Preparing for the future of learning: Three key findings and how you can skill-up

If you want to modernize your learning strategy and stay fit for the future, what can you do to keep up? In Preparing for the Future of Learning, Towards Maturity survey corporate Learning and Development (L&D) teams and report on how they intend to modernize learning over the next two years.

elearning future

Those aspirations are then compared with the teams’ capabilities for delivery. Crucial skills gaps could hold L&D teams back.  Could this also be the case for external training providers? We’ve rounded up three key findings and put together some ideas for how you can skill-up.

The headlines

The good news is that, on average, organizations’ L&D teams have increased in size over the last two years, with around 30% expecting a further increase over the next two years. L&D budgets are also set to rise, according to the report. Much of the increase is headed towards technology.

Why might this be the case? Towards Maturity suspect it’s to support globally dispersed organizations; build employee capabilities to operate in an increasingly digital and changing work climate; and to enable L&D to modernize — change often needs investment, after all.

Top deck organizations (those achieving the top results with their learning strategies) are aligning themselves to business targets and measures; providing creative, blended solutions; investing more in technology; and facilitating self-serve and collaborative learning.

The trends predicted by the report are for other L&D teams to follow suit. But their in-house skills are somewhat lagging. So how can you stay fit for the future of learning?

Let’s take three headlines from the report.

1. Top three focus areas for the future: online, social learning and coaching

future of learning

With L&D budgets and teams set to increase on average, where’s the extra resource headed? Here are the top three focus areas cited in the report:

  • 53% plan to increase capacity in online delivery
  • 49% in facilitating social and collaborative learning
  • 48% in coaching/mentoring

If you’ve been reading-up on the expectations, preferences and needs of modern learners, then you’ll probably know that learning content needs to shift up a gear.

Online content needs to be available on any device, anywhere and to support performance as well as longer term development journeys. But it’s also all about modern blends — embracing social and collaborative learning and platforms in the mix, alongside coaching, mentoring and on-the-job support.

So it’s no wonder that L&D teams are primarily allocating their resources, time and money to these areas.

What can you do to skill-up in these areas?

  • Benchmark your own team against other learning providers: free until July 15th. towardsmaturity.org/benchmark
  • Read up on what modern learners want: how to get in sync with learners
  • Get to know your learning audience — use data and conversation
  • Look to blended design methodologies, starting with our expert guides and Charles Jennings’ 70:20:10 model
  • Take inspiration from four example blends, with our: construct a blend guide
  • Set up or utilize your team to best support a blended model: gather your team
  • Look to factor social learning into all that you do, with our: keep it social guide
  • Build coaching and mentoring capability among managers and others via targeted, digital and blended training programs

2. Investment in content authoring tools continues to rise

According to the report, we can expect more elearning to be made in-house.

  • 63% use content authoring tools (up from 44% in 2011)
  • 76% build their own elearning content (up from 72% in 2011)

As Towards Maturity put it: mindful of the constant pressure on L&D teams to deliver ‘more for less’, there’s a continuing trend to invest in content authoring tools. But it’s also the case that content authoring tools enable training providers and L&D teams to be responsive to changing needs and urgent requirements — and this doesn’t just mean top-down training requirements, but responding to learner needs.

Authoring tools enable learning and development teams to go where their audiences want them to go, and quickly.

What can you do to skill-up in this area?

If you’re yet to invest in a content authoring tool or are looking to switch to one that better meets your needs, here are two guides to get you started:

3. L&D teams have key capability gaps — do you?

future-learning-skills-gap

The report compares priorities for the future against the skills of L&D teams to deliver on them, highlighting some big gaps. While more than half have the instructional design skills to develop their own content, and face-to-face skills remain high, much fewer (37%) feel capable of developing modern digital content. The biggest skills gaps are evident in social and collaborative learning.

Take a look at the skills development priorities here:

skills-development-priorities

(Source: Towards Maturity)

What can you do to skill-up in these areas?

Brush up personally and professionally, with Jane Hart’s 20 ways to prepare yourself for modern workplace learning.

Tap into the free resources and guides available online. Here’s a shortlist of some of our Elucidat team:

And some others we like:

Key takeaways

As the digital revolution takes hold in all walks of life — personal and professional — it’s bound to open up skills gaps. The speed of business and pace of change are faster than ever, and so it’s no wonder that the pressure is now on for learning teams and training providers to keep up — not only to support employees in the changes they face, but to support them in ways that are in sync with modern digital behaviors.

The good news is that there are loads of free examples, guides, tips and demos to help pave the way — but do get in touch if you need further support.

If you’d like to try your hand at creating multi-device learning content; test out a collaborative method for producing online learning; or want to see how easy it can be to introduce gamification, social polling or measurements into your mobile content, then give Elucidat’s authoring tool a try.

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