spend time at other locations or occasionally work from home, a percentage of full-time homeworkers and some who spend a lot of time on the move.

Not surprisingly, it isn’t easy to schedule office-based training when that’s the case. If staff can start work on a training course online in the office, then switch to a laptop or computer in another location and then pick up the same session on their tablet or other smart device at home, it helps maintain continuity of learning.

The desire to learn

Learning is growing in importance for today’s employees as job security has reduced and flexible working contracts have increased. On the plus side, there are now more opportunities for people who are willing and able to continually refresh their skills. Our survey respondents clearly showed that they recognise the importance of workplace learning. A majority (77 per cent) said it is important to their continued professional development while 37 per cent claim a lack of training had negatively impacted their career.

What’s more, 38 per cent said they would consider the quality of employee training when offered a job. This is a significant finding – the availability of good quality learning and development influences the decision of over a third of employees when they are choosing an employer.

Tellingly, a higher proportion of employees aged 25 to 34 (82 per cent) said that workplace learning is important to their continued professional development while 49 per cent of the same age range said the quality of employee training would impact their decision to accept or decline a job offer. This shows the significance that employees who will form the backbone of workforces for many years to come place on ongoing learning, and how important it is that companies have the right development strategies in place to attract and retain staff.

Technology-based learning provides another benefit, and it’s something that over a quarter (27 per cent) of our survey respondents said they’d like to take advantage of. That is adaptive learning – a ‘one size fits me’ rather than ‘one size fits all’ approach to delivering training.

Unfortunately, less than half (48 per cent) of 100 UK HR directors we spoke to said their organisation’s learning and development programme is based on such a model. Digital learning programmes that support personalised learning paths can adapt to meet individual learner needs around course delivery and content and that can make for a more engaging – and therefore successful – learning experience.

Workplace learning is transforming and, at the same time, today’s employees are approaching their development in a different way. They accept ongoing learning as a fact of modern working life and want to take personal ownership of their development. Flexible, adaptable learning solutions that take advantage of the benefits technology can offer empowers employees and helps them develop through their careers, while at the same time meeting employers’ needs for new and up-to-date skills sets.

 

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