Your Three Keys To Successful Learning & Development Technology

Luciana Amaro, VP - Talent Development & Strategy, BASFLuciana, an alumnus of FIA, is a Human Resources Executive with over 20 years of broad HR experience in various global & regional roles in South America, Europe and North America, mostly in commercial/industrial manufacturing corporations.

The evolution of work is forcing companies to change how they deliver learning and development (L&D) initiatives for their employees. According to the 2017 Deloitte Human Capital survey, today's employees will have a 60-70 years career and average less than five years tenure in a given job, aligned with the half-life of a learned skill (five years).

Today's employee craves growth and development, but according to one study from Leadership IQ, only 42 percent of workers are frequently learning on the job. Unsurprisingly, improving employees' careers and transforming corporate learning emerged as the second most important trend in Deloitte's survey, up from fifth in 2016. It's not just thought, it's also action: training expenditures in the US rose 33 percent to $90.6 billion in 2017, according to Training Magazine's recent Training Industry Report.

The problem isn't being solved through increased investment, though: half of executives surveyed by Deloitte cite developing capabilities for their employees as urgent, yet their ability to keep up with employee demands for learning and career growth dropped five percent. How can you close the gap, and be an advocate for a lifelong learning mindset as one of your businesses' core values? Look for L&D technology that helps you curate, diversify, and personalize employee training.

Conduct a Google search for `employee development', and you'll come up with 773 million results. The availability of learning content isn't really the issue. It's how to sift through the white noise to find quality content that meets your employees' specific needs.

The answer for how to manage this explosion of learning content has been to implement, you guessed it, more technology. Traditional learning management systems are being complemented with ­ and replaced by ­
a wide range of new technologies for curation, delivery, video distribution, and mobile use. Learning management systems are being used by 86 percent of companies, followed by virtual classrooms and webcasting at 73 percent, e-learning tools (48 percent), and application simulation tools (38 percent).

Leading companies are proactively looking across this disruptive, ever-evolving learning tech environment to provide their employees with a single portal that's intuitive and easy to use, giving you the ability to curate the highest quality learning content that makes sense for your business while enabling employees to find the best training available to them ­ when and where they need it.

Employee learning is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Since employee careers are spanning nearly 70 years, today you can find five generations in the workplace ­ from `Traditionalists' to `Generation Z'. This means your employees will prefer different methods of learning. Less than half of all training hours in 2017 were delivered in a classroom setting, with the remainder coming through online platforms, virtual classrooms, webcasts, and mobile devices.

There's one statistic that rings true across generations, though: fewer organizations are offering full immersion, multiday classroom training because it requires a lot of time and resource investment without enough data to prove the long-term impact on performance. Studies show 70 percent of knowledge is forgotten by students 24 hours after a training.

As you look at your L&D tech and strategy, consider incorporating micro learning into your portfolio. Corporate learners usually don't have time to sit through a half-hour online training course, much less a full-day course, especially while in the middle of a task or trying to overcome a common challenge. There-fore bite-sized support resources are essential: everyone gets the information they need to solve the problem and build their skills on the spot ­ which leads to better training ROI and employee satisfaction.

By approaching L&D from a blended learning approach, training and development can be spread out over the entire year/life cycle of an employee. Formal training events can be supported by ongoing micro learning resources, like short videos and articles, as well as on-demand learning resources, where employees are set up to source out training when and where they need it.

Personalized learning paths have been among the top L&D trends for years, because `one-size-fits-all' online training courses seem to always fall short of expectations. Many L&D initiatives are initiated top-down by organizations. Often the approach is not only top-down, but also very generic. Learning solutions are designed for groups of people, and are not tailored to the needs, wishes and learning styles of individual employees.

Corporate learners need to be able to focus on their areas for improvement, instead of keeping pace with their peers. This involves setting their own schedule, developing targeted goals, and seeking out online training resources autonomously. The key is to gauge the gaps with pre-assessments, and then give corporate learners the online training resources they require to bridge them.

The fight for talent continues to heat up in an ever-changing work environment ­ L&D technology that curates, diversifies, and personalizes training can be an enabler to attract and retain the best talent to meet your business goals.