The learning trend of 2018: always-on learning. But how?

Your career is probably going through a lot more change compared to your parents’ careers. The same goes for your skills. Times change, and for companies this means that real time and always-on learning is becoming the new standard. If employees are not able to continuously learn new, more general skills, wherever and whenever they want, they will walk away. Research by Deloitte suggests that it is one of the most important trends in HR this year. But how can you facilitate always-on learning in your organization?

always-learningEvery year Deloitte releases the Global Human Capital Trends report. This year with ‘Careers and Learning’ as the second most important global trend, trailing to the rather general ‘The Company of the Future’. Dutch managers even put the subject on the first place. For millenials all over the world, development and career opportunities are the most important factor in the image of employers. At the same time, two-third of the millenials thinks that their employer does not utilize their capabilities in the right way, 42% wants to change jobs because they are not able to learn as fast as they want to.

More general skills

The mobility on the job market is higher than ever before. The median of the Americans who were asked about how long they have been working for the same employer, decreased between 2014 and 2016 from 4.6 to 4.2 years. For millennials this was just 3,2 years, a number that ever since has not been increasing. Two-third of them admitted to Deloitte that they are planning on changing employer in the next five years. Because of this, employees, and especially millennials, expect to learn skills that are more broadly applicable. Another development that Deloitte describes, is that these interdisciplinary skills help organizations function more like a network of teams. “Learning should encourage people to move between jobs”, states the report. Soft skills form arguably the biggest part of these interdisciplinary skills, and therefore gain increasingly more attention in organizations.

Keep refreshing skills

IT workers should re-develop their skills every 12 to 18 months. The same goes for professionals in marketing, sales, production, justice, accounting and finance, according to Deloitte. The fact that skills are up-to-date in a shorter amount of time means that learning is happening more gradually, at any place and any time. Learning Technologies facilitate an ‘always-on’, cooperative and composed learning experience. Employees should be able to learn anytime, they quickly find knowledge online, train a soft skill in an app, or share an experience with colleagues in a chat group. Progressive organizations combine classroom and group training with microlearning and social learning interventions. Non-recurring interventions are replaced with an on-going program that lasts for multiple months, which is followed up with repetition exercises. In this way the employees’ skills stay up-to-date.  

New learning systems and statistics

The fastest growing segment in HR-technology is the adoption of new learning systems for employees. That is not only LMS; on all levels of learning technology innovation is sought, states Deloitte. This means more digitization and more online, this development also facilitates always-on learning. Because of this, learning statistics, like the time that employees spend on learning platforms, become available. However, with this Deloitte is only scratching the surface. Always-on learning of soft skills happens already a lot in organizations with video role plays that are accessible on smartphone anytime, anywhere. Learning systems like these also provide globally objective insights in the mastery of soft skills within organizations and the effects of training on this. Deloitte itself, uses a learning system to let their employees develop different skills as well. Read their experiences in the case study!

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