There is no doubt that the ubiquitous use of smartphones and tablets has brought about a drastic change in human lifestyle. Its impact can be felt in the way we shop, eat, entertain, and travel. So how can learning be left behind? The use of digital technology has made it easy to search for facts and information at the touch of a button. These connected devices bring knowledge within easy reach. This has in turn transformed the way people learn.
Digital technology has also brought a paradigm shift in how employees learn and many businesses are adopting this technology to train their employees to help them stay ahead of the curve. The time to adopt digital learning for training is now and let’s explore the reasons for this and ways organizations can make the shift.
Continuous online learning
Knowledge becomes obsolete quickly; many employees find it difficult to keep pace. What they need is continuous access to knowledge that is current and updated. For this, employees are no longer dependent on in-house resources such as e-learning courses hosted on the LMS but are using digital tools such as Google and YouTube to find answers to their questions.
Employees today are independently looking for information using the digital tools available to them. To meet this change, training managers have to move away from creating all content in-house and confine internal training content to topics employees cannot access through independent search or through social learning or informal learning. Learning developers can take a leaf out of the learners’ book and use digital resources to collect relevant content rather than creating it to enhance the course.
Just- in- time support
With readily available access to knowledge, learners are looking for immediate resources that will help them solve problems. To meet this need, they expect e-learning and job-aids to be available to them at the moment of need.
Learning developers should design problem-solving and performance support tools that can be accessed anytime and anywhere by learners, especially on mobile devices that will help them access it at the point of need.
Digital learning allows scope for training managers to think of ways to personalize learning based on individual needs rather than design a one-size-fits-all training program. With digital technology it is possible to create individualized training programs in consultation with individual employees.
For an employee who already knows the subject, it is unnecessary for him to go through the course while another employee may need to just go through selected parts of the course to fill certain knowledge gaps.
L&D teams must create content that is related to the learner’s role, targeting specific areas and problems which the learner can access whenever he wants to. They should offer flexible navigation so that he can access or skip certain parts of the course based on his learning needs. Such individualized courses will also need a rethink on how learners are tracked and measured.
Learners can be assessed on how well they complete a task or do a job rather than asking them to recall specific information for a test or complete a pre-defined set of tasks.
For many organizations, training employees is no longer confined to classroom training, it now includes digital, social, continuous, and immersive learning. Employees too like these training methods because it gives them an opportunity to learn at their own pace. They are unwilling to undergo training at stipulated times or take time off from work to learn.
Digital devices allow learners to access the training any time and at any place as per their convenience. In a sense, this has shifted the responsibility of learning from the trainers to the learners. They now have the power of technology to help them solve problems on their own or acquire new information. So the focus of learning developers has to shift to developing on-demand content which should be responsive and universal in design, so that it can be accessed by the learner on his smartphone or tablet.
Time to adopt is now
Organizations that want to stay ahead are adopting digital technology since they are aware of the impact it creates on business. Digital learning can meet the demand for employees to have comprehensive information on a product, solutions to complex problems or simply know the latest updates about their industry.
Learning that is on-demand, self-paced and available on digital devices, appeals to the millennial workforce, who are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. Digital learning meets their demand to learn through collaboration and get the information they need as soon as possible.
These are some of the reasons to adopt digital learning. Smartphones and digital devices have changed the way we live and interact in our daily life, so they are expected to bring changes on how employees learn as well. Organizations that are ready to ride this wave of change are bound to succeed. What do you think? Do share your views.