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Author's profile photo Maria Teresa McGinn

Everything About Corporate Learning Is Changing—Even Your Content

It used to be that on-the-job learning was a simple as attending a two-day course, receiving a certificate proving that you were there, and returning to your desk to conduct business as usual. Long gone are those days. Executives now expect to see tangible performance results as soon as your learning program is complete. They don’t care if you have a pretty piece of paper that shows you took the class—they want to know that your newly developed skills will help make the business more competitive.

No matter your employer’s approach to corporate learning, content is the core of any organizational learning program. Without content, we cannot learn. It’s true—content is king. Everyone wants it and needs it. And everyone thinks they can create it.

But here is the million-dollar question corporate learning professionals are asking themselves:

How do you know if you are curating and delivering

the best learning content out there

to create a highly knowledgeable and productive workforce?

The only way you can answer this question is to know where corporate learning is heading and what employees and stakeholders expect. Make sure you check out our Workforce of the Future Hub and Learning Webcast page for deeper insights into the future of work.  For now, here are three ways the (r)evolution of corporate learning has changed the rules for learning content now and for years to come:

1. Learning content is born from experience

Employees with deep expertise on a critical subject matter are being asked to take responsibility for sharing their experiences and lesson learned. In fact, research by Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte LLP, discovered that creating a learning culture where employees willingly share skills and knowledge is quickly becoming one of the most important and strategic pathways to business success [David Mallon, “High-impact learning culture: The 40 best practices for creating an empowered enterprise,” Bersin & Associates, June 2010]. Companies are experimenting with methods that enable employees to share what they learn on the job—and they are getting positive results.

In turn, corporate learning specialists are no longer generators and archivists of content—instead, they are now curators and facilitators of the total learning experience. By trying out different ways to deliver employee-authored content, subject-matter experts can feel more at ease with sharing their brain power on demand in a social forum that is simple and not time-consuming.

2.  Learning can happen anytime and anywhere—and so should the content

In the age of top-down learning, content took the form of traditional “one to many” presentations. Now that we are entering the world of bottom-up learning, content is taking shape in the form of massive open online courses (MOOCs), gamification, and mobile apps. As we continue to grow more and more connected to our digital experiences, learners—especially younger Gen X’ers, millennials, and the up-and-coming Generation Z—expect to participate in online social learning communities that provide the same user experience as the mobile apps we love using in our daily lives.

In addition to being clear and entertaining, learning content now needs to be accessible in a variety of channels 24×7. But beware, it’s not as simple as posting a presentation and pushing it out on every device your employees access on a daily basis. The way people obtain and use content is very different in each channel. By understanding how content builds on each other and how each learner uses each channel, you can objectively decide which format(s) to use to deliver your content.

3.  Delivery of learning content must be flexible

The key is knowing how to reuse learning content and reformat it in a manner that helps ensure the best information is available through the right channels. This is where flexibility is critical. For example, in more traditional top-down learning scenarios, structured content works best. But for bottom-up learning, you may need content that is more fluid. And if your corporate learning applies a hybrid of top-down and bottom-up, you better be sure both content types are used and marry to each other so that your overall program provides a seamless, coordinated, and comprehensive learning experience.

The content also needs to be housed in a single location. Companies should invest in integrating all learning content and tools into one easy-to-use interface. This enables corporate learning managers to effectively match employees to the most appropriate content and make it available on each employee’s terms. But more importantly, this approach drives a business culture of continuous learning and knowledge sharing.

As corporate learning evolves, so does content. But don’t worry technology is keeping up with the times. Are you?

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