Online learning help companies modules from which their employees can develop their own bespoke training menu
India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, attracting a wealth of foreign investment, yet it is facing internal challenges that could impact its future economic growth: a domestic talent shortage. According to a recent survey ,more than two thirds of Indian employers are struggling to find the right candidates for their open positions and, perhaps more worryingly, one third of Indian employees are under-qualified for their current job. In fact, the problem extends beyond technical qualifications as many candidates are also lacking the workplace behavioral skills they need to help businesses succeed.
Government, education and the private sector are all looking for solutions to address this situation long-term. In the short-term, however, businesses need talent. Instead of looking for the perfect candidate, possessing the right technical and behavioral skill-sets, companies should prioritize by considering what skills they require candidates to have, and what skills can be learnt on the job. Increasing numbers of employers are turning to online learning to meet their needs. Online learning is inexpensive, impactful and time efficient, which enables employees to be up-skilled without inhibiting overall productivity of the business.
There are two main types of online learning, “a-synchronous” and “synchronous”. A-synchronous learning is what most people will traditionally recognize as online learning; a series of exercises that a candidate completes in order to achieve a particular goal, for example a certification in financial fraud. As candidates either pass or fail the exercises, it does not require external mediation, and so, is well suited to technical skill development. When it comes to non-technical skill development, however, teacher/student interaction is vital as needs differ from person to person and this is where synchronous learning is advantageous. Taking place in a virtual classroom, it enables students to learn together and interact with each other and their tutor throughout the session. This makes the lesson agenda more flexible, led by the input from students.
So, what’s the benefit for businesses? Not only is investing in learning internally a great way to up-skill employees in the specific skills a business needs (technical or otherwise), it’s also a great way to keep staff engaged; studies show that companies that invest in training and mentoring have stronger retention rates. Furthermore, switching learning channels to online reduces training costs and improves productivity – lengthy all-day training sessions are often impractical, and it’s not always obvious to employees how to apply the learnings to their job. Online learning is not only efficient, but also a highly successful learning experience; it fits seamlessly into the working day and is a more comfortable experience for employees as it takes place in a familiar environment – their desk. This also makes it closer to the reality of their work, which helps increase its relevance for their job and the likelihood that they will directly apply its teachings afterwards. Even better, there is a relatively low cost per head as all employees need to take part is the internet and sound so there is a high return on investment for businesses.
For employees, too, it’s hugely beneficial. Every individual has different areas of expertise and different development needs, and businesses need to respond to this through learning and development programs. Whilst training cannot always be one-size-fits-all, many businesses do have an overall development agenda that their employees need to adhere to, which can be difficult to personalize. Online learning can help to bridge this divide; companies can create a suite of training modules online, some compulsory and others optional, from which their employees can develop their own bespoke training menu. This gives individuals more autonomy over their learning, but without compromising the overall business agenda.
In today’s economic climate, with businesses all over the world facing talent crises, companies need to find ways to grow and nurture talent internally to retain their competitive edge. Inexpensive, impactful and efficient - online learning makes sound business and economic sense.
Matt Turner is the Founder and Director of LiveTime Learning. Based in the UK, Matt has spent more than 10 years working with organizations all over the world, to help address employers’ challenges with learning and development solutions that enable business-critical goals to be achieved.