What is the top Learning and Development (L&D) priority for your firm over the next twelve months? That was the question posed by research firm Brandon Hall Group in a recent survey.
L&D teams in several sectors responded, and the most popular responses included exploring new and different learning modalities, improving metrics, working on the link between training and performance and developing the current learning strategy.
However, the top priority was learning technology. According to 48 percent of survey respondents, the top priority for L&D teams over the next year is exploring new and different learning technologies. The same report states that 44 percent of firms are planning on replacing their current Learning Management System (LMS), a massive leap up from last year’s figure of 16 percent. So why has this become such a priority?
The demand for learning technology has often come from the top, with management understanding that online learning systems are a great way to reduce costs. These days, there is just as much demand for modern learning technology from tech-savvy users.
A recent study by Towards Maturity paints an interesting picture of the modern learner and how technology plays a major role in their lives. The average learner, according to their report, checks their smartphone up to nine times per hour. Learning on a mobile device is common, with 70 percent having consulted training materials on their phone in the past. Flexibility is also important, with 47 percent saying that they have received training while at home and 27 percent saying that they have learned on their mobile device while commuting to and from work.
If learning technology was a luxury in the past, it’s a fundamental today. Your staff expect your LMS to be the basis of all training and development. But what does that look like in practice?
Top learning technology priorities
In the Brandon Hall Group survey, L&D were asked for the features they prioritize in learning technology. According to the survey, the priorities included Social and Collaborative Tools. Social and collaborative tools are hugely important in learning technology, not least because they are so familiar to the learners who will use them. Blogs, comments, user ratings, group chat, recommendation engines; many of the features that we know from websites like Facebook and LinkedIn can help to facilitate a very modern training environment in which learners feel at home. These tools can also be used to develop social learning programs and collaborative training communities.
Mobile delivery was also important. Cloud technology means that users can safely access your training material from their own device, such as a smartphone or tablet, even when they’re not on site. This means that learning and development can be delivered wherever, whenever, to whoever needs it – but only if you have an LMS that supports mobile delivery. Cloud support is a relatively new development and many incumbent systems lack this functionality, which is forcing many L&D teams to upgrade.
Data analytics were the next most important priority. In traditional classroom-based training, the only way you could gather user data was to hand out a feedback form at the end and hope that everyone filled it in honestly. A modern LMS offers much more accurate and detailed drama, allowing you to track users as they progress through the training material, monitoring engagement and identifying areas where the learning module is not performing as expected. If your system offers these insights, you can edit and improve your training materials, ensuring that you are delivering a L&D program that works.
Virtual classrooms were another priority. Online learning delivery offers much more flexibility in terms of time and location, but group-based learning can be much more effective than learning alone. A virtual classroom in this sense often involves an extension of the collaboration tools mentioned above, using forums, shared document folders and video content to create an experience where users can learn as part of a group.
Content management rounded out the list. The LMS should support the L&D team, and not the other way around. Ideally, the back-end of such a system should require little training to use, and training experts should be able to create a learning module with a minimal amount of effort. Not only that, but other people should be able to work on and maintain that module with ease and efficiency. An awkward or overly complicated content management system will impact on the quality of training that is delivered.
Business Benefits Of Investing In Learning Technology
Investing in learning technology is investing in the future. There are many reasons to use an LMS to help your business grow, not least of which is the fact that it is the most cost-efficient way to deliver quality training.
The Brandon Hall Group study reveals some astonishing metrics for companies that implement learning technology solutions, including a 26-percent decrease in training costs. Perhaps more importantly, however, they found a 53-percent average increase in engagement, and a 53-percent increase in productivity. It’s hard to ignore figures like that.
If you want to ensure that you’re ahead of the curve, the first step is to consider the systems you already have in place. Many companies are not using all of the features of their existing LMS and authoring tool, as explained in this article.
If you would like to give mobile learning a spin or are keen to using a content authoring tool that enables non-techie experts to collaborate and build quality learning, evaluate Elucidat with a free trial today.
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