Who’s training your workforce: You or search engines?

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Humans know everything.

Seriously, ask us anything, and we can give you an answer within a minute or two. Of course, it’s not that we’ve necessarily grown smarter in the last twenty years. Rather, we can now search for anything on our mobile devices, which means answers always exist at our fingertips.

When organizations consider their employee learning, this default use of search engines should prompt the obvious question: Are my employees using information they find online to do their jobs?

Unfortunately, today’s reality is quite clear:

Employees use search engines when real-time learning and work-sanctioned answers are not readily available on the job.

After all, it’s much easier to search quickly on a mobile device than to dig through binders of information or backtrack through online courses to look for a specific piece of learning. This natural behavior demonstrates a universal human expectation for accessible and relevant information at all times.

And that means the only way to reach your learners and keep their attention is by providing learning agility.

Five must-have concepts for delivering learning agility

Consider online retailers for a moment. Know what they do on every web page you visit? Provide personalized suggestions and recommendations based on what you’ve searched for and browsed on the site. These customized experiences are quick, accessible, and relevant because retailers know that’s how to increase the likelihood of converting a casual browser into an engaged buyer.

Learning at work should behave the same way. Employees must feel immediately engaged, understand what’s in it for them, and know why the information is important. And relevant content should be delivered in their moment of need, in the flow of work.

These employee expectations point to a simple yet powerful concept: learning agility. The basic idea is that learning adapts and evolves to match learner needs and the pace of business.

Here are the five key concepts that your learning must have in order to ensure learning agility, both now and in the future:

  1. Trust – If content is spread out in different content repositories, then it’s easy for employees to get confused or frustrated. Learners must have a single source of knowledge. It’s the only way to drive speed and agility with learning (and to keep them away from Google).
  2. Access – By nature, classroom and eLearning courses simply don’t provide information when employees need it. Learning agility demands anytime, anywhere access. These days, employees want to find what’s needed, learn it, and get back to work. And that requires mobile access.
  3. Speed – Heavy authoring tools are too slow and don’t deliver content changes and notifications to employees with ease. Learning agility relies on digital, mobile-ready content that updates instantaneously so employees always use the most updated information while on the job.
  4. Relevance – Static and pre-packaged content isn’t as relevant these days. Employees learn best with engaging custom content that provides learner-centric experiences (think: videos, interactive graphics) and is contextualized to immediate learning needs.
  5. Adoption – How do you know if traditional learning systems and processes are being used? You often don’t, which makes them ineffective. In contrast, digital and modern learning solutions provide complete visibility into content usage, employee engagement, and learning outcomes.

Modern learning environments and the new world of work

The global pandemic has thrown into stark relief the need for learning agility. It’s exposed a new world of work where speed and flexibility are required in order to respond to constantly changing conditions. And that means your learning systems and processes must have agility built-in.

Only a modern learning environment delivers the learning agility that this new environment necessitates and the on-demand learning employees want. Whether through microlearning, video learning, or on-the-job exercises, employees feel the difference when they have access to real-time learning that focuses on their immediate needs and provides learner-centric experiences they can trust.

After all, there’s no need to resort to search engine queries when mission-critical learning is provided in the flow of work. The right answers are already in hand.