Focus on continuous learning drives success
Learning and development is no longer just about delivering and consuming training courses. At a time of accelerating business change and globalisation, learning needs to become transformational. It is a vital tool for creating a workforce with the soft skills necessary to be super flexible when it comes to handling change, communicating well and developing new capabilities.
Just over half (51%) of HR and learning professionals believe blended learning will become the most important type of learning delivery in their company this year, according to the 2017/18 Speexx Exchange 7th annual survey. L&D professionals face a real challenge in delivering and supporting an effective blend of learning to all employees, but getting this right has a highly positive impact on the company.
Almost twice as many ‘Top Deck’ learning organisations, those that Towards Maturity’s 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report identifies as high achieving, have implemented blended learning compared with lower achieving organisations – 84% of high achieving companies have put in place blended learning, compared with only 45% of lower achieving organisations.
There are clear indications that HR and L&D professionals are open to evolving their learning strategy and driving change.
A maturing learning culture
Many organisations have some way to go to create the self-directed learning culture that characterises a mature approach to learning. In its report, ‘The Transformation Curve’, Towards Maturity defines organisations with the most mature approach to learning as ‘New Learning Organisations’. These organisations are, “continually evolving their learning strategy in line with the business".
There are clear indications that HR and L&D professionals are open to evolving their learning strategy and driving change. When asked to identify what type of learning will be important for their organisation in 2018, the highest number (51%) of respondents said blended learning.
This very much signals that organisations increasingly understand the value of providing a mix of digital and in-person support for learning new skills. That is particularly the case when it comes to soft skills such as language and communication skills. An elearning module is a good starting point but human interaction is key to practising and embedding these skills.
Learning priorities 2018
There are a number of steps HR and learning professionals can take to maximise the benefits of blended learning initiatives:
- Make better use of learning data. Surprisingly, a tiny 3% of respondents to the Speexx survey said that achieving standardised reporting was a driver for them, while 13% said that using big data for HR and people analytics would be their biggest challenge in 2018 – which may imply that HR professionals are not fully utilising the valuable data that may be extracted from learning systems. Many are not capturing data that could provide a fuller picture of learning activities, including coaching and mentoring. One way to close this gap is to define clear key performance indicators for your learning programmes. This white paper provides a few practical guidelines on how define the right KPIs and calculate a learning ROI that matters.
- Foster a culture of continuous learning, through microlearning and gamification. This is vital to underpin effective blended learning. Team members and managers should take responsibility for their own learning, identifying their own needs and accessing learning content as needed, not waiting for training requirements to be handed down from on high at an annual performance review.
- Use blended and continuous learning to create a resilient capability for high quality business communications. This means boosting foreign language skills enabling employees to speak to customers and partners in different countries, but also with a good understanding of the context of local cultures and business practices.
HR professionals responding to the Speexx survey identified finding and retaining the best talent as the greatest challenge for HR and L&D in 2018. To address this challenge successfully it will be vital to put staff development at the heart of a self-directed learning culture.
This will deliver the soft skills learning needed to support an engaging workplace that is attractive to new recruits while offering current employees opportunities to develop globally.
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