The world of digital learning has experienced rapid growth and it’s not expected to slow down anytime soon. With about 90% of corporations now using digital learning compared to just 4% in 1995, the business sector is bound to be one of the biggest growth drivers in the digital learning industry this decade.
The shift to digital learning has inevitably transformed the modern workplace — especially as it relates to upskilling and reskilling employees.
While many companies have been quick to embrace the move to digital learning and acknowledge its benefits, there’s always room for further development. Here are insights and best practices for continually up-leveling your approach to digital learning.
Is digital learning effective?
Many working adults have a desire to learn and go back to school, but often encounter obstacles such as limited access to employee education opportunities, financial limitations, or balancing their job and family obligations with classes.
Digital learning helps to address these challenges by making education more accessible through flexible scheduling for employees who are working full-time, managing a household and possibly putting their own kids through college.
Furthermore, leading academic institutions understand the importance of accessible education opportunities for adult learners, and many have developed robust programs entirely dedicated to driving successful outcomes for workers who are taking online courses.
The benefits of digital learning in the workplace
In a survey conducted by Northeastern University, 64% of HR leaders agreed that continuous education and better credentialing will be critical for the majority of the workforce in the years to come. And 61 percent feel digital learning is a high-quality solution that’s equally as effective as traditional, in-person classes.
One of the top benefits offered by digital learning is what’s known as “rapid learning transfer” which means employees are to take what they learn in theoretical training and put it into practice immediately. They don’t have to wait until graduation to apply their new competencies, which helps to internalize expertise and support long-term professional development and upskilling. In turn, this type of ongoing individual development fosters continuous growth for the business itself.
Additionally, digital learning can significantly support talent engagement, development and retention goals. In a recent survey, 80% of employees agreed that accessible educational resources help them to feel more engaged at work. And 94% cite better development opportunities as the reason they choose to stay with an employer.
4 effective ways to improve the digital learning experience at work
As digital learning continues to evolve, it’s important to be sure you’re delivering a meaningful employee learning experience. Below are four effective tactics you can begin implementing today to get the most out of your digital learning initiatives:
- Prioritize technology that’s simple to use and manage
When leveraging digital learning, make sure the technology you choose is modern and simple to use — both for employees and HR administrators. Identify a robust, easy-to-use technology platform that minimizes administrative effort, enables learner engagement and has reporting capabilities to help you monitor performance and demonstrate impact.
- Align digital learning with other development methods
A key benefit of digital learning is that it works well alongside other L&D practices. Encourage employees to explore ways to round out their educational journey with other activities like mentorship or sponsorship programs, job crafting or cross-functional collaboration. This can help adult learners expand their professional abilities in a way that extends beyond their formal learning.
- Expand learning offerings to include a workforce education program
Access to online training is a great first step but is rarely enough to transform your workforce and arm your people with the most in-demand skills needed for the future. If workforce education isn't already part of your L&D strategy, consider implementing a program that is strategically designed to supplement your existing digital learning and training initiatives.
By now, it’s known that one-size-fits-all learning doesn’t work for the modern workforce. A strategic workforce education program enables employees to earn degrees, credentials and certificates that align with their varying career goals and meet the unique talent needs of your business.
- Don’t overlook soft skills
Soft skills are critical to leadership development, but they’re often left behind when organizations set out to design a digital learning strategy. If one goal of your L&D efforts is to build an internal leadership pipeline, place emphasis on soft skills such as communication abilities, empathy, emotional intelligence or cultural valuation — to name a few.
Preparing for the future of work through digital learning
Digital learning is dynamic. While it undergoes change and grows, there’s no doubt that it is here to stay. That said, your organization should use digital learning to its full advantage. By developing your workforce, you arm them with the skills needed to sustain long-term growth, for your people and your business.
Take workplace learning to the next level with strategic workforce education. To get started, take this quick 5-question assessment and receive a set of custom resources that outline how workforce education can address your top talent challenges head-on.