A Guide to L&D Solutions
There should always be a method to the madness.
Even with the best L&D strategy, if the method you use to facilitate learning doesn’t match your organisation’s needs, the experience will be poor.
We’re going to run through the main L&D methods so you can pick the best mix for you.
First up, the learning budget. This solution involves allocating budgets to either individuals or managers to be spent on L&D resources like books and courses. Let’s break them down and explore the advantages and disadvantages of both sides.
Team Learning Budgets
For this solution, organisations allocate a budget to managers who then use this to purchase L&D resources for their teams.
- Can create more engagement from employees as L&D becomes manager-led, which employees are more likely to be receptive to.
- Gives managers the freedom to find resources that suit the team the best.
- Makes L&D multi-modal as managers aren’t restricted to a particular learning type, they can pick what works best for their team
- Managers take responsibility for L&D, removing the administrative burden from HR.
- As budget decisions are made at the team-level resources are allocated based on the needs of the majority rather than the individual. This means the resources selected won’t suit everyone in the team.
- Managers don’t always know their team’s learning needs, so there’s a chance of budgets being spent on resources that don’t match skill gaps.
- The L&D experience is dependent on how engaged the manager is.
- Managing these budgets creates an administrative burden for managers.
- Managers may also not have the time to fully engage with the budget and make informed decisions.
Individual Learning Budgets
No prizes for this one, the individual learning budget solution is where organisations allocate budgets for employees to spend on L&D resources.
- Democratises learning and gives freedom to individuals to pick the L&D resources that work for their goals and schedules.
- Works well for technical teams, like engineering, where there is a clear taxonomy making it easy for employees to know what skills to develop.
- There can be lower engagement as the emphasis on learning is shifted to the individual, with little accountability from a manager.
- Employees don’t know what they need to learn so struggle to know where to use their budgets.
- The resources that employees choose to spend their resources on may not align with an organisation’s objectives.
- Difficult to scale to organizations with thousands of employees given the large cost per individual.
- Employees don’t have the time to fully utilise budgets, leading to inefficient spending spikes at the end of budget cycles.
Let’s move on to a true classic, in-person, face to face training. We’ll then dive deeper and look at internal and external face to face training.
- Questions, answers and feedback can be given in real-time more fluidly than over video meetings.
- In-person there’s no more hiding behind webcams, meaning that dialogues between learners are more likely. This helps employees learn from each other.
- With everyone in the same room, the instructor can read the body language of the learners and adapt sessions accordingly to match.
- Face to face training can be costly for organisations with the need to hire rooms, cover transport costs and so on.
- The high costs make it difficult to scale.
- Physical training isn’t available on-demand and is restricted by time and location, meaning it is not suitable for remote or hybrid work models.
- Not environmentally friendly if employees have to travel to a set location - doesn’t align with sustainable leadership.
External Face To Face Training
This solution is a variation on face to face training where external trainers are bought in from outside an organisation to lead training sessions.
- External sessions mean organisations can bring in subject matter experts.
- Can break up groupthink and offer a fresh perspective on organisational issues.
- As the trainer doesn’t have any vested interests in the organisation they can facilitate debate better.
- External instructors are extremely expensive.
- There is rarely follow up with the sessions from instructors meaning employees struggle to implement training in their roles.
- The trainer will be unfamiliar with the culture of the organisation.
- The quality of external instructors can vary.
Internal Face To Face Training
Internal training is a case of keeping it in house and using people from within an organisation to lead training sessions.
- Not hiring an external trainer can reduce overall costs.
- Internal coaches are clear on organisational culture and process so can make sure sessions reflect and reinforce this.
- The organisation has control over the timing and scheduling of training sessions, so can make sure scheduling is efficient.
- Internal training means that employees are developed within the organisation to lead sessions.
- More administration for HR than bringing in an external instructor.
- Organisations are more likely to get stuck in one way of doing things, which can be detrimental for the long term.
- Internal trainers are less likely to question organisational processes and spark debate than external ones.
This solution is where training is run online with employees in different locations, think Zoom training and webinars. Let’s go through the pros and cons.
