Professional Learning Is Critical – and In Need of a Refresh
Today's professionals see a vital need to upskill in an increasingly competitive workforce. Especially amid what has been coined the great mismatch — where we have a record number of available jobs and yet, high unemployment rates — professionals and business leaders alike see corporate training as a priority. According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Global Learning & Development Report, nearly 60% of learning and development professionals globally have identified upskilling and reskilling as critical. The report also found 76% of GenZ learners believe that continued education is the key to a successful career.
But even with massive technology transformations happening within businesses, the digital learning experience is quite fragmented. In order to increase adoption, better train corporate learners, and make their journeys more engaging along the way, I see three key issues that need fixing.
Platform and Application Sprawl Impedes Learning
Most professional learners are challenged with managing their day-to-day job responsibilities and learning new skills to elevate their careers. While juggling multiple priorities, those interested in upskilling do not have time to waste navigating unfamiliar digital platforms or switching from platform to platform. Unfortunately, that is the reality of today.
Far too often, professional students — whether enrolled in courses through a university, an external educational organization or even their own company’s training center — will spend valuable time jumping between platforms. Recently, a few of my AvePoint colleagues and I participated in an online course where we used Zoom, Slack and LinkedIn for lectures and communication throughout the course — only to then discuss key themes amongst ourselves in Microsoft Teams, because that’s where we do our daily work.
When organizations streamline the number of platforms and applications they require their students to use, it not only provides a more seamless experience, it also ensures no information is lost or siloed, which could impede learner capabilities. Better yet, when the platforms employees are most familiar with, such as Teams or Google Workspace, are the foundation of a training management system, employees can spend less time investigating new functionality and more time actually learning career enhancing information.
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Engaging Content Is Rare
Many professionals are interested in continuing their education, but, as mentioned above, it can be difficult to prioritize learning amid a busy work (and life!) schedule. That’s why the content needs to compel learners to pick up their course work over Netflix, for example.
When the content is especially engaging, professionals are more likely to retain information in the long run. In fact, learners who use social features, like live Q&A and digital groups, watch 30 times more hours of content than learners who don’t. As evidenced by the elementary and higher education space as well, interactive, digital learning is the most impactful.
On top of that, the way content is shared has to reflect the human experience, meaning it should be digestible and mobile. When you look at digital collaboration platforms like Slack and Teams, it is clear that they’ve invested in mirroring personal and work experiences. The same should occur in the professional learning space.
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Employer Investment Can Improve
Even though many business leaders want to provide new learning opportunities for their employees, it can be a significant up front investment cost. And that typically requires convincing key stakeholders of the value. But for anyone looking to demonstrate the value of corporate learning, consider this: a record high of 4.4 million people, or over 3% of workers, quit their jobs in September. And many believe this is because employees do not see opportunities to upskill. But in fact, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if they felt their employer was investing in their career and providing new learning opportunities.
Businesses can empower their employees in a number of ways. My company, for example, offers employees an annual stipend that can be used towards any professional training or education they feel will help further their careers. That way, continuous learning is not only encouraged but financially supported too. Another strategy is to provide an allotted amount of time to employees during the work week on new skills development. Importantly though, for employees to truly embrace continuing their education, there has to be a culture of curiosity within the organization.
Ultimately, businesses will be better off by encouraging further training. Even entire countries, like Singapore for example, are investing in programs like SkillsFuture that will give citizens skills to boost their careers and the economy because they believe in the benefit. The key is to use today's digital collaboration tools to make the experience as impactful as possible in order to see real change.
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About the Author
Dux Raymond Sy is the Chief Brand Officer of AvePoint and a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director. With over 20 years of business and technology experience, Dux has driven organizational transformations worldwide with his ability to simplify complex ideas and deliver relevant solutions.