corporate learning strategy
Training & Learning

These 4 Aspects of Your Corporate Learning Strategy Probably Need Updating—Here’s How

Companies are spending a metric ton of money on training every year—in 2020, that number reached a staggering 82.5 billion dollars, which is over 10 billion dollars more than what was spent in 2016. But most of that money is wasted unless the strategy behind it has evolved to keep up with the current work environment.

The world of work is changing fast, and traditional training approaches are no longer adequate. The pandemic accelerated many changes that were already bubbling up:

  • Learning and Development teams need to successfully add engaging learning into the mix, as well as address the urgent need for reskilling.
  • With roles shifting and business getting more complex, companies can no longer rely on generic training programs.
  • Employees' training needs are different today. They want to be involved in their learning journey, and they expect learning opportunities that are effective, efficient, and engaging.

If you’re not taking into account this changing learning landscape, you run the risk of boring your learners, wasting your L&D budget, and seeing your engagement metrics plummet. To help you get a handle on what learners want (and how to deliver it), here are four tips for modernizing your training programs.

1. Make room for online-first onboarding

The process of onboarding employees has become much more complicated, and relying solely on in-person onboarding strategies no longer works. Not only is remote onboarding more flexible and scalable, it also answers the question of how to onboard new hires in a full remote or hybrid context.

Moving to online-first onboarding eases the task of bringing new hires up to speed. All of your onboarding material can live in one place, and you don't have to pull other employees away from their work to train new employees. You can also more easily track new employees as they move through their onboarding journey and help them along if needed.

New employees also benefit from onboarding that takes place online. They can train when and where it makes sense for them and access materials as they encounter problems, instead of meeting for a couple of hours when their boss tells them to. It can also prevent them from trying to learn too much at once or getting information that might not be relevant to what they need to know in the moment.

Related: How Spendesk Overhauled Their Onboarding by Turning Subject-Matter Experts Into Content Creators

2. Embrace a data-driven approach

With more and more L&D departments getting a seat at the C-suite table, data plays an increasingly large part in proving your return on investment (ROI) and getting buy-in for new training programs. Using data is also key for ensuring your employees' skills are improving while meeting your organizational goals.

An excellent way to get started with tracking the monetary benefits of your training programs is by using a training ROI calculator. A calculator can tell you how much your training programs cost in relation to their benefits. Then, you can use that information to find correlations between your learning programs and your employees’ performance.

You can also collect quantitative data, like course completion rates, on-the-job performance, and use tests and quizzes to evaluate the effects of your learning strategy. Qualitative data like learner feedback and surveys about your L&D department as a whole can help define issues with your courses and discover areas for improvement. To that end, we surveyed 600 American learners about their struggles and expectations regarding learning and development at work—you can get the results, below.

Learner survey

Related: How to Achieve 90% Course Completion Rates (3 Data-Driven Insights)

3. End the L&D snooze by choosing training methods that actually engage employees

It's time to stop using tired and outdated training methods like in-person classes with zero interaction and take a modern approach to learning that will inspire and motivate employees.

Add Collaborative Learning opportunities to help employees help each other

Collaborative Learning—a learning methodology based on peer interaction and knowledge sharing—is more effective than old-school, top-down learning techniques that are uninspiring and don’t hold learners’ attention.

When your employees have opportunities to learn collaboratively, they are more likely to be engaged—we dug into our customer data, and discovered that learners find courses that had internal collaboration during the creation process to be two times as useful. The conversations could be anything from co-authors strategizing on course content, and/or reviewers giving feedback to the authors of the course.

You can incorporate Collaborative Learning into your learning strategy in several ways

  • Implement peer-to-peer feedback loops, which encourage a culture of collaboration.
  • Use Collaborative Learning software that gives employees the ability to create, shared, and iterate on course content.
  • Let employees establish their own priorities based on their specific Learning Needs and goals.

Use mobile learning to let employees train anywhere, anytime

Mobile learning (mLearning) is a 21st-century solution that delivers education or training through smartphone or tablet apps. Mobile learning solutions boost learning engagement and let your team simultaneously work on projects, communicate, and share updates in real-time. In addition, it can enable your team to experience remote work the same way they would if they were visiting a coworker at their desk.

You can build a proprietary mobile solution, but it’s better to avoid trying to reinvent the wheel. A pre-built mobile learning solution will get your mobile learning program up and running faster.

4. Adopt flexible learning formats

Your learning strategy needs to adapt to an increasingly mobile, multi-tasking, and independent workforce. These modern learning tactics provide better opportunities for employees to grow and develop continuously.

Go all-in on blended learning

Blended learning is the learning approach of mixing live classes (online or in-person), interactions, and on-demand content that allows people to learn independently. Hybrid workplaces—organizations that function with some employees working remotely and some in a traditional office environment—are going to be the norm for the foreseeable future, and your learning strategy needs to follow suit to keep up.

When done correctly, blended learning is an effective way to train employees, especially in hybrid contexts. It’s often thought of as a mix of in-person and online training, but it works better as a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. With asynchronous learning, you can set up a learning path for employees to learn at their own pace.

To implement blended learning, start by mixing synchronous learning like instructor-led, online sessions and in-person workshops with asynchronous options like videos, quizzes, and self-directed learning activities. The goal isn’t to get rid of in-person training, but it shouldn’t be your learners’ only option.

Activate your training with active learning

Active learning is any learning activity where employees participate or interact with the learning process. It’s a lot more engaging and exciting than traditional passive instruction, and leads to higher information retention.

By pairing course material with practical applications, feedback, and learner reflection, employees will be able to apply what they’ve learned to their real-world work. For example, an employee could learn about a new sales call technique in a training session, do a mock sales call as part of their training to practice the method, and be ready to use that technique during their next sales call.

When it comes to training, give your employees what they want

Your corporate learning strategy should revolve around your employees' needs. 70% of the 600 employees we surveyed want a say in identifying their learning opportunities, and they will stay longer if they feel their company is making learning a priority. Talk to your employees about the types of training and educational opportunities they think will help them do their jobs and adapt to change. Once you have their answers, you can plan your strategy accordingly.