The Digital Transformation of Modern Workplace Learning

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Editor’s Note: This blog post has been updated in September 2021.

The need for digital transformation and the decreasing shelf-life of skills was already driving the L&D industry towards a tipping point. The ongoing global pandemic has, so to speak, pushed this trend over the edge due to necessity, and digital workplace learning has now become the norm.

In this blog post, we will shed light on the topic of digital training for the modern workforce, and why it is the most effective way to train professionals, at the premises and outside the workplace.

workplace learning

Introduction To Modern Workplace Learning

Workplace learning involves formal and informal learning initiatives for professionals at every level of the organization, to gain knowledge, skills, and expertise leading to professional development for accomplishing job tasks and career goals, and personal development.

Human capital theory proposes that there is a shared benefit between employees and organizations for workplace training, based on economic goals: professionals invest in developing their skills and abilities because of their self-interest, particularly for the prospect of improved future earnings; similarly, organizations invest in training and developing of their employees hoping to achieve improved performance leading to higher earnings for the organization. 
Workplace learning has become an integral part of any organization. While learning may be at varying degrees of expertise and skill, or methodologies, resources, and media, it still constitutes a core aspect in today’s organizational culture.

Investing In Employee Training

Organizations invest considerable resources in Learning & Development to enhance their human capital. In 2015 alone, US-based companies spent $1,252 on average per employee for direct learning and development expenditures [Ho, Maris; Jones M. 2015, State of the industry]. The increase of investment in workplace learning and development is matched by the average time employees spent on training. 

As per an excerpt from a 2020 Brandon Hall report:

  • 31% of organizations spend between $1000 – $1999 per learner, for their employees falling under ‘Supervisors” category, and
  • 37% of organizations spend $3000 and above per learner when they are in the Senior Leadership.

Regarding the medium of training delivery, until recently, Instructor-led live classroom delivery continued to be the most popular method of formal workplace learning, occupying 49% of all learning content. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, globalization and technological advances pushed companies towards shifting to a more cost-effective content delivery method. A large segment of companies that relied on instructor-led training is going virtual as part of their digital workplace learning strategy.

According to a 2021 Brandon Hall report, the Areas of Heaviest Investment (according to Time and Money) for large organizations in L&D are:

  • 58% for Virtual Instructor-led Training
  • 55% for eLearning courses, and
  • 52% for Microlearning
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Clearly, organizations have embraced digital workplace learning as the future of L&D and are hence making rapid investments in appropriate avenues.

Factors Driving The Digital Transformation Of Workplace Training

According to analysts, the eLearning market will exceed $370 billion by 2026. The Institute of America conducted a study that showed that the eLearning industry has a retention rate of 25% to 60%, while regular training has 8-10%, and hence makes the former greatly valuable. According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report for 2021, L&D pros expect budges to grow, and continue to shift digitally.
Let us look at some of the factors that drive the digital transformation in training and development:

  • Revenue Growth & ROI: Digital workplace learning can have a positive impact on an organization’s revenue. Various facets of modern eLearning, such as microlearning and gamification, facilitate improved engagement and knowledge retention. This makes training more efficient and reduces the amount spent, compared to traditional methods and training materials. As mobile phones, tablets, and computers have become ubiquitous, the transition to digital learning in the workplace can go a long way to help your brand increase profits. Dillard’s, an upscale American department store chain, when offering online product training to its sales associates, found that each hour associates spend on training increases their sales rate by a remarkable 5%.

  • The Millennial Learner: The changing needs of millennial learners has provided an impetus for change in the workplace learning environment. Millennials prefer to direct their learning journey, so L&D professionals design courses suited to their needs and expectations. They have grown up with computers, the internet, and a plethora of associated digital technology all their lives and are entirely at ease with it. As such, the millennial generation is far happier with receiving online training through VILT and Learning Experience Platforms. In comparison, the previous generations may prove resistant to innovative learning trends, although, consumer apps and technologies such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook have made it easier for them to adapt to change. The millennial generation are undoubtedly better ambassadors for digital workplace learning, and have inspired the rest, to a certain degree, to take the leap.

    According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report for 2021, Gen Z is learning more than ever and focused on career growth. Gen Z learners watched 50% more hours per learner of learning content in 2020 vs. 2019.

