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On-Demand Online Learning Catching on in the Workplace



By U.S. News University Directory
Posted 2012

On-demand Online Learning Catching On
On-demand Online Learning Catching On

On-demand online learning in the workplace is the perfect tool for addressing the needs of a variety of learners across generations. Investing in online learning options for workers is a cost-effective way for companies to retain top employees and meet individual training needs at the same time. Whether an employer is looking to train a sales staff on a new software platform, introduce new customer service protocols to existing employees, or engage a team in topics geared toward group cohesion, online learning offers the on-demand versatility needed to help employees succeed.

Inside the World of On-Demand Online Learning

Consider a situation where an employee has just been assigned to a new team charged with a specific goal such as identifying and implementing ways to increase bottom line performance of a new project. The project manager built a team that s/he thought could work well together, one that has a diversified way of looking at a problem, and one that has a wide range of skills. The challenge is that each team member brings a slightly different skill set and industry “language” to the project.

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In order for the project to progress efficiently, the team leader needs everyone to “speak” a common language and share a common knowledge base. To help facilitate group cohesion and improve communication, the team leader may enroll the team in a series of online courses about topics integral to the success of the project. While there will most likely be a timeline for course completion, each team member can engage in the training materials through a mobile device whenever they want and wherever they are. This attractive feature of on-demand online training adds great versatility and convenience to the learning experience.

The beauty of on-demand online learning is that it is so flexible. A manager can send the team a brief webcast and follow up with an email discussion question. The team leader can assemble on-demand online materials that may include a simulation or group activity to use in a face-to-face real time session, but the materials can also be viewed repeatedly on a mobile device for months afterward. Overall, employees enjoy learning with on-demand because its blended course environment is engaging, relevant, and flexible.

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On-Demand Online Learning Addresses the Needs of all Learners

In addition to being convenient, on-demand online learning is built with a deep understanding of how learners retain new material. The latest in brain-based research shows that today’s learners need breaks at regular intervals and need to receive the information in a variety of ways in order to improve retention of knowledge. Additionally, the best long term retention of new ideas happens when a learner feels comfortable and engaged in the process. Today’s reputable online courses provide a great diversity of online learning tools such as videos, webinars, audio feeds, and mobile courseware to reach learners. These applications are also conducive to a great many learning styles.

Not only does on-demand online learning make it easier to employers to offer training to employees more effectively, it also allows a learner to engage in training that is conducive to the most natural way the brain learns. This makes on-demand online learning a wise investment all around. While learning in this blended way, might seem most familiar to the Millennials out there, it isn’t just the early career professionals who find this learning format useful.

On-Demand across the Generations

Every generation brings unique influences with them as they enter the workforce. In order to retain the best employees, companies need to evolve with generational workforce trends. The Millennials who were born in the 1980s are currently in their 20s and early 30s, and bring an intrinsic understanding of current technological trends with them to their new jobs. They seek smart relevant technology that is integrated naturally in their day to day professional experience. In order to keep the younger generation engaged, ongoing blended learning experiences is a must for top employers competing for top talent.

With the recent economic upheavals, many comfortable, stable and mid-career Gen X professionals found themselves out of work and competing with recent grads for jobs (especially for career changers or those who needed to take a job at a lower skill level in order to gain any full time employment). Like the Millennials, they want an employer to provide ongoing development opportunities to assist in keeping skills current, especially in today’s challenging economy. On-demand online learning provides targeted training for these employees, too.

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In order to meet the needs of the baby boomers, the versatility of online learning translates into a highly cost-effective way for employers to address this group’s needs. The on-demand materials allow the older employees to engage in new material at an individual pace, integrate an extensive skill set with new technology, and master specific skills that are most relevant to a current job description.

Stay Competitive

In order to remain ahead of the competition, hiring executives desire employees who have a wide range of applicable skills. The catch is that top employers know that the best employees seek ongoing continuing education to keep skills and knowledge current. On-demand learning offers a highly engaging and cost effective learning experience that employees across the age span find attractive.

On-demand online learning is revolutionizing how employers view training.

The flexibility and convenience is highly appealing across the generations. No more boring PowerPoint presentations where everyone in the group has to sit through all the slides read aloud one after the other after the other... No more doodling all over handouts to stay awake during a 9 am overhead presentation because the morning coffee hasn’t finished brewing yet. The on-demand nature of today’s corporate training sessions means that all learners can actively engage in a career development plan that is relevant and inherently tailored to simultaneously meet individual and company need.

For employers looking to retain skilled professionals at all stages of career growth, offering on-demand online learning is one important way to increase employee satisfaction. On-demand online learning is catching on in the workplace and is an interesting business trend to watch. While no one knows for sure how long the trend will last, its popularity continues to grow across industries.

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