The world of work is changing and fast. Given today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, businesses are scrambling to upgrade their service or product portfolio to gain a competitive edge, while focusing on enhancing the skill set of their workforce to address the widening skills gap brought upon by new and emerging technologies like automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and so on.
Especially in a country like India, one of the fastest-growing world economies, the need to reskill and upskill employees has never been so ardent. According to the International Monetary Fund, India’s economy is expected to expand 7.5% in FY2020, and 7.7% in FY2021, with more than 12 million employable youth (between ages 15-29) expected to storm the Indian labor force per year over the next two decades. However, the skills gap report by National Skill Development Corporation suggests that India’s 24 sectors, including automobile, construction, transportation logistics, retail among others, will demand almost 119 million additional skilled employees by 2022; while only 2.3% of India’s workforce has covered some formal skills training. As a result, closing the widening skills gap has become a primary challenge for Indian corporations.
The widening skills gap, coupled with some other key challenges, like employee engagement and productivity, shifting workplace models, and changing attitudes and behaviors of millennials (the future workforce) has led businesses to increasingly turn to employee learning & development (L&D) to offer practical solutions. And, one of the most powerful solutions in an L&D professional’s arsenal is ‘online learning libraries.’
The Business Case for Online Learning Libraries
As more and more businesses embrace technology-led learning, the eLearning market is expected to increase to $15.72 billion by 2021, with companies spending nearly $1252 on training and development per employee. This is a stark and clear indication that businesses are finding more value in employee training and development through eLearning. However, with learning technology solutions (like the LMS) effectively taking care of the learning delivery, the focus shifts on the learning itself, especially the eLearning courses and content.
Custom-developed eLearning courses often call for massive investments and a longer go-to-market. In contrast, online learning libraries are packed with limitless pre-created courses that are available for ready usage. Designed by subject matter experts, these online learning libraries cover a wide range of topics, where the learning is available in the form of text, videos, HTML courses, micro-learning, and more. Besides, these courses are also mobile-optimized to suit the learning needs of today’s employees.
Online Learning Libraries – A Key Resource for the Modern Learner
The modern learner is often described as ‘curious, connected and self-directed,’ and online learning libraries make for a great resource for today’s learners who are busy, tech-savvy, and eager to learn. Today’s learners, especially millennials, are a product of the constantly changing world of ours, a world increasingly governed by technology.
The modern learner is curious and inquisitive, with a passion for learning. She asks more questions and can learn and apply that learning effectively. The modern learner is connected, social, and a multi-tasker. She is empowered by technology and the limitless learning opportunities available to her today. She is self-directed and desires to learn on her terms and take control of her professional and personal life.
As a result, the modern learner is driven by her desire to ‘own’ her learning, to learn whatever she wants, and whenever she wants. And, there is no better resource to accomplish this other than online learning libraries.
Online Learning Libraries and L&D Budgets
A sufficient L&D budget is often a deciding factor when it comes to planning efficient training programs, and there has been a dramatic shift in training budgets over the past couple of years. India is facing the worst growth slowdown in six years, as per official GDP data. The recent collapse of the automobile sector, the rising number of non-performing assets (NPAs), sluggish consumer demand, failing manufacturing sector, spurt in instances of job losses from automobile manufacturers to biscuit makers have not only led to the general acceptance of the downturn but has also led to slashing of the L&D budgets. It is mainly during such times of an economic slowdown; online learning libraries offer cost-effective and time-saving learning solutions so that businesses don’t have to compromise on their L&D commitments.
Online Learning Libraries Equal More Learning Opportunities
One of the critical challenges for businesses is creating an ideal learning environment to engage today’s learners, drive motivations, and achieve the desired learning impact that further augments productivity and business growth.
Today, businesses need to offer more than just mandatory eLearning or run-of-the-mill training that does little for learner engagement and motivation. L&D professionals must derive a strategy that contextualizes learning and provides a truly uplifting experience.
It is often understood that employees don’t want to sift through a generic off-the-shelf (OTS) course and would instead appreciate custom-developed content. While this depends on many parameters, it opposes the modern learner’s (self-paced) learning behavior, and her ability to learn whenever-wherever. So, rather than looking at online learning libraries as the next-best option to custom-developed content, businesses should leverage such libraries to open up more and diverse learning opportunities to their employees.
Key Takeaway: E-Learning has evidently transformed the way businesses train and develop their employees, while innovative learn-tech tools and solutions have made training more accessible. So, in light of widening skills gaps, shifting L&D budgets, and changing learner behaviors, businesses must look at online learning libraries as a ‘must-have’ solution to offer more learning opportunities and achieve impactful employee training.