Flexibility and instant accessibility still the main drivers for online learners

Written by Armin Hopp on 23 October 2013

With ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN fast approaching us on the 5th and 6th December, it' s hard to believe that the event is now in its 19th year. The conference brings together more than 400 speakers and 2,000 participants from in excess of 100 countries and is an annual fixture in my calendar.

Ahead of Speexx Exchange, which takes place on the eve of Online Educa Berlin, we are running our annual audit of global CXOs, HR, L&D professionals and training consultants who are also scheduled to attend the event. Early findings of the Speexx Exchange survey show some interesting insights which I'm pleased to share with you.

We asked L&D professionals worldwide about the main benefits they see in e-enabled learning. 60 per cent said that "flexibility and instant accessibility" were the key advantages they gained, followed by a "reduction of direct training costs" (cited by 14 per cent). It is encouraging to see that HR and L&D managers are already registering financial benefits of e-learning programmes. In line with this trend, more than half of respondents indicate that they plan to increase the proportion of their online training budget within the next three years to support a more diverse and dispersed workforce. 

As an important element of e-learning, mobile learning is soaring in all industries. 38 per cent confirmed that they were actively supporting mobile learning within their organisation and 19 per cent plan to implement a mobile learning strategy within the next three years. The main factors considered to be hampering mobile learning in the workplace were "lack of integration", "No BYOD policy in place" and "corporate data security issues". In addition, the survey shows that social learning is a popular concept, but has not yet been implemented as widely as mobile learning. Only 23 per cent currently have a social learning strategy in place, while 30 per cent plan to introduce it by 2016 and the rest have no social learning projects. By contrast, the vast majority strongly believe in the potential of social learning, with 90 per cent considering it to become either "very effective" or "somewhat effective" by 2016.

Adapting to change

But in order to achieve a truly global e-learning and talent management strategy, organisations will need a robust communications strategy. It is interesting to observe is that there has been an increased appetite for lanuage training technology, which is indicative more cross-border business taking place. For many organisations, multilingual skills is a crucial agenda item, which was reflected in the Towards Maturity 2012 Benchmark Survey. The research showed an increased uptake of e-enabled language learning, with 43 per cent of organisations e-enabling foreign language and communication skills training, 350 per cent more than two years ago. Similarly, 86 per cent of our respondents this year consider foreign language and communication skills to be important or very important for business success and 50 per cent believe that a strong communications strategy will speed up decision processes. I look forward to sharing further insights with you following the event in December.

As we move into 2014, the integration of multilingual and multicultural workers into an overall business strategy is crucial to sustain and grow your business. Many organisations are now actively incorporating communication skills training and language learning as part of their talent strategy, nurturing staff from the ground up and making talent accessible on a global scale. An organisation with an all-inclusive work culture that embraces diversity and effectively integrates multilingual workers will ultimately open its doors to better business - and is more likely to retain its best people. 

About the author
Armin Hopp is the founder and president of Speexx. He can be contacted via www.speexx.com

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