Learning has become a mainstay in the business environment. With new technological and digital advancements constantly emerging, companies must stay adaptive and responsive to the ever-evolving climate of today's landscape. And that means implementing a strong learning and development program. Given the vast array of e-learning tools now available, leveraging technology to fuel corporate training initiatives seems like a no-brainer. However, it appears that many organizations seem to be lagging in this department.
According to Training Magazine, one-third of businesses do not use any learning technology. Furthermore, of those that do use it, many have not implemented a sound structure for measuring the effectiveness of the digital learning programs. This is a problem, especially considering that the companies with the most sophisticated learning and technology strategies generally tend to be more productive and engaged.
In addition, the 2016 Learning Technology Study conducted by Brandon Hall Group found that, overall, companies' satisfaction with their currently learning technology is relatively low. However, investments in these tools are expected to increase, since utilizing them correctly can lead to revenue growth, lower turnover rates and cost reductions.
When integrating these solutions, Training Mag explained that it is crucial for organizations to have a clear strategy and roadmap in place. The organizations that are considered "innovative" are those who are able to accomplish the following:
"Implementing a new learning technology requires a strategic planning process."
While having any learning strategy in place is better than not having one at all, to realize the greatest benefits these technologies have to offer, companies must be able to measure the effectiveness of them. Obviously, if a business is going to implement a new technology - whether that be for learning purposes or another kind of initiative - the goal is to improve something, to solve a problem or to uncover a better, more efficient and cost-effective way of completing a process. Usually, it's a combination of all three.
However, it is quite difficult, if not altogether impossible, to determine whether improvements are being made without tracking KPIs. It is important that companies leverage data and analytics to analyze and assess the effectiveness of learning technology. To ensure that the appropriate metrics are being measured, though, the business must first have a clearly defined strategy.
Create a roadmap
Without considering what objectives this new technology is supposed to help achieve, organizations won't know whether it was worth the investment. A company's learning strategy can't just be a shot-in-the-dark process. The goals should be as specific as possible. For example, while the general idea may be to increase the productivity or engagement of workers, the organization must be able to know what tangible data they are going to use to measure it, such as completion rates or test scores.
Furthermore, businesses should consider both their immediate and future needs. With new and emerging digital learning technologies constantly being developed, organizations that stay in the know and remain adaptive to these changes will be those that can quickly adjust accordingly and gain a competitive advantage.
Develop meaningful experiences
One of the greatest aspects of today's digital learning environment is that it has given rise to a wide range of e-learning formats and content delivery mechanisms. From microlearning to gamification, there is no shortage of elements businesses can incorporate into their learning strategy to enhance the user experience.
It should also be noted that, as Training Mag pointed out, "[m]ore advanced learning technology strategies are more likely to require informal and experiential learning functionality." Gone are the days where corporate training required formal, traditional classroom settings. Now, education can be tailored to fit the specific needs of the learner.
Today, people can complete modules and courses at their own pace, from virtually any device, regardless of where they are. Plus, businesses are able to deliver the content, information and materials on the platform and through the format that is preferred by the end-user. Not only does the on-demand, interactive nature of digital learning facilitate higher rates of engagement, it also increases the effectiveness of the programs.
There are profound benefits to implementing a learning technology strategy. However, to do so successfully, companies must ensure that they are taking a thorough approach to planning, implementing, deploying and measuring the program. This includes consistently checking to make sure it is achieving the desired results and that emerging technology and learning tools are being incorporated and integrated with existing systems as necessary.