The Office is Mobile. Why Isn’t Your L&D Content?

Once upon a time, in the traditional single-office workspace, it was widely accepted that holding learning and development (L&D) content hostage within binders or intranet PDFs was effective but even that is now debatable. Now, as the definition of the workplace has changed, realities like flextime, telecommuting and multi-location teams are critical new considerations. The idea that the office is a single place where professional lives happen is becoming less effective and less relevant. By one estimate, telecommuting has risen 79 percent since 2005.  And that doesn’t even begin to consider the increasing number of field-based employees, who might only drop by “the office” once or twice a week. It’s important to ensure that while your team is on the road or working from home, your L&D initiatives don’t get left to collect dust.

Let’s be clear: L&D remains an effective and powerful investment in the individual success of your staff, and the overall success of the company. A 2014 report from Bersin by Deloitte, “The Corporate Learning Factbook 2014: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market” states that businesses increased training budgets by an average of 15 percent last year, reflecting the highest growth rate in this area in the last seven years. It’s clear that companies are investing in staff learning and development, but what isn’t clear from these numbers is the place of innovation.

It may be time to revamp your L&D program. Ask yourself these questions to find out if your initiatives are effective or not.

When was the last time our L&D materials were updated?

If your company is still relying on the old-school binder delivery system, chances are some of the content could use an overhaul. Loyalty can be a good thing, but if you’re sticking to outdated paper-based content because “it always worked before” or you can’t be bothered to reprint all of those manuals, you’re missing the opportunity to update and innovate.

Today’s employees are tech-savvy, hungry for innovation, and have become adept at using their mobile devices to assist with other job functions. Why should your L&D programs remain stuck in the paper age? Just as cloud-based solutions have helped companies collaborate, communicate and stay organized, you can improve your L&D content by taking it from a physical in-house product to a mobile-first system that can be updated in real-time.

How are we assessing experience and impact?

When learning and development programs rely on static reading materials, how does a company assess the content, process and effectiveness of that experience?

In short, they don’t.

Paper or PDF lack the valuable feedback loop and analytics that allow managers to see how employees are interacting with the content. With a mobile-based format, L&D coordinators can rely on real data to inform them of which sections of the training prompted the most engagement, how much time was spent on each page, and what sections were skipped altogether. Learners can input notes and ask questions right in the interface while the content is fresh in their minds. By having these insights, you can figure out where your L&D might fall short and make improvements accordingly.

Are our L&D programs still relevant?

If you’re asking this question, you probably haven’t reaped the rewards of a strong training program. The measures of a great Learning and Development program are the ones that increases employees confidence and productivity, and lead to outcomes that further the business’s overall goals.

Giving your employees the opportunity to learn and grow with the company is much more cost effective than hiring new talent or scrambling to fill capability gaps. Furthermore, your employees will feel empowered knowing that you care about their professional development. This is especially true for the younger generations of workers who place a lot of value on companies that offer them more than just their paycheck.

“Most of all, we want work that is meaningful.”
-Barry Schwartz, Rethinking Work

Is going mobile really the game-changer that our L&D program needs?

There are two critical points to consider when answering this question: how do we learn and where do we get information?

Understanding that learning isn’t limited to the classroom or training room is the first step – the concept of experiential learning has continuously gained traction since its introduction in 1984 as a highly effective strategy for absorbing and then applying knowledge. Within the model of experiential learning, students are personally engage and reflective. Methods combine media, conversation, lecture and application to engage the whole person. Adapting experiential learning for employees’ own smartphones and tablets places these experiences where they are already discovering and absorbing information. Fully interactive experiences that incorporate video, quizzes, up-to-date information and just-in-time learning, are all accessible at any time on the device your staff is most comfortable with. Mobile content is trackable, providing valuable data, and easily adjustable, allowing you to make informed updates in response to that data.

More companies are making use of cloud-based technology that enables employees to track time on projects, communicate virtually through chat and VoIP, share screens and collaborate in real time, and complete any other job functions from a remote location as easily as they would in the traditional cubicle or open-plan office environment. Paper-based and classroom-focused L&D materials are not compatible with this new shift in how employees are working.

In order to create an effective L&D program for your employees, it’s important to develop a program that all employees, both in-office and remote, can easily participate in on their own schedules and at their convenience. Your employees are getting used to being able to perform their work anywhere, at any time–the same should be true of their L&D programs. By adopting a mobile, cloud-based solution, you’ll future-proof your L&D program and make it easy for all of your employees to participate in professional development, no matter where they’re working from.