Quenching a Huge Thirst for Workplace Learning

David Bowie’s prediction that music would “become like running water” came true and expanded to include other content. Why has workplace learning fallen behind? Amy Wilson discusses how a modern learning experience can make a difference.

In a 2002 interview about the future of the music industry, David Bowie told a New York Times reporter that ”Music itself is going to become like running water.”

Bowie’s prediction came true: We’re now able to instantly stream almost any song at any time, just as easily as we turn on the tap. But the content revolution didn’t stop with music. It quickly expanded to encompass other media—television shows, films, and new formats like podcasts. Going well beyond running water, we’re now drinking from the online content fire hydrant: always on, always fresh, always streaming.

People aren’t just binging on the latest Netflix shows—they’re binging on educational and learning content, too.

New behaviors have emerged as a result. There’s a good chance that you identify as a binge watcher (68% of people do). You’ve probably been lulled down the online rabbit hole by search and suggestion features, watching video after video. You likely prefer your videos to be short and easily consumable on your smartphone, and may have created and shared your own.

People aren’t just binging on the latest Netflix shows—they’re  binging on educational and learning content content, too. Searches on YouTube for the phrase “how to” are rising 70 percent each year. Sixty-five percent of millennials believe they can find a video on anything they want to learn, and 91 percent of smartphone users turn to their device when they need help completing a task. People all over the world are creating and sharing learning content, providing instruction on everything from chopping an onion to flying a helicopter.

But there’s a huge divide between how users learn in their personal lives and the learning experiences they get in the workplace. When we first conceived of Workday Learning we visited companies across the world, and spoke with over 100 employees at every level. We found they have a constant thirst for great learning content: It helps them grow, progress, and contribute to their company’s success.

Yet rather than the content hydrant people are accustomed to in their personal lives, they told us their corporate learning management system often works more like a leaky faucet—drips and drops that don’t satisfy.

Employees report that learning opportunities are more important to them when joining a company than the vacation policy.

Attracting and Retraining Employees

In the knowledge economy, with increasingly fierce competition for talent and retention, the inability for organizations to quench this thirst for learning is a big problem. Add to that, the breakneck pace of new technologies coming into the workplace makes it difficult for us all to keep our skills up to date.

In fact, employees report that learning opportunities are more important to them when joining a company than the vacation policy. Employers, however, rank learning opportunities near the bottom of their lists when it comes to attracting employees.

With Workday Learning, we want to address this disconnect and reinvent learning in the workplace.

Learning Should Be Personal and Shareable

We believe that learning should flow freely throughout the enterprise, and that employees should to be able to create and share their own knowledge. Above all, we believe learning should be personal; intrinsically tied to each employee’s unique goals, aspirations, and career path.

Here’s an example of how a modern learning experience can make a difference: There might be an everyday procedure that’s unique to your company and critical to your business. Writing up a quick-help guide could take someone a few hours, but it could only take a few minutes for a knowledgeable employee to record the procedure on her or his screen and create a walk-through video for a colleague. Or, an executive could do the walk-through video and securely share this knowledge with employees across the company.

This is just a small example of a dynamic learning system designed to take information from a variety of sources and make it easy to view.

With Workday Learning, we’re committed to creating an experience that’s truly consumer-grade: easy, instant, fluid, and personalized. We’re working side by side with our customer design partners—leading companies across different geographies, industries, and of different sizes—to build a learning platform that meets the needs of today’s employees. Most importantly, we’re hoping to help a wide range of companies inspire and grow their people, and finally satisfy that incredible thirst for learning.

Posted in:  Human Resources

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