Learning & Development teams had to shift into high gear over the past two years, working to quickly upskill and reskill the workforce during a time of unprecedented change. The dynamics of the workforce and how employees interact with the company, technology and each other changed dramatically. For instance, in a joint study between Brandon Hall Group and SAP Litmos, we found that for 85% of companies, at least some of the learning audience is remote. Additionally, 82% of companies say at least some of their learners are mobile, meaning that they do not learn in one place, but on the move, outside the home or a traditional office.
This puts more pressure on L&D teams to create personalized learning that fits into the new flow of work. According to Brandon Hall Group’s Upskilling and Reskilling Study, 93% of companies say personalized learning is either very important or critical to driving both individual and organizational performance. But developing and delivering personalized learning requires organizations to have an expert understanding of learners and their environment. By identifying the characteristics of every learner as well as how, when and where they learn, learning can become much more targeted, focused, and impactful.
Yet few companies have a complete grasp of who their learners are. Fewer than half say they are either familiar or very familiar with when their learners learn, and about the same number say they are familiar or very familiar with learners’ personal and professional growth objectives. This means more than half of companies are essentially throwing learning programs against the wall, hoping something will stick. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to personalize learning at any scale. The lack of connection between the learners and the learning leads to poor engagement, less knowledge retention and ultimately, an inability to achieve business objectives.
To make matters worse, when learning is not personalized or at least contextualized to some degree, learners will seek content outside the purview of the L&D function because they think it is easier to find and more useful. Let’s face it, if the information someone needs is not readily available, they will search the internet to find it, leading many learners to incorrect, outdated or inappropriate content.
The time is now for a bit of “getting to know you.” Organizations need to do a better job of understanding their learners and providing them experiences that best suit their needs. What sounds like a lot of effort doesn’t seem like much when compared to the resulting engagement and performance.
Brandon Hall Group and SAP Litmos will be hosting a webinar focused on understanding the learner that will feature results from the joint study and strategies for driving personalization.
–David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group @davidmwentworth