LinkedIn's Top 11 Challenges For Learning And Development In 2017: The LMS Game Plan To Succeed

LinkedIn's Top 11 Challenges For Learning And Development In 2017
Summary: An answer to LinkedIn's findings on the top challenges for Learning and Development, as mentioned in its '2017 Workplace Learning Report', this article reveals 11 key Learning Management System strategies that can help an organization overcome the challenges and boost the success of its learning/ training initiative in 2017 and beyond.

LinkedIn's Top Challenges For Learning And Development In 2017

The Learning and Development (L&D) industry is tough and competitive. Quoting from the 2017 Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn, “the L&D industry is complicated, with varying structures, shifting priorities, disruptive technologies, and multiple audiences to appease. It’s a lot to keep tabs on, and it’s becoming increasingly more complex as new skills and new ways of learning emerge”. That’s the truth right there. Learning and Development professionals constantly face challenges, work their way above or around it, and often devise strategies to overcome such challenges in future. Here’s a look at the top challenges for Learning and Development mentioned in the LinkedIn report and how having a Learning Management System (LMS) game plan can help in overcoming those effortlessly.

1. Having A Limited Budget

49% of the surveyed professionals sited 'Limited Budget' as a major challenge for L&D.

While the report itself points out that the budget constraints are mostly due to lack of evidence when it comes to returns, it also mentions that demonstrating value is often a tough nut to crack.

But, budget cuts do not have to hinder the Learning and Development process always. Take for instance cloud -hosted, SaaS Learning Management Systems that come with flexible pricing models like Pay As You Go, that not just charge as per the actual usage/ users but also allow lower per user cost for higher commitments and fit well for organizations with small pockets. Further, free technical support and free upgrades that are a part of most good Learning Management Systems ensure that the learning/training happens smoothly with little or no time and effort investment towards the Learning Management System's maintenance. The trick however is to find the right vendor that ticks all these boxes.

2. Getting Employees To Make Time For Learning And Development

46% of professionals who participated in the survey mentioned that getting the employees involved in the learning process was a challenge great enough to affect the L&D process.

The report suggests to “deliver modern learning experiences to meet expectations from modern learners”.

The term 'modern learner' is often linked with learner engagement. An expansive term, it covers everything from the interest in subject matter to the interface of the learning program and the software used for accessing it. Using a responsive Learning Management System  that covers most the attributes of device friendliness, ease of use and easy navigability can be one way to ensure that the learning meets learner’s expectations.

Mobiles being a part of the lifestyle, mobile-learning stands as a good way to catch the interest of the learners. Gamified Learning Management Systems are now being considered as good solutions to deliver better learning experience, increase engagement, retention and, most importantly, increase participation. The overall perk of using a well-designed Learning Management System is the User Experience (UX) it delivers.

3. Having A Small Learning And Development Team

34% mentioned that having a small team hindered the L&D process.

Recruiting expert and experienced staff, or training them to handle all the Learning and Development activities can be time consuming and costly. Such a situation can be easily handled with the help of Learning Management System vendors. LMS vendors can also be the strategic business consultants and most vendors offer (free) support, and admin services that can be leveraged to fill the lack of an internal L&D staff. Use of the off-the-shelf (OTS) courses can also act as a readily available solution when in-house Subject Matter Expert, review process etc. becomes a challenge.

4. Demonstrating ROI

32% respondents put the aspect of ROI as a challenge for L&D.

As mentioned earlier, calculating ROI, showing the value the Learning and Development process brings to the organization are often reasons for neglecting the Learning and Development function.

Calculating the cost of 'Attrition' is one way to do it. The impact of Learning and Development in employee retention is often overlooked by the leaders. This can be done easily with a Learning Management System which has the ability to effectively track and generate reports on various aspects of the training program. Built-in MIS & reporting features help in collecting the metrics for employee participation, and the report the effectiveness of a training program.

