The State Of Online Learning For Enterprises

The Change Imperative

Professionals of L&D often have to deal with change. Whenever learning takes place, whether it is offline or online, for enterprises or individuals, we expect change to follow. Both the emerging new technologies and the rise of AI change the scene in an unprecedented way. Additionally, the way we understand social and informal learning has a vast impact on the role L&D plays. Leadership keeps applying pressure to L&D to produce more tangible value, albeit the consistent rise of training solutions. While it may be true that everyone wants to be digital, allocating one’s L&D resources the proper way in order to achieve that is a challenge for many.

"Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong." – N.R. Narayana Murthy, chairman emeritus of Infosys

eBook Release: The State Of Online Learning For Enterprises
eBook Release
The State Of Online Learning For Enterprises
Find out what is changing in online learning for your organization.

The Industry In 2020

The Ken Blanchard Companies conducted an HR/L&D survey in 2019 in order to find the most prevailing modalities that Learning and Development professionals intend to use. Mainly, the focus is split between learning at the point of work and adaptive learning; however, digitization, design thinking and peer mentoring do not fall too far behind. There is also some interest in spaced learning.

It is true that these results paint a picture of a broad range of approaches of both the present and future needs and requirements of the market; however, there is always the issue of the abilities of the HR and L&D departments to exploit their role fully as agents of continuous improvement across their organizations.

Undoubtedly, the Learning and Development department of each organization aims to develop formal learning solutions. It needs, however, to also understand and adapt to the informal learning framework in order to keep up with the ever-changing and fast-moving environment, where learning and working have become different aspects of the same experience, each as important as the other.

Workplace As A Learning Center

The key role that the workplace plays in training and development is analyzed thoroughly by Andies de Grip and his colleagues at the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market in The Netherlands.

Professor De Grip’s work concludes that “On-the-job learning is more important for workers’ human capital development than formal training.” His research also emphasizes the significance of constantly updating employer’s know-how through informal training while they are working, especially when the organization is deeply affected by frequent changes due to innovation. Additionally, the professor and his team have studied various new ways of working in connection with the quality and frequency of informal learning involved, and they have discovered a positive relationship between them.

What this means is that the ever-shifting environment of technology-enabled working has created an unprecedented demand to focus on informal training. More than ever before, new ways of working require new ways of learning.

The Rise And Fall Of Taylorism

In his book 70:20:10 Towards 100% Performance, Jos Arts describes the legacy of Fredrick Winslow Taylor. He played an important role in how we think about learning and working today. Published in 1911, Taylor’s scientific management theory focused mainly on economic efficiency. He stated that the way to achieve it was by imposing standardization of the highest degree to heavily structured organizations. The view we have today about how structured, formal training is the “the norm” and informal training is considered “lesser” training is a consequence of Taylor’s theories.

These theories belong to a past world. Our age is very different. While training aims to produce measurable contributions to improve organizational results, professionals often misuse or abuse it.

Proper Metric Etiquette

Metrics in the field of Learning and Development may cause a paradox. If one tries to apply formal learning metrics to an informal learning series of sessions, the results will be disappointing. And yet, before we draw any conclusions about this, we must remember one important detail. Informal training does not take place in order to improve one’s test scores, it takes place to produce results. Productivity metrics, not learning metrics, are the only fair way to compare the two systems because L&D’s ultimate goal is to improve efficiency and output. And in that area, not only does informal training not fall short but is often faster and better than its traditional counterpart.

A New Chapter In The Making

As you can see, the current state of affairs involves a big number of exciting and game-changing factors. Factors that foreshadow developments we can only imagine. If you would like to understand this dynamic, download the eBook The State Of Online Learning For Enterprises.

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