You've probably heard the (unfortunate) stat: The average employee only spends 1 percent of their work week on training and development, and it's rare for existing solutions to meet learning needs during that short timeframe. It's clear that a change is needed—traditional learning methodologies tend to be burdened by information overload, content that doesn't quite meet context and the idea that one size can fit all.
According to Deloitte Human Capital Trends, careers and learning are the second most important issue to businesses (83 percent of executives say these issues are important or very important). But priorities are easier listed than accomplished.
So, how are learning and development experts meeting the high demand for growth amidst modern challenges—and how can executives better support their work?
Blended Learning to Meet All Needs
While L&D has come far since the e-learning hype of the late 90s and early 2000s, many organizations still have a long way to go in terms of developing a new type of learning experience that will benefit the maximum number of learners.
"It's really important that we meet the learners where they are," Brian Fox, product design manager and facilitator for The Ariel Group, a communication training company, says. Fox explains that customized learning initiatives are often a challenge because organizations try to fit them into a one-size-fits-all solution.
The answer? Blended learning. "We need to look at a combination of in-person training, facilitator-led training, e-learning and on-the job application," he says.
Connect Training to Real Work
With connectivity comes challenge: From email to group messaging to social media, employees are distracted an average of every five minutes. "Attention spans are shrinking—everything now is done through text, email and video," Fox says.
To counter a limited attention span, as well as a limited time to actually commit to learning during the workday, Fox looks for ways to make learning experiential. When learners can see value in what they are being asked to do, and have the opportunity to immediately test what they learned and apply it to their job, they become more attentive and interested in learning.
"Even the greatest and most interactive training is useless without regular management emphasis," Anthony Clemons, manager of curriculum and training development for General Dynamics Information Technology, says. "Managers and organizational leaders should emphasize to their employees why whatever it is they expect their employees to learn is important."
Virtually Interact with Remote Workers
Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans reported that they spent at least some time working remotely, according to a recent Gallup poll. The challenge is engaging remote learners who may work from different cities or even across the country.
To solve this problem, Fox recommends connecting over the phone or video, as opposed to through office message boards or email. For example, if a facilitator is leading a remote training session, learners should ideally be on camera as well. "If you can find a platform that forces learners to be on camera, you'll have a better connection because it simulates being in the same conference room," he explains.
Future learning solutions need to meet the needs of a variety of learners while also ideally being a long-lasting solution for organizations. "The leaders of the L&D industry, from CLO to the instructional designer, are all going to have to be enterprise-level thinkers that have the skills to engage in design and development while, balancing the needs of the L&D staff and the organization in totality," says Clemons.
To learn more about how to evolve L&D and learning at your organization, check out Cornerstone's e-book: The Rise of a Holistic Learning Experience.