  • Availability of Improved Technology: The advent of learning technology solutions such as LXP allows employees to take advantage of self-guided learning, microlearning, and gamified training content.  Virtual Labs with VR and AR technology enables L&D professionals to reinvent learning models and create programs that engage learners, facilitate the learning process, and enable a seamless transition of knowledge from the desk to the job. All this in a simulated and safe environment. In the context of traditionally risky professions such as mining or operating heavy machinery, virtual experiential training can, quite literally, save lives. With the influence of technology growing at a rapid pace, digital workplace learning is the natural fit. 

  • Shift to explore new and emerging technologies: Our understanding of how people learn has given rise to diverse and complex technologies that make use of mobile, social and experiential learning methodologies that can be better managed using digital delivery of training. Cloud tools have made the content available for users anywhere, anytime as per their needs.
    A report, on business needs related to COVID pandemic, reveals that 44% of organizations plan to upgrade or purchase Learning Technologies.

  • L&D is now a Core Business Development Area: Ultimately, these changes are driven by a paradigm shift of business priority and organizational goals. The function of learning is now regarded as a strategic business development operation that facilitates skill development and innovation by fostering a culture of continuous learning and collaboration.

    According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report for 2021, L&D is in the strategic driver’s seat as change-makers, focused on rebuilding and reshaping organizations.

    LXPs, which have been in the forefront of digital learning in the workplace, employs robust mechanisms that track user behavior and progress leading to insightful analytics. Employers can now identify what level of support skilled workers may need to perform difficult tasks and functions. Upskilling and Reskilling is the top priority for L&D pros globally.
    We live in a world of expecting immediate results and instant delivery. The deployment of remote learning has never been simpler. Do read this article if your are looking to learn about a modern and agile digital workplace learning platform.
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The Future is Digital for L&D

The digital learning experience now comprises comprehensive learning initiatives that are based on fundamental mechanisms of human cognition. From training customers for better engagement to product training for sales professionals, modern L&D has become integral for companies wishing to make the most of digital assets.

By adopting training technology, collaborative software, and self-service learning, it is easy to transform a business towards a healthy new direction at a moment’s notice. For L&D to deliver at the pace of business, going digital is the only reliable option.

Let us summarize this section with interesting statistics from various analyst reports:

  • The eLearning market will grow leaps and bounds and will exceed $370 billion by 2026.
  • The Institute of America conducted a study that showed that the eLearning industry has a retention rate of 25% to 60%, while regular training has 8-10%. 
  • A report, on business needs related to pandemic, reveals that 44% of organizations plan to upgrade or purchase Learning Technologies.
  • 60% of larger enterprise organizations say that lack of the right technology is a massive challenge to delivering personalized learning.  Among the many other challenges these companies face is the need for learning to be in multiple languages and dialects, cited by 59% as challenging or extremely challenging.

Leveraging LXP Technology to Boost Enterprise Learning

Learning is now considered a key component of a successful business strategy and technology is its powerful enabler. As a result, L&D professionals are transforming the way a business enterprise uses technology to dramatically improve how users learn, to optimize the learning pace for users, and convert learning into actionable skills and behaviors that drive business results.

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Regardless of the size of a company, providing employees with the best possible training opportunities cannot be ignored. Effective L&D will help businesses grow and remain competitive in a changing market.

When providing training, having one platform simplifies the work required for L&D and HR teams and minimizes the number of learning platforms for the end-user. This makes LXPs very effective as a one-stop-shop for both administrators and users for a varied set of training needs. LXPs are vital for digital learning in the workplace.

Here are some of the few avenues that show how an LXP can streamline organizational L&D needs:

  • Improve operational efficiencies
  • Mobile-ready and remote deployment capabilities
  • Enhance employee engagement, learning experience and knowledge retention
  • Better manage organizational processes and resources
  • Personalize customer experience at each touchpoint

 Recommended resource:

  • eBook: “Learning Principles for Workplace Training
    Discover fundamental learning mechanisms and setting them to the context of workplace learning. Understand the 3 R’s of effective workplace training – Reception, Retrieval and Reinforcement. 
Digital Workplace Learning

Additional reading:

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