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The Key Elements of a Holistic Learning Experience

It used to be that organizations owned and directed the learning and development processes that they used for employee training. The timing was once pre-determined as well—managers provided training during onboarding, and later offered additional development opportunities to guide employees along preset career paths.

Today, the way people work and learn is being disrupted. Employees are plotting their own career paths and expect constant access to L&D opportunities. As advances in technology continue to shape the job market and evolve skill requirements, employer perspectives are shifting too.

A report from the World Economic Forum projected that 35 percent of the core job skills required in the U.S. workforce will change in just three years. But, a Deloitte survey found that 70 percent of CEOs worry their employees aren't armed with the skills they need to adapt to this transformation.

Forward-thinking organizations must do more than just manage the training process. Instead, they have to create a holistic learning experience that is employee-focused and multi-faceted. To do so, L&D teams need to become learning curators, not training facilitators.

A successful holistic learning program will include three key elements.

1) Content Curation

A holistic approach to learning is built around collective content curation, rather than corporate ownership of development and training materials. The role of content curators is to find, sort and select relevant digital content, including articles, videos, blogs and research reports. They then have to organize and present it in a meaningful format. Curated playlists, for example, are one way that learners and L&D teams can create a learning journey.

For effective content curation, the goal should be to choose content that aligns with both organizational and employee interests. That means both employees and HR have to be involved. Employees should be encouraged to offer input regarding what they're interested in learning and weigh in on the quality of existing content. Ideally, a content collection should incorporate a wide range of topics, so that employees can tailor the learning experience to fit their needs.

2) Goal-Oriented Learning Paths

A holistic learning experience empowers employees to create their own individualized learning strategy. This is a departure from the traditional approach to L&D, in which teaching materials are presented in the same format to all workers at the same stage of their career development.

With more emphasis on learning than teaching, holistic learning offers employees more freedom to incorporate their unique learning styles as they figure out how they learn best. It enables them the follow their passions and absorb knowledge at their own pace.

The learning experience can also be customized to align with each employee's self-determined career goals. Gone are the days when career success meant climbing the rungs of a pre-built corporate ladder. Managers are no longer dictating the L&D process based on their organization's vision for employee career advancement. Today's employers recognize that employee engagement increases when workers have an L&D experience that reflects where they see themselves going—whether their journey takes them up the traditional corporate ladder, or in another direction.

3) Continuous Learning

A holistic learning style facilitates continuous learning, which is essential to an agile workforce. Today's learning technology has shifted from a primary focus on compliance to a more continuous, collaborative learning experience. Rather than being offered only during onboarding or at other employee life cycle milestones, learning content is available on demand, all the time.

“The key to success is no longer simply developing great content, but rather arranging it and delivering it with a focus on 'continuous capability development,'" according to a report from Bersin by Deloitte.

An additional benefit for organizations is that with continuous learning comes loyalty. Research by Deloitte has also linked ongoing, holistic learning in the workplace to increased employee productivity and improved employee retention. A holistic learning approach empowers employees to gain the knowledge and skills they need to advance their careers, with them in the driver's seat.

Does your organization need a platform that facilitates holistic learning by making it easy to keep track of relevant content? Find out more about the Cornerstone Learning Experience Platform.

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