- Cost-effective, no need to hire a physical room for training.
- Great for international teams in different countries/time zones.
- Environmentally friendly as no travel is required, this slots well into a sustainable leadership mindset.
- Online training can incorporate a variety of mediums meaning it can fit more learning styles, for example, video, audio, text and more.
- Remote training can be completed on-demand, so employees can learn at their own pace.
- Self-discipline is required as there is no physical trainer present to ensure you are completing tasks.
- If training is taken online there is more chance of distraction as employees can be doing other tasks at the same time as learning.
- There can be technical issues that impede learning and make it more inefficient.
- In video meetings, cameras can be turned off so collaboration can be stunted.
- Remote training can lead to a sense of isolation for employees versus being in a room with other people.
The final solutions we’re going to cover come under the category of online learning platforms. These take it one step further than remote training and create an online platform that is a home for all your L&D resources.
Online learning platforms are great as they reduce administrative burdens for HR teams and allow full tracking of L&D all in one place.
We’re going to run through the advantages and disadvantages of three types of online learning platforms.
The first online learning platform to cover is an LMS which is a system that administrates, tracks, assigns and delivers learning resources to employees. Content is set by an organisation’s administrator and structured in a linear way with a traditional course structure.
- Administrators can control learning content and pick the content that matches organisational needs.
- Great for those organisations that want a top-down learning perspective.
- The experience is very prescriptive. Employees will be assigned courses which they then have a time frame to complete, this makes it good for mandatory training for onboarding and compliance.
- The linear course structure is very familiar to employees making them feel comfortable with what expectations are.
- As content is course-based and employees can’t pick the parts most relevant to their roles, time can be wasted on irrelevant content.
- The course-based structure can lead to tunnel vision for employees meaning they just do the courses assigned and don’t look further with curiosity for new skills to further their skill set.
- Content is long-form meaning that completion rates and engagement can be poor.
- Administrators have to create their own content libraries which presents a huge cost in terms of time and money.
- HR admins require technical skills to be able to use them effectively.
- There is an administrative burden for HR teams as they have to manage learning content themselves.
- The lack of collaboration can reduce opportunities for employees to learn from each other.
An LXP is a more personal online learning experience where users can pick the content they want to consume, upload their own content and learn collaboratively with others. LXPs are often open-source and provide learning recommendations.
- An open system allows a greater variety of content to be available both in terms of viewpoints and medium.
- Learning paths are adaptable as employees can pick the content they know they need for their roles and avoid irrelevant content.
- LXPs encourage collaboration due to their focus on social learning, which helps employees to learn from each other.
- There can be gamification incorporated in LXPs with leaderboards, badges and achievements which can boost engagement.
- Employees often have to identify their own skill gaps before searching for content.
- With user-uploaded content, there is a risk that content is irrelevant or won’t be of high quality.
- Learning resources are often long-form which can impact completion rates, often they are around 2-20%.
- Lack of personalisation in the learning experience can create low engagement.
- As there is freedom for employees to learn what they want, the less exciting but still essential training like compliance can be overlooked.
The final online learning method is bite-sized e-learning platforms, like 5Mins. These are the new generation of LXPs that bring the same advantages while addressing the disadvantages and adding additional benefits.
- Super sophisticated AI means that learners are given hyper-personalised recommendations which create high engagement.
- Highly curated, audited content from industry experts ensures all content is strong.
- Bite-sized content means rapid learning and can be consumed in chunks around busy schedules. This means very high completion rates.
- The low monthly subscription cost means that it can be coupled with traditional compliance training making sure all bases are covered.
- High levels of automation allow HR teams to automatically run initiatives like DEI and hybrid working with no administration required.
- Gamification through quizzes and leaderboards creates a super addictive and engaging experience.
- For complex compliance training, bite-sized learning may not be appropriate as these trainings require extra time to get to the required standard.
- If you wish to use Sharable Content Object Reference Models (SCORM), that allow learners to purchase third party courses and use them on any learning platform, you’ll need to use an LMS.
So there we have it - your solution to the world of L&D methods.
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