5. Aligning To The Company’s Overall Strategy

Of the 500 L&D professionals surveyed, 20% are concerned about how aligning the learning program with an organization’s overall strategy makes a huge difference.

The report also gives a method to overcome this particular challenge. “Don’t just take orders.

Identify real training needs”, this is one sure shot method to align the strategies with learning. A Learning Management System can act as the key to achieving the learning and organizational goals. A Learning Management System with innovative features can act as the means for future-proofing, while its traditional features can essentially cater to the day-to-day training requisites.

6. Building Employee Awareness Of Learning And Development Programs

19% reported that building employee awareness is a challenge that hinders the effectiveness of L&D programs.

The report mentions that, “Employees are more likely to take part in learning when they understand the benefit.” The report further mentions 5 ways to do so. For a Learning Management System launch, marketing it well can effectively increase participation. As mentioned in a blog earlier, having a launch strategy surely helps.

If explained well (WIIFM or What's In It For Me approach is the key here), learners can definitely understand the perks of using a Learning Management System to their advantage.

7. Getting Executive Buy-In

19% mention this as a cause of concern.

As mentioned in the report, “Developing employees is important to executives, but demonstrating value proves challenging. 90% of executives say that Learning and Development programs would help close the gap”.

Learning Management System offering demos and free trials can be used to make the executive team aware of how the system works. Looking for the awards the Learning Management System has won, testimonials from customers, referrals, etc. can be helpful too.

8. Engaging Employees During Learning And Development Programs

18% mention this as a factor that affects the L&D programs.

Learning and Development professionals often have concerns about learner engagement and knowledge retention. With Learning 3.0, the overall learning process has shifted more towards informal learning.

A Learning Management System with social learning and knowledge collaboration can help learners connect with their peers, hold discussions and engage in their own way.

Learning Management System features like assessments, polls & surveys, multiple-media support, blended learning, etc. can also play crucial role in learner engagement by delivering a blended mix of various training/learning components.

9. Lacking Data And Insights To Understand Which Solutions Are Effective

15% respondents pointed this as an issue.

The issue mostly is not the lack of 'data', but the lack of a system to collect and analyze it.

A Learning Management System' MIS & Reporting features come in handy for analyzing which solutions are working and which aren't. Sieving out the chaff from the wheat or in short deriving Business Intelligence from the data through Reporting is a good way to maximize the ROI and get more for the buck in today's competitive era.

10. Having Old Or Outdated Content

Though not an alarming number, but yet 13% still mention outdated content.

A great learning platform alone can't achieve much if the content is not in line with the times. Off-the-shelf (OTS) courses are an easier and cheaper option when getting the most up-to-date content is critical and time is an issue.

11. Having Learning And Development Decentralized Within the Company

12% mention decentralization as one of the challenges for L&D in 2017.

However, it is specifically mentioned that decentralization is not really an issue. 63% say L&D is centralized within their company and sits within HR or Biz Ops.

Whether it's a case of decentralization or not, a Learning Management System with multi-portal architecture enables hosting one or multiple portals (either departments or divisions) on a single setup. The learning/ training can then be managed in either a centralized or a decentralized fashion depending on the organization's need. In the former, the site admin can monitor and manage the training of ALL portals with individual portals given a flexibility to manage their training/learning separately too, while in the latter case, each portal is responsible for its individual training only.

Quoting Britt Andreatta, PhD, Consultant, Speaker, and Top LinkedIn Learning Author, “When I consult with leaders, I ask them to identify their overall phase as well as the phases for each of the functions, as this can provide valuable information to design effective learning solutions. I want to ask you the same thing. Can you identify where your organization is on the model? More importantly, can you tell what crisis point and transformation is coming? Your learning strategy needs to map to where your organization currently is, and also where it’s heading.

Inferring from this, a Learning Management System can be a solution for challenges only when the challenges are identified, analyzed and relayed well. So, choose the right Learning Management System and overcome all challenges for Learning and Development. Make 2017 count.