How to Incorporate On-Demand Training into Corporate Learning
In our always-on world, there’s an app for everything. You can watch a movie on Netflix whenever you like or buy a sweater in an instant. So, it makes sense that on-demand training should be available to your learners too, right?
We live in a fast-paced world, and scheduling quarterly or annual training can be inefficient. Your learner could miss out on a wealth of opportunities to learn and grow. On-demand learning is a solution to this by giving your learners access to what they need, when they need it. In this post, we’ll look at what on-demand training is and why your organization should try it out.
What is on-demand training?
On-demand training, also sometimes known as just-in-time learning, lets your learners access training at the exact moment they need it. It’s about meeting learners where they are. By accessing and putting it into action in a relevant way straight away, your learners are more likely to retain what they learn.
According to learning strategists Julie Winkle Giulioni and Karen Voloshin, it means:
“L&D departments and training providers are evolving their delivery models from “push” to “pull” methods. They are transitioning large volumes of traditional classroom-based content to flexible, technology-enabled enterprise-wide platforms. These on-demand systems offer anywhere, anytime and any way access to self-tailoring learning experiences designed to meet individual needs.”
On-demand learning can mean one-on-one training with a manager, mentor or coach either in person, or online through your learning management system (LMS).
How does on-demand training work?
Businesses will sometimes encourage their employees to use downtime between busy periods for self-improvement. For example, a multinational organization may encourage their employees to develop a foreign language. This would be useful to both the employee and the company.
Just-in-time mentoring and coaching happens any time an employee in your organization asks a colleague or manager “Can you show me how to do that?” or “Can you explain how this works?” Such questions should always be encouraged, and if their colleagues or manager can’t answer, they should be directed to someone who can.
For customer training, where mandatory courses can be slightly off putting for the learner, on-demand gives them the control. They can pick and choose to learn about your product and best-practices when and where they want to.
This is also a crucial part of informal learning, another essential mechanism for disseminating knowledge in your workplace.
What are the advantages of on-demand learning?
On-demand learning is a practical way of embedding a learning culture at your organization and giving your audience control of how and when they learn.
People are busy and need answers immediately, but trainers can’t be on-call 24/7. A bank of content including product knowledge, policies and procedures, how-to videos, past Q&As, and other resources, allow learners to access the information they need in real-time.
Some learners only need a concept explained once and they understand it completely. Others take it at a slower pace. They may need to go through it a few times, or do some background reading with the recommended lists you’ve provided. An always-on system fits everybody’s pace.
Remote and off-site access
These days, more people than ever are working from home, out of multiple offices, or on a client site. Or, they are an audience, like customers or partners, that you don’t have control over how they learn. Ensuring on-demand learning is available through your LMS means everyone gets access to the information they need, not just those who are based in the office.
The more time we spend on the go, the more crucial it becomes that training is accessible by mobile. mLearning is an important thing to consider when embedding on-demand learning; make sure there are plenty of short, mobile-friendly courses available in your LMS – and that it’s designed in a way that’s user-friendly for those accessing it from phone and tablet devices.
On-demand learning gives your learners greater autonomy over their own development. It allows them to self-select courses from the LMS catalog that are right for them. For employees, it can allow those who would like to transition from one department to another, or aiming for promotion, to move in the right direction. And for customers, they can pick and choose the features and product information that is only applicable to their use case.
How do I implement on-demand learning at my organization?
If you’re ready to introduce on-demand learning, there are a few important steps to take:
Get your resources set up
It’s key that you have a significant bank of resources in your LMS to make on-demand learning a success. Make sure all your trainers upload their materials and give your learners access to them all. Ask your trainers to contribute any other resources that might be useful, like reading lists, podcasts or TED talks.
Communicate the change to your audiences
It’s key to promote your on-demand learning resources to the wider audiences. Let them know in your newsletter, through management. If it’s for your customers, use your customer-facing teams to communicate the change. Make sure they have the information about all the courses that are available to them, and encourage them to check them out.
Get managers involved
For employee training, ask your managers to set targets for their teams, like completing one full course and three micro-courses each year as part of their progression plans. This helps to embed a culture of learning, while giving individuals autonomy around the courses they would like to take up.
Use data to inform future choices
It’s easy to track which courses are most popular with your learners through your LMS. Examine which ones have the highest completion rate and consider creating more or other forms of content that relates to that topic. If there are courses nobody seems to take, ask why that might be; are they poorly designed, is the content out of date, or is there another issue you can look at?
Seek direct feedback
Data is great, but take the time to talk to your learners too. Ask them what they like and dislike about on-demand learning and what content they would like to see more of. Qualitative feedback like this can fill in gaps the data can’t explain.If you’re using an LMS, you can create surveys to get feedback from your learners.
Make sure help is still at hand
As we embrace new technology, it’s important that your learners can still have access to trainers. Whether it’s digitally or in-person, make sure your learners knows they still have a learning and development or customer success team that’s ready to help them. Webinars, video conferencing and forum discussions are all features in your LMS that can help maintain the human connection even if on-demand learning is happening at a distance.
Is on-demand learning important to you? How are you implementing it at your organization? Let us know in the comments.