Tech-savvy companies continue to reap serious benefits from eLearning initiatives, particularly as the variety of development and management tools and services expand, and the costs of eLearning decrease. With many more SaaS options in the mix, midsized companies can now more easily set up and manage eLearning programs.
If done well, eLearning becomes an agile productivity tool and aligns with overall business needs.eLearning is not just about on-ramping employees or compliance and regulatory training. eLearning supports what employees need to know to do their jobs, and to increase their skills and effectiveness. All sizes of organizations now have employees who "grew up" on eLearning and blended learning programs, and who have expectations of more of the same for their professional careers.
eLearning must center on device-defined learning, since there are significant differences between providing training on laptops / tablets, and on smartphones. Mobile learning (mLearning) for smartphones focuses more on just-in-time knowledge while on the job -- so the learning experience has to be specifically designed for smartphone access. Somewhat due to increased tablet and smartphone usage, corporate learning is becoming more 'bite-sized' -- to take less time to set up courses and to fit more easily into the schedules of busy employees.
Many companies realize that they should develop the skills of their current employee base, rather constantly trying to hire in new talent, to remain competitive and meet new business demands. Across most industries, learning / training functions are tasked with finding ways to provide relevant, cost-effective education services – while exploring new ways to speed up training, and build in more tactics to ensure that employees retain and utilize what was learned. Companies can also work with outsourced learning services, tapping into many different subject matter experts to provide timely training for employees, without the overhead of trying to create and maintain the courses themselves.
Jack Welch: An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Companies that create and maintain dynamic eLearning initiatives for the entire organization are making the move to becoming Learning Organizations. Common traits of Learning Organizations include:
- Continuous learning opportunities, with 'anytime anywhere' access
- Upper management support for all employee learning
- Planned, well-organized learning programs that align with how employees work
- eLearning strategically connected to corporate goals at all levels
- Commitment to the value of learning and knowledge sharing
- Cross-organizational communication and collaboration
- Continually measuring the improvements to: all customer interactions; innovation; achievement of company goals; agile responsiveness to change
Peter Senge: The only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.
Image Source: designingdigitally.com
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective