One could argue that the phrase “knowledge is power” is more relevant today than it has ever been. In an era where information is compounding at staggering rates, and with the increasing ease with which to access it, it can be hard to ferret out what’s helpful. It’s no wonder that with how chaotic the knowledge environment has become, that organizations are putting a premium on learning and development (L&D) efforts—finding ways to keep employees and members engaged, informed and optimized.
Looking at 2019, organizations spent $1,286 on average per learner—which was up from $986 the year prior. But is it working? While spend was up, time dedicated to learning was actually down to just over 42 hours per year, a decrease from nearly 47 hours the year before.
It’s clear that businesses and organizations are still trying to find the right investment strategy and approach when it comes to effective learning in the workplace. So, what does that look like? Below, we shine a light on the common roadblocks that have hindered L&D efforts to-date, so leaders can take actionable steps to make education more impactful going forward.
Much of the learning that happens on behalf of a business or organization happens in isolation, be it a webinar from HR or a hosted workshop in the office. These are overly structured events that actually take people out of their days—removing the ideas and information from the natural flow of activity, instead of existing within it. To be effective, learning needs to happen within a person’s daily dynamic, so they can recognize its value and apply it in real-time. Making education a part of someone’s normal rhythm also means making it accessible, such as at their fingertips via mobile device, instead of something that lives in only one place and time. By making learning continuous and integrated, employees can better unlock new skills and insights for an immediate return.
Taking a deeper dive into the point above, where education happens in isolation, that typically creates another problem in that the information is overwhelming. By delivering insights and ideas rapid-fire and all at once, companies make it more difficult for the audience to digest them. For information to truly stick, companies should deconstruct it, and make it more approachable. By helping people expand their skillset a little at a time, retention and adoption rates go up. It’s learning by baby steps, delivering bite-sized information for quick and easy consumption.
Most of the time, learning initiatives are determined by HR or leadership. Perhaps they surveyed employees to get a temperature check on topics of interest, but most of the time these programs offer uniform information to a mass audience, instead of a personal opportunity for engagement. To make education effective, each participant should be able to choose what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. By having control over the topics and platform with which to access them, organizations are likely to see a higher level of engagement.
While these are some of the common pitfalls in today’s corporate learning environment, the tide may be shifting. Looking back at the 2019 US Training Industry Report, organizations cited online learning tools as the most common anticipated purchases to help L&D programs to the tune of 44%, followed by content development at 34%. Easier, more continual access with which people can interact with resources as they see fit has become a priority for organizations going forward.
At CatalystXL, we understand how having the right information and the right skills can make or break a business, and it all starts with having the right tools to make that a reality. Our custom-branded mobile apps enable personalized microlearning for more effective knowledge sharing. We want to help people work smarter, not harder, and we’d love to see what we can do for you.