A 2013 Accenture survey on Skills and Employment Trends revealed that a large skills gap exists in most businesses. Nearly half (46 per cent) of the 400 participating executives were concerned that they won’t have the skills they need in the next one to two years. While nearly three- quarters (72 percent) of executives identified training as one of the top ways for employees to develop new skills, only 52 percent of workers employed by the companies surveyed currently receive company-provided, formal training. By comparison, a previous Accenture survey found that only 21 percent of US workers said they received company-provided formal training between 2006 and 2011. The figures clearly show that formal training is quickly being replaced by innovative online methods of knowledge and skill building. Here we have compiled a list of the current ways in which workplace learning is being imparted:
1. Mobile Learning
Well, if you think we’re overstating the importance of mlearning, a reality check might put things in perspective. The increasing millennial population is driving the demand for learning on the go, because companies must cater to their learning styles, if they are to fully tap the potential of this techno savvy generation. According to Forbes, the best way to approach Millennials is to allow them “to learn at their own pace and schedule rather than go through lectures and overly structured training. Make your training content succinct, entertaining, mobile and self-directed.” BYOD is another hot trend that is here to stay. The sense of ownership and familiarity people have with their own devices makes them as comfortable while learning as they might be with their favourite app. With development software such as Lectora mobile that update the offline learning content on the LMS too, the demand for mlearning is higher than ever.
2. Elearning and smarter LMSs
Tin Can/ API has already notched up the utility quotient of today’s LMSs. User-centric cloud-based LMSs which can significantly reduce costs while augmenting accessibility will continue to dominate. Combining Open Source and commercially supported word, the “no vendor lock” LMSs are round the corner where, under a commercial license and support, the vendor opens the code for the client, which paves way for greater flexibility and continuity for the organizations using them. Plus, there is expected to be greater emphasis on mobile-specific LMSs designing to keep pace with the growing demand for mlearning.
Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs are true to their name- they are massive, open and online. All you need is a decent internet connection and you’re ready to go. Many of these courses are offered by leading scholars, scientists and industry veterans. Compared with YouTube, MOOCs videos are of much better quality and also enable learners to grade each other and/or participate in online discussion groups. Organizations are enrolling their employees into their business/industry related courses to support their goals of employee development. In fact, the gaining popularity of MOOCs has led them to serve as a differentiating qualification in the recruitment process. While selecting candidates for a job, employers see those candidates in a more positive light who may have taken voluntary MOOCs, because they are perceived to be self-motivated learners and performers.
The gamification trend has picked up quite well because of its effectiveness in training, so it is here to stay. Software maker SAP has taken up numerous game-like initiatives in critical business functions such as accounts payable while Cisco used gaming strategies to enhance its virtual global sales meeting. In another example, a Colorado restaurant implemented a gamification-based employee program to motivate waiters and waitresses to increase sales of specific menu items. Participating staff were awarded chances to play online “random-point-yielding games when they sold a fresh-squeezed orange juice or a 4-pack of cinnamon rolls.” The Accenture survey revealed that currently about 13 per cent organizations are using gamification and simulations. However, with more and more organizations embracing it, this percentage is set to increase.
Spurred by competition and a rising skills gap, organizations are realizing the need to take their learning and development functions more seriously.