If you are in L&D, you’re probably starting to feel the pressure from your customers—your learners—to move into the 21st century.
Learners want more and more from us, and they won’t put up with the same old stuff; job-hopping has been on the rise as they search for better job satisfaction, culture fit, and career progression.
This has probably been a concern for you for some time, but it’s beginning to feel as if they’ve turned the volume up to 11. The press is full of stories about the changing workforce. We all have to evolve to survive—not just in L&D.
We've talked about the benefits that blended learning can provide to your business and to you as an L&D practitioner, but let’s turn our attention to the learners.
Why is a blended approach the best thing to get your people loving learning?
People want personal development. Whilst they might not be beating down our doors about it yet, the message we’re getting from the research already is loud and clear.
As early as last year, 56% of HR professionals said they planned to 'enhance employee experience' by investing in training and development. Another study listed personal and professional development as the most important aspect of an employer's value proposition for new hires, with 69% of "senior decisionmakers" expecting it to become yet more important to the workforce in future.
The main reason it’s going to be the hot topic for years to come is that young professionals especially value learning on the job. Research has shown that while a Baby Boomer or Gen X-er might have rated security, flexibility or pay as the most important factors in deciding whether to take a role, for today's 'millennial' workers—who will make up half of the workforce by 2020—other things rate much more highly when considering their career path.
As Boomers retire, the Generation X-ers moving into senior positions and millennials are going to be a much bigger part of L&D's audience. To attract and retain the right talent, you have to invest in your people; building learning culture, giving opportunities for continuous learning, using up-to-date technologies and enjoyable, absorbing learning content.
The workforce is changing
However, Boomers and Gen X-ers are going to be a big part of L&D's audience for a while yet. You need to be able to create learning programmes suitable for up to five generations of learners at a time—and this comes with its own unique considerations.
Each may have different learning styles, be dispersed over many locations, and use different methods to access learning programmes. To make sure a training plan works best for all learners, adopting a blended learning mindset, with its emphasis on diversity and customisation, is the perfect way to make your content’s appeal as broad as possible.
Solutions which only use this or that type of element can alienate people. By using a blend, not only do you have the best chance of engaging all types of learners, but you will also be better able to deliver different types of content, making up an exciting blend that will be retained and used.
The workplace is changing
37% of the global workforce is now mobile, 30% of full-time employees do most of their work outside of the employers’ location, and 20% is made up of temporary workers, contractors, and freelancers.
A diverse workplace calls for diverse approaches, and blended learning offers more flexibility and adaptability than traditional L&D delivery methods.
If people can’t access your learning, they won’t! Make sure your blend is optimised for mobile, remove the friction points that keep your people from accessing learning on their schedule, and wherever suits them.
Learners’ expectations are changing
As we know, digital technology has made learning more accessible than ever. Just look at the amazing recent success of YouTube how-to video tutorials. In 2016, the beauty category on YouTube—i.e., makeup tutorials—was capturing about 4.5 billion views per month. Millennials are used to using digital assets to 'pull' learning down from their personal networks every day, and will also expect this from your blend.
Apart from being expert at accessing point-of-need learning such as video tutorials, learners also now want to learn because they're used to learning. Language learning app Duolingo had 120 million users around the world in 2016, teaching 19 distinct languages. Learning's position has changed from being 'just one part of the job' (just as L&D has, up until recently, struggled against being 'just one part of the business') to something more all-pervasive.
So expectations are high. Having a blend will enable you to weave in elements of the latest digital and social learning, and be more innovative than ever before. Just to keep pace, you must have one eye on the latest tech, and always be looking to your own practice to innovate and to improve. Millennials won't tolerate bad design and clunky UX!
There’s never a good time to change, but there couldn’t be a better time than now to start building a blended learning offer. The pressure is mounting, but by making a move in the right direction early on, you can set yourself up for success later.
After all you don’t want your best people walking out the door because you have not invested in their personal development, in a way that makes sense to them.
In fact, engagement is the L&D professional’s new main concern. It’s not as simple as getting someone to turn up to a classroom session anymore; now our learning has to be exciting and innovative enough to draw people in, no matter what platform it’s on.
We need to get on board with blended learning, and keep evolving to stay at the cutting edge and hold on to people’s attention—whether they’re veterans or digital natives.
Download our free Fatal Errors of Blended Learning whitepaper to gain a thorough understanding of how to avoid the pitfalls on the road to a blended learning approach, and create successful solutions every time.
This whitepaper will help you to:
- Identify where there may be errors in your blended learning approach
- Plan for success to avoid errors in your planning
- Understand how to incorporate your current learning into your blend
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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