How to bridge the L&D divide and help in-stream learning flourish

Did you know that up to 40% of US and UK organizations are still leading with course-based learning strategies? Even more surprisingly, despite this, 92% of L&D/HR leaders agree that access to on-demand knowledge is a key driver of business performance.

These are some of the key findings from a Fuse research project conducted in November 2021. The research, which interviewed 250 senior L&D and HR managers in the UK and US, was designed to shed light on the state of L&D in the new working world.

More than half (55%) of respondents admitted that they themselves need to access knowledge at least once a day to perform well at work

Is real-time learning a universal reality?

First, the results showed a significant disconnect between what L&D leaders want their learning to look like and the reality, which sees many people struggling to trade lessons for real-time on-the-job learning. . The research also revealed that only 4% of organizations are leading with strategies that enable access to knowledge in the workflow. In other words, the overwhelming minority.

When we then examine these results through the lens of hybrid working, the advent of technology and the Great Resignation, it is clear that the case for flow learning is open and closed – and especially when the alternative is a traditional course based on approaching.

The research confirmed what we already knew: that the course, at least in isolation, is no longer a viable learning solution when the demand for instant access to knowledge occurs at work multiple times a day. And the best proof of that? More than half (55%) of respondents admitted that they themselves needed access to knowledge at least once a day to perform well at work. It’s quite convincing.

What’s less obvious here is why so many organizations still languish in legacy courses — but more importantly, how can corporate learning trade off course-based strategies for on-the-job learning? use ?

The criticality of the learning culture

To answer this, we need to look at the key foundation of corporate learning success: culture. Creating a company-wide culture that values, supports and nurtures continuous learning and development is a critical success factor, predating both learning strategy and even technology. This is not to say that the strategy and technology chosen are not of vital importance. That goes without saying.

Using modern technology to facilitate continuous learning can support a culture of continuous learning by shifting the focus from training to learning

The key takeaway here is that these factors will only optimize learning and performance if they are underpinned by a strong learning culture – and this highlights a key correlation: companies that conduct courses are often those struggling with poor learning cultures.

Train less, learn more

Suppose you have a strong learning culture. Your employees recognize that learning is both valuable to them and valued by their employer. They are invested and have adopted a mindset of continuous learning. Now what?

Using modern technology to facilitate continuous learning can support a culture of continuous learning by shifting the focus from training to learning. Rather than mapping skills to courses, it’s an approach that empowers modern workers to learn continuously and collaboratively, tapping into insights from company experts to drive performance.

This is also how we leverage the rich expertise and tacit know-how that already exist within the same organization. The solution is to not only unleash this knowledge and expertise, but to make it instantly available to on-the-job learners. It’s a point that also highlights how the L&D conversation has gone beyond bridging the distance between training and application, to focus on real-time knowledge acquisition and application. . Imagine the performance, not to mention the productivity, the gains that go along with that.

Fighting the knowledge brain drain

But the benefits don’t stop there. The need to remove legacy courses in favor of real-time learning goes beyond simple learning success, extending to many broader, business-critical performance drivers.

Nine in ten L&D/HR managers (89%) agree or strongly agree that the associated loss of specialist business knowledge is a red flag issue for businesses

Take the Great Resignation, for example. Nine in ten L&D/HR leaders (89%) agree or strongly agree that the resulting loss of business expertise is a red flag for businesses. And with most organizations expecting to lose between 10-15% of their total workforce in 2022, brain drain now poses a significant threat to businesses. In fact, citing the biggest risks to business, 58% of respondents indicated reduced innovation, followed by increased costs (43%) and increased employee churn (42%). %).

The good news is that a culture of continuous knowledge sharing, underpinned by technology that captures, stores, and makes knowledge easily accessible, can solve this long-standing conundrum. By encouraging subject matter experts (SMEs) to habitually share their knowledge, organizations can capture their tacit know-how and, most importantly, ensure that it is always available to learners when they need it.

So there you have it: the answer to successfully trading course-led learning for knowledge access and workflow learning lies in creating the right mix of culture, strategy, and technology. Do it right, and it’s a winning business formula.

Interested in this topic? Read Why a learning culture is inherently agile.