In terms of corporate learning, we are just starting to reach the summit. Experts predicted years ago that during this phase, companies would experience a higher commitment to employee training and career development. Now, with the help of new and better technology, it has become possible for companies to provide just the right amount of learning that helps employees achieve more.
From open source learning platforms to internal training systems, employees are making learning a regular part of their daily lives – all from the convenience of their workplaces.
New evidence that learning direction is changing
In a recent report, conducted by LinkedIn and Whiteboard Advisors, several trends emerged that highlight the state of employee learning and development as we know it today. This intensive study, led by a panel of experts in the L&D space, including learning leaders and analysts from around the globe, focused on the role of technology in corporate learning, if digital credentials are still important, and how companies are discovering and developing fresh talent in a skills-hungry market.
The LinkedIn report revealed factors that will be impacting corporate learning in the coming year, including:
- 71% of the experts polled in the study believe that partnering with external training providers is the best way to get in front of the skills gap.
- Over 60% of the insiders from the study think that employers will move to skills-based hiring vs. educational backgrounds.
- 57% of the L&D experts believe that employers will add educational benefits more than other traditional benefits.
- 57% also predict that digital credentials, such as social badges and micro-degrees will gain value in the workplace.
- The majority of the insiders said that micro-learning and multi-faceted approaches to delivering on-demand learning content will be the fastest growing technology in 2017.
We’ve already seen how some of these trends are happening in workplaces around the U.S., particularly through the use of mobile social apps. For example, Google’s Primer is a great way for sales and marketing employees to learn skills in small segments of content from any mobile device or workstation. They promise learning that takes five minutes or less. Then there is ‘Workplace’ by Facebook, which aids employees and trainers in collaborating on learning content that’s shared and relevant to employees.
Why external learning supports skill building in the workplace
Donna M. Qualters Author of “Experiential Education: Making the Most of Learning Outside the Classroom” says that outside experiences enhance classroom learning.
"Unless experiences are brought into the learning environment, a clear connection between objectives and community learning will not occur," Qualters adds. It is with movements that bring snippets of real-world work experiences into greater focus through collaborative and external training methods that employees will become more engaged in learning.
Spending and support is up for external skills-based learning
A Deloitte report from the end of 2016 indicated that spending was up for external learning resources. CB Insights, a watchdog organization for venture investments, estimated more than $3 billion alone was invested in new learning startups in the first half of 2015, with $1 billion going to content, tools, and companies in the corporate learning market.
At the same time, around 61% of the executive-level respondents of the Deloitte survey reported some challenges moving their companies towards more self-directed, external learning sources. On the positive side, 32% said that external certificates were impactful for employee development, with MOOCs and social media-enabled learning following close behind.
It’s encouraging to see that more companies are getting on board with providing access and support with external learning to help augment current training methods. As more companies add learning benefits, it’s a win-win for everyone.