In the fast-paced world of evolving technologies, three in four organizations use learning technologies yet still insist on using high levels of face-to-face learning. Despite recent research revealing that learners want more elearning, corporate learning and development (LD) teams stay stuck in old habits, with little confidence in their ability to make the shift.
According to an annual report by a leading industry body, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), face-to-face learning delivery remains a dominant trend, with 51% of organizations set to continue that way in the next 12 months.
This is in direct contrast with learner demands. In a 2014 study, only 17% of learners found classroom learning essential or useful, while 49% were happy to find things out for themselves and 82% want self-paced learning. And 53% of organizational LD teams still offered classroom learning as their main learning option. This is in line with the CIPD’s findings a year later, in 2015, when 51% said they were delivering more than half of organizational training face to face.
The greatest challenge about to hit trainers is the impact of mobile technologies on the demand for learning delivery. In-house training is still the most popular form of corporate training, yet staffers are not consulted on its delivery. While this may not be deliberate or comes from a lack of desire, many barriers may be simple to overcome.
People are busy and expect instant access when they have a spare hour or two, yet LD teams are not exploiting the way people learn in this technology age. Why is that so?
Overcoming barriers to mobile learning
Time, budget, and complex technology were barriers LD professionals cited. In the next year, organizations expect to deliver more learning technologies by integrating face-to-face, mobile, open, online, distance, and social technologies. But most have little confidence in their ability to succeed.
CIPD’s study showed that only a quarter of respondents had the confidence to use blended learning, and these professionals were mostly in “private services organizations.” Most organizations appear to avoid investing in new technology, sticking with training the way they have always done it, with some citing budget and time constraints. In reality, not investing costs more in the long run because it is super easy to construct fun, innovative interactive courses online and blend them with face-to-face strategies. You just have to know how. With printed materials and staff production downtime alone, classroom learning costs are high. Blended learning allows students to access courseware from wherever, whenever they have time. And research shows people are willing to do this.
The CIPD study (2015) showed that respondents’ lack of confidence in using new technologies to author and deliver training is the main barrier to embracing mobile technologies. Most feel powerless and said simplified terms and breaking user information into small chunks would help them see clearly through the jargon. And simpler guides and courses would make complex technology less daunting. One in 11 respondents believed technology had little to offer or thought the organizational culture would not support it.
Time to take control
As Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Said so long ago, but still relevant today. There is no need for online learning to be complex, difficult, or confined to classrooms where people fall asleep at the back of the room.
Nor do LD staffers need to feel powerless in the face of complex technologies. Designing online and interactive courseware is no longer daunting. It’s stunningly simple if you know where to look. These days, there are many elearning authoring tools, like Elucidat, enabling trainers to create self-paced, mobile-friendly courses students will want to use.
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