The Power Of On-Demand Workforce Education

The Power Of On-Demand Workforce Education
Summary: See how on-demand companies' innovative platforms have created an entirely new economy powered by a new model of workforce education.

On-Demand Workforce Education: Rethinking The Philosophy Behind Online Training

On-demand companies like Uber and Airbnb have done more than transform the transportation and lodging industries. With innovative platforms that match consumers with providers, they’ve created an entirely new economy [1] powered by a new model of workforce education.

From learning objectives to content to delivery, workforce education in the on-demand sector is unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s new, it’s exciting and, based on the incredible growth these companies are enjoying, it’s getting results.

In a traditional training model, companies treat training as a staff requirement. They administer courses through the human resources department for one of three reasons: meeting compliance requirements, closing skill gaps and aligning employees with the core strategic goals of the company. Above all else, this approach is designed to develop trainees into better employees.

But here’s the thing: On-demand companies don’t have employees [2]. The providers who work on their platforms are freelancers who aren’t a part of a typical management framework. On-demand providers set their own hours, work when they choose to, and can leave the platform whenever they want.

Although providers receive extraordinary freedom in how they use the platform, on-demand companies are anything but indifferent towards their performance. Providers bring the platform to life, drive business and serve as the consumer-facing representatives of the brand. Companies need their providers to do well because the provider’s success is the platform’s success.

Ultimately, the relationship between company and provider in the on-demand economy is not employer-employee, but rather partner-partner. To make the partnership work, on-demand companies are discarding the training-as-a-requirement approach described above and are replacing it with a new strategy: Incentivize providers to pursue learning by offering them substantial value in return.

Strategic Objectives In On-Demand Workforce Education

The importance of value in on-demand training is evident in the training goals companies set. Instead of using traditional metrics such as course completions and exam scores, employers now measure the value with metrics more closely linked to the ROI of training for both the platform and the providers.

Providers come to on-demand platforms to make money, so increased earnings potential is their key metric of success. And since improved performance and higher customer ratings usually enable providers to earn more, they are likely to heavily track both. Reduced onboarding time is also valuable — the sooner providers understand the platform and their roles, the sooner they can start earning.

On the platform side, earnings are of course important, but the growth of the platform is just as crucial. On-demand companies compete fiercely to expand the consumer and provider sides of their user bases; they want their training to provide increased satisfaction for both parties so they can attract more business.

Content For The Right Context

In every Instructional Design and implementation decision with on-demand training, context is the top priority. Workforce education has a greater impact when it’s tailored to the actual workforce.

Because of the special learning conditions and strategic priorities of workforce education, on-demand companies need special training content. Instead of relying on stock third-party courses, companies create their own customizable content to help trainees confront the specific challenges they will face on a regular basis.

The actual topics addressed with on-demand training can range vastly. Some on-demand training may cover timeless general best practices, such as communication skills or dealing with disgruntled customers, or common questions like how to earn referrals. And on-demand training is simply invaluable in giving specific guidance on how to navigate unexpected scenarios that may arise. Whatever the topic, the training simply needs to present demonstrable value to the provider.

The size of the on-demand training is also different from a traditional setting. Providers usually don’t have the time or the inclination to sit down for a full, involved training course; even if they did, this style of learning would betray the spirit of the fast-paced on-demand economy. Instead, on-demand companies compress courses into bite-sized modules or offer short bursts of learning in the form of articles, quizzes or videos.

Not only does digestible training increase training participation, but it also makes it easier for companies to incorporate the training throughout the platform instead of keeping it in a separate silo from the rest of the experience.

Getting Providers Engaged

While on-demand companies work arduously to contextualize their training, encouraging participation among the providers is also a major area of concern. This is why the on-demand sector has pioneered inventive strategies for motivating providers to pursue skill development.

One tactic is tapping into the power of community. Several on-demand companies use tools that enable providers to create and host their own instructional content and share it with their peers, ranging from blog posts to video tutorials.

Providers trust this user-generated content because it comes from a place of experience and a willingness to help others. Peer-to-peer learning experiences are also valuable networking opportunities for the providers, allowing them to build contacts they can bounce ideas off or approach with questions.

Companies have also picked up the value of monitoring provider performance for weak points and then suggesting training that will help them improve. If a provider’s customer reviews for an on-demand shopping service frequently contain complaints about slow delivery, the company may offer a course about improving delivery speed.

Evidence of personal growth can also encourage further training. When a provider sees that their customer ratings have increased a full star since completing regular training assignments, for example, it gives them the motivation to complete more.

Training is an ongoing process in the on-demand sector. Most companies administer knowledge checks to new and seasoned providers alike to ensure that skills remain sharp.

Related reading: How to Create an Online Course in 5 Easy Steps

A Phenomenon Powered By Online Training

As the art of on-demand workforce education continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: Companies need a robust, scalable and intuitive Learning Management System (LMS) to make it work.

Only today’s cutting-edge LMS technology has the tool set trainers need to create engaging content, integrate it with their platform and deliver updates quickly. Placing the LMS at the center of your workforce education strategy ensures a solid foundation to facilitate learning that is both comprehensive and personal for each provider.

SchoolKeep is proud to play our part in shaping on-demand training. Over the last few years, we’ve partnered with some of the world’s fastest growing brands —including Uber, Airbnb, Postmates and Shopify— to create an impactful training strategy with our cloud-based LMS, and we look forward to working with more in the future.

Wherever workforce education goes from here, it has already asserted itself as the superior training model for businesses wanting to compete in this growing sector of our economy. If your company is on-demand, it’s time to get onboard.

Start your free 14-day trial today at SchoolKeep.



  1. Intuit: Gig economy is 34% of US workforce
  2. In the Future, Employees Won’t Exist
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