Keeping up with the pace of change, marketing function has transformed itself from an unquantifiable cost center to an analytics-driven discipline, cementing its position as a strategic partner in the growth of an organization. For a long time, however, learning and development has struggled to achieve the same status. Organizations that fail to pay enough attention to learning and development, often find themselves struggling with growth and productivity. As a result, an increasing number of organizations are realizing that traditional methods need to give way to technology-led innovation for more effective ways that help engage employees and improve performance.
A report published by Deloitte indicates that while structured learning is extremely important, on-demand learning from informal sources now constitutes more than 70 percent of the total ecosystem.
The report also says that as many as 86 percent organizations believe that there are still gaps in their leadership pipelines. Obviously, something needs to change in the learning and development ecosystem.
Learning on the go with mobile devices
Each one of us today carries a mobile device fully capable of delivering access to professional courses anytime, anywhere. Moreover, nearly 25% of the workforce now constitutes of millennials who have grown up using portable devices and are completely at ease with them. They prefer to utilize their unproductive time, such as travel time, for learning something new and mobile devices give them the perfect opportunity to catch up on their skill development needs.
The objective of learning is to enhance productivity. One of the biggest reasons why employees today prefer online learning is that it allows them to pace their learning experience according to their own preferences.
It also allows them access to bite-sized content that acts as a ready-reckoner of lessons learned in the classroom or through online courses whenever they require it.
Not everyone is an extrovert. Introverts are often intimidated in face-to-face interactions and withdraw themselves from such situations. However, online courses allow them a certain amount of cover of anonymity that is often enough to encourage active participation in discussions and learning through interaction with peers.
No limit on numbers
Classroom setups have one big disadvantage - they are restricted to a physical classroom. Online learning, on the other hand, effectively opens up the classroom to an unlimited number of students at any time.
Along with that, it also lifts the restrictions of geography and allows consistency in training programs across locations for an organization.
Cost effective and eco-friendly
Since online learning is not dependent on physical classroom setups or the number of students in one batch, it can offer a cost effective solution for organizations to train a larger number of employees. Not only that, virtual classrooms also reduce the carbon footprint for an organization since there are no brick and mortar classrooms, papers, etc. being used in the training process.
Online learning is already touching upon a lot of points that make a lot of sense for businesses. As internet and smartphone penetration increases around the world, the likelihood of online learning gaining even more traction is undeniable. Social networks, mobility, bite-sized learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and an increasing number of employees who prefer a screen over paper are already seen as a big contributing factor in making it happen. Suffice to say, online learning is here to stay and grow further. Now it comes down to the learning and development function within organizations to either take a hint from these trends and restructure themselves or prepare themselves to get left behind as the wheels of time move forward.