Drive learning experiences with mission-critical content

Does your organization find it challenging to deliver modern learning experiences?

Any L&D team that’s more focused on how to deliver learning rather than on what is being delivered is likely to have unhappy learners. Delivery platforms only get you so far. You still need the most critical component of the learning experience: Content.

In fact, learner retention and strong employee outcomes are tied directly to personalized and engaging mission-critical content that’s delivered as on-demand learning. This reality explains why 36% of companies plan to increase spending on learning content in the next fiscal year.

To demonstrate how closely content is tied to learning success, the Brandon Hall Group and Inkling collaborated on an eBook, “Mission-Critical Content that Drives the Learning Experience,” and uncovered five facets of content that every organization must understand.

Learning content development

Creating custom content is expensive. Many organizations spent $30,000 or more developing each of their eLearning courses, which explains the hesitation around throwing away custom content.

Unfortunately, this sunk cost is dragging down today’s learners. The majority of custom content is trapped in eLearning systems (38%), PowerPoints (30%), PDFs (12%), and printed materials (9%), and none of it is suitable for modern learning experiences. Not only is the content hard to find and use, but it’s often outdated and suffers from version control issues.

What is mission-critical content?

When you break down training into “corporate learning” and “operational learning,” it’s easier to assess what mission-critical content you need. Corporate learning focuses on foundational skills, while operational learning focuses on business execution and impacts sales, customer satisfaction, and organizational risk.

With both corporate and operational learning, the idea is to move learners from skills training to capabilities building. That’s why mission-critical content must do more than simply share knowledge; it must also ensure that everyone has the ability to apply knowledge on the job and develop expertise. The latter requires microlearning to reinforce capabilities by bringing learning and doing together.

Learning needs, content, and delivery are misaligned

At a time when 80% of the workforce is “deskless,” it’s shocking that only 1% of enterprise software funding is dedicated to meeting the needs of these employees. As a result, a huge segment of the workforce is missing out on the learning they need, when they need it.

Surprisingly, in-person, instructor-led classroom training (96%) remains the most common learning delivery method. In contrast, only 39% of organizations provide mobile learning delivery. It’s safe to say learners are underserved when content is trapped in classrooms, LMSs, and binders rather than being delivered into employees’ hands for learning in the flow of work. Mission-critical content must be easy to review and reference on the job if organizations want to receive the full benefits of this learning.


Know why custom content is so powerful? Because this unique operational knowledge demonstrates what’s special about an organization. It also represents what should be measured to understand the impact of learning on metrics such as customer satisfaction, improved sales, and cost savings.

For organizations that experience faster time-to-productivity, lower employee turnover, and stronger engagement and individual performance, the common ingredient across these companies is modern learning modalities. For example, video learning (79%) is considered the highest impact content tool and technology, and 82% of organizations state that the biggest overall impact comes from opportunities to practice and apply knowledge beyond the course.

The business value of mission-critical learning

By addressing the skills needed to develop capabilities, companies like Verizon Media and Taco Bell have seen real business results. Verizon experienced a 117% increase in its sales rate, and Taco Bell increased customer satisfaction by 5% while reducing lost labor costs.

The key for designing modern, engaging content is to use three guiding principles:

  1. Create intuitive learning experiences by applying consistent structure and styling to content;
  2. Keep users engaged by adding interactivity; and
  3. Reimagine content in ways that optimize for digital delivery.

Once you’ve developed custom content, operational excellence is driven by optimizing the content lifecycle, starting with collaborative authoring of engaging digital content and ending with reinforcement of learning and measurement of content’s impact.

Deliver mission-critical content for on-demand learning

One thing is very clear: Measurable business results are tied directly to providing learners with the ability to reference and review mission-critical content while on the job—anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

However, mission-critical content is the key ingredient for transforming a mobile device from a gadget into an on-demand delivery tool that enables powerful learning experiences.

Discover more insights about delivering mission-critical content by downloading a complimentary copy of the Brandon Hall Group and Inkling eBook today.