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How to Leverage On-demand Learning to Step Up the Application of Learning on the Job

February 24, 2021 | By Asha Pandey


How to Leverage On-demand Learning to Step Up the Application of Learning on the Job

On-demand learning improves retention and application and provides employees with what’s needed, when needed. This article outlines how you can leverage on-demand learning to improve learning in the flow of work and step up the application of learning on the job.

What Is On-demand Learning?

On-demand learning applies outside the traditional structure of training courses and live classes. It consists of information and contextual objects that employees find, consume, and apply in the flow of work.

  • For example, a customer service agent may review the terms of a cell phone’s warranty during new hire training. But understanding topics as esoteric as warranties are virtually impossible to remember in first pass. The company’s training department may implement a series of searchable short, text-based Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). So on-demand, the customer service agent can quickly find the applicable FAQ to efficiently answer customer questions. This would support the customer service department’s goal of high customer satisfaction and rapid turnaround and shorter call handle times.
  • Consider another example – a software vendor adds to their solution suite a new application that may enhance their customers’ business outcomes. The sales team is expected to communicate with potential customers, identify problems they’re trying to solve, and match those needs with applications their company produces. Sales team members can scan a library of short, informative videos that summarize each application, its purpose, and example case studies. The company can forego expensive and time-consuming traditional courses and instead introduce and promote the video library for sales associates, saving the company time and increasing the effectiveness of the sales staff.

In both scenarios, on-demand learning is immediately applicable and leads to the application of the learning. Thereby, it saves both learners and the organization time and leads to increased effectiveness.

Why Should L&D Teams Invest on Providing On-demand Learning?

Today’s learner often feels overwhelmed by several factors.

Employers expect employees to do more with less – for instance, sell more with less travel, close more tickets with fewer escalations, and produce better components in less time and with cheaper materials, to name a few examples.

On top of this, today’s learner faces a barrage of never-ending distractions, like:

  • Mobile phone message alerts.
  • Email requests for support and information.
  • Coworkers located in various time zones.
  • Multiple virtual meetings.
  • Reminders for mandatory trainings (like Compliance Training).
  • Global pandemics and civil unrest.
  • Complications due to working from home with children.

These distractions exact a heavy toll on employees and their productivity. The human brain cannot multi-task. Instead, it switches tasks, resulting in lost focus.

On an average, it takes 23 minutes for people to reach a state of flow that facilitates maximum efficiency, creativity, and effectiveness. However, even small distractions can disrupt a flow state.

Today’s learner may experience hours of lost productivity due to email and text messaging alone. Additionally, they are faced with continuously fast-paced changes and challenges to stay relevant. Skills and technologies continue to evolve, making it harder to remain relevant in competitive markets.

What the Modern Learner Needs and Expects – Today’s learner needs and expects time to develop themselves on the job, in the flow of work. In addition to pay and flexibility, one of the attributes most desired by employees is support for professional development.

These employees are less satisfied with traditional modes of training and require on-demand learning.

On-demand learning resources increase employee retention and engagement. Enterprise supported on-demand learning helps employees feel appreciated. Once employees reach a flow state, they may run into situations where they need additional information to complete or enrich their task. On-demand learning is not a distraction and helps maintain their flow. Formal training solutions, on the other hand, distract and disrupt flow states.

Why Is On-demand Learning the Key to Train the Modern Learner?

On-demand learning offers several benefits listed here:

  1. Transitions learning from push to pull. No longer will employees require external inducements for motivation. They’ll seek learning on their own.
  2. Increases the quality of work as employees sharpen their skills and explore available knowledge.
  3. Enhances the application of learning.
  4. Helps you maintain the quality of formal training programs. You can use SMEs to contribute and review content contained in the performance support systems employees turn to for on-demand learning.
  5. Facilitates the application of learning by making those performance support systems as accessible as possible.
  6. Incorporates a blend of learning objects, from short text and image-based articles to pointed videos and access to managers and mentors.
  7. Includes in-depth self-paced eLearning and print resources that provide the nuance required for more complex topics.
  8. Allows employees the time required to master technical skills, including low-risk experimentation and practice.

What Strategies Can You Use to Drive On-demand Learning?

To support modern learners in this hectic world, employers should use these 10 strategies to drive on-demand learning:

  1. Implement self-paced online training and mobile learning.
  2. Leverage mobile apps that provide on-demand learning to increase the application of learning.
  3. Incorporate microlearning strategies by keeping learning objects as focused and abbreviated as possible.
  4. Allow learners to personalize their on-demand content, curating and sharing when appropriate (curated and user-generated content can be a great asset as L&D teams build more formal training programs, seeking to enhance the application of learning).
  5. Share content in a social learning context and create social pressure for other employees – increasing the application of learning to modify behavior.
  6. Include stories in training objects, like case studies and user scenarios.
  7. Eliminate as many meetings and formal training sessions as possible.
  8. Replace formal training with informal, on-the-job, and on-demand learning.
  9. Create easy-to-access knowledge hubs, sometimes called performance support systems, to which employees can quickly refer for knowledge.
  10. Encourage deep work by fostering a culture of continuous learning.

On-demand learning, because it can be immediately applied, increases the application of learning on the job.

How Can You Step Up the Application of Learning on the Job with On-demand Learning?

It may seem difficult to drive the application of learning, but the following strategies will help you step up the application of learning on the job with on-demand learning:

  1. Encourage learning in the flow of work. Just-in-time learning increases the chances of learning application.
  2. Create awareness of on-demand learning. Showcase how it works through communication channels contributed by leaders from the top of the organization, highlighting success stories.
  3. Create forums where employees can share knowledge, lessons-learned, and curated content.
  4. Invest in a learning portal that is accessible on any device – laptop, tablet, and phone.

Modern learners are faced with a myriad of challenges – increasing demands, rapidly evolving roles and changing market demands, and high pressure social and device-driven distractions. On-demand learning counters those challenges, helping employees with the application of learning that results in enhanced on-the-job performance and success.

Want to learn how to drive informal learning in a remote working environment?

Take a look at this infographic where we share 9 strategies to drive informal learning in a remote working environment.

This article was first published in Training Industry.

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