Why now’s the time to use elearning for employee growth and development

By: Otto Berkes, HireRoad CEO

Nearly three-quarters of adults consider themselves lifelong learners. As someone who’s spent their life creating new technologies and driving innovation, this is music to my ears. And as a corporate leader dedicated to fostering employee growth, hearing this also makes me ask how we can better serve that thirst for learning as part of our workforce’s everyday experiences to ensure that it becomes a cultural norm in every organization.

One thing’s certain: Online training and development will be a key to our company’s strategy—and, most likely, yours as well. The global corporate e-learning market is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 15% by 2026 to $50 billion.

Online employee training is no longer simply about content delivery. Instead, platforms center on the human and individual experience of learning and discovery. They incorporate robust pedagogy and the latest technology while following the core principles of adult learning. And they can help improve content and delivery effectiveness using analytics about who’s learning what, where and how well.

Participants have become savvier, too, and they expect interactive, interesting experiences that match their diverse learning styles and equip them with skills and knowledge they’ll use in their jobs. And most of them want to learn on their own schedule; the self-paced segment of the market is expected to maintain its dominance in the coming years.

Building A Better Organization Faster

The convergence of advanced platforms and motivated learners provides a rich opportunity for leaders to build better-skilled, more-engaged organizations faster. We’re moving away from the “cog in the machine” approach to recruitment and onboarding and toward a focus on each individual’s future potential within the organization. For this new approach to be successful, employers need to understand who their workers are and what motivates them—and workers need to understand the organization’s mission, vision and future direction.

Ideally, this exchange of information starts to happen before a new employee’s first day on the job. At HireRoad, we focus on streamlining and fast-tracking new hires from minus five to 180 days, meeting them where they are and helping them feel like valued employees—and team members—as soon as possible. Having a sense of belonging and a clear understanding of where they fit into an organization’s goals drives every employee’s performance and creates the foundation for learning, development and future contribution.

The beauty of our current technology ecosystem is that it can help HR teams accomplish this onboarding and integration into a new organization more quickly than ever before, anywhere in the world. Software solutions can deliver instruction that’s very targeted to what individuals need, whether it’s e-training (focusing on the development and application of new skills or skill sets), e-learning (equipping individuals with the knowledge, skills and abilities to tackle today’s challenges while preparing them for the future) or a combination of both.

HR’s Transformational Phase

I’ve long believed that the employee experience must be a fundamentally human experience. It’s exciting to see learning platforms catching up with this thinking, fostering deeper connections and creating real-life communities that help break down potential barriers like siloed workflows or large geographic distances between workplaces.

Although self-paced learning is a strong trend, the collaborative settings that are available through online learning are equally important. For example, new employees can connect with their colleagues and feel welcomed into their teams even before they start.

In addition, routine onboarding processes can be automated through HR software that standardizes and streamlines content and experiences. This automation also frees up capacity so humans can concentrate on more engaging tasks.

And these changes in how we approach learning aren’t limited to new hires. Longtime employees sometimes need refreshers or updates on new skills, and they can benefit their organizations and themselves by improving their readiness for where the business is going alongside pursuing their professional development. The flexibility and adaptability of online learning can accommodate everyone’s unique continuous learning journey.

We’ll see more transformations ahead as organizations embrace the agility and scalability of online learning and push for more innovation in both technology and content. There’s never been a better time to be a lifelong learner.

This article originally appeard in Forbes where Berkes is a contributor.