Learning at Work Week: Reflecting on your L&D inclusivity

This Learning at Work Week, we decided to take a closer look at how learners access content.

Written by Mind Tools
Published 14 May 2021
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Learning at Work Week: Reflecting on your L&D inclusivity

As the world continues to transform, L&D professionals continue to adapt their models and frameworks to not only stay relevant, but also to continually meet the needs of their learners. This Learning at Work Week, which takes place from May 17 - 23, celebrates the theme Made for Learning, so we decided to take a closer look at what’s going on behind the scenes.

The way in which learners access content is shifting towards more digestible, on-demand content. Today’s workers are increasingly favouring L&D platforms that afford them the ability to learn at a time and place convenient for them. It’s perhaps of little wonder, then, that a report has shown L&D leaders feel underequipped to support the modern workforce. But these problems are not insurmountable. It really all boils down to reorienting perception of the real purpose of learning and development. 

L&D practitioners’ perspectives are greatly divergent from learners’ 

The Challenging perceptions of learners report highlighted a surprising divide  between L&D professionals’ perceptions of learners – and the way in which learners see themselves. For example: 

  • Most learners say they can rapidly action what they learn, but only a fraction of L&D professionals perceive learners to have this capacity. 

  • Most L&D practitioners believe people need encouragement to engage with professional self-development. But by comparison, 87% of learners say they manage their own L&D responsibly. 

  • The majority of learners know how to access the learning they need, but few L&D professionals believe this to be the case. 

  • Just 13% of L&D professionals say managers actively support the application of learning in the workplace. In stark contrast, 75% of managers themselves say they do in fact do this. 

In many ways, this divide is understandable: learning is primarily self-directed, and thus tough to monitor, especially across a large organisation. 

There’s extra pressure from above, too: L&D professionals are continually expected to demonstrate the value of learning through engagement—so if they can’t see it happening firsthand, they’re more prone to concluding that it isn’t happening at all. This can lead to a focus on completion (the digital equivalent of attendance) rather than real engagement with learning, behavioural change, and impact on business KPIs. 

These issues show the importance of considering all learners’ perspectives, and ensuring content is made for everyone’s learning—no matter where they sit in the company or how long they’ve been there. As just one example, 70% of learners describe search engines as a valuable learning resource, but most L&D professionals currently collect data only on the effectiveness of their own in-house programmes delivered via the LMS, where prescribed learning takes place. 

High-performing organisations are aligning with learners’ needs 

The best-performing L&D departments are doing things differently. Before commencing a project—and even prior to determining whether it will support growth or boost competitiveness through transformation—they’re checking in with the learners themselves. 

High-performing learning cultures are more likely to provide people with options for where, when, and how they learn. This flexibility and mobility prove instrumental in increasing learner engagement—but that’s only the beginning. Content at these companies is truly made for learning: not only is it highly relevant, but it’s also more easily accessed, available 24/7 and on any device. By leveraging microlearning and stretch tasks, these businesses develop employees’ knowledge at pace and, even more significantly, while in the flow of work. 

Is your L&D toolkit truly made for learning? 

Learning at Work Week is a great time to reflect on your L&D activities, resources, and campaigns. The annual event celebrates the benefits of continual learning and development in the workplace, encourages practitioners to reflect on their organisations’ inclusivity, and aims to empower leaders to build workplaces with a welcoming atmosphere for all. 

Emerald Works provides L&D resources that are inclusive, practical, and accessible to every member of your workforce. Our easy-to-digest content is divided across 12 skill areas, each tailored to a specific aspect of life or career, so it supports learners on every step of the ladder, from the CEO to the shop floor staff. There’s something for everyone, no matter how much (or how little) time they have to spare. This is how top-performing organisations have reoriented their perceptions of L&D and learners: by gifting employees with the ability to always be developing themselves—and at a time, place, and space that’s right for them. 

Get in touch today, and discover for yourself how Emerald Works’ best-in-class content can transform your organisation’s learning strategy.

Want to compare your L&D strategy with your peers? Take the Learning Performance Benchmark today.

About the author

Mind Tools

Mind Tools

Mind Tools was started in 1996 to offer practical online learning to people in the workplace.

By the time they joined Emerald in March 2019, they had grown into the one of the world’s most comprehensive learning resources, with millions of individual learners in 50 countries worldwide.

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