E-learning as a practice can greatly galvanise a business. Its employees can be trained and given better (and newer) learning methods and tools to help them remain relevant in the changing economic landscape. There are a number of options when it comes to adopting e-learning practices, but often times those approaches are generalised and perhaps not quite suited or tailored to your business structure and its staff.
The e-learning model is greatly changing the traditional learning route. No longer is the emphasis so heavily on three A-levels and a degree; these days a business can provide educational benefits to its staff members. A recent report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests that the educational and work based environments can merge much further.
The report was published on the 4th of June and it marks the distinctive changes in the workforce environment. According to the report there are around 3.6 million skilled vacancies opening up over the next 10 years and many of those jobs are expected to further economic growth. This will also positively affect the mobility of employees in terms of gaining future vocational qualifications.
Within the next decade the 3.6 million job vacancies will be in the mid-skilled sector of employee types. This will include areas like childcare supervisors, legal executives, and commercial roofers. These professions already employ high numbers of people with vocational qualifications.
With the huge increase in university tuition fees and the long term prospect of paying those loans back, it seems more and more viable to go down the e-learning route – for both employers and employees. Currently, out of the ten most in-demand occupations, nine can be attained by completing vocational qualifications. There is a need for businesses to employ and further train staff and this will be a model adopted more and more as we move towards newer and perhaps more innovative business infrastructures.
Substantial growth in the job market
The report suggests that the idea of the ‘hourglass’ economy is a false one. The assumption being that many highly skilled jobs are at the top end with low paid and skilled jobs at the bottom. This isn’t entirely accurate the report suggests, and its data projections show that there will be substantial growth in the middle and lower end of the job market.
If current predictions are correct, just over a third of all jobs will be created in high skilled occupations. It’s not only the business that benefits either as many employees who achieve vocational qualifications use those as a means to access higher education options that may not have been available otherwise. Learning is something that everyone should strive for (businesses and employees alike) and it will greatly benefit all parties involved.
According to Jan Hodges OBE, CEO of the Edge Foundation: “This research clearly demonstrates that we must continue to support high quality vocational education if we are to meet the needs of our future economy.
“Education that combines rigorous academic teaching with a more practical and technical element is a good example of how we can address the future skills issue.”
Keep your staff relevant and happy
E-learning then is a viable way to keep your staff not only relevant but happy, productive, and with a sense that things are moving towards the future. That’s increasingly the case – e-learning is a practice that will saturate the future job marketplace. It’s more effective to start early and be proactive rather than reactionary. There is a growing skills shortage but that doesn’t have to be the case at your business.
However, e-learning practices aren’t a catch-all, or even a one size fits all type of practice. Businesses have very varied needs and so it’s valid to consider bespoke e-learning practices. That’s not to say that a generic e-learning approach wouldn’t benefit your business (and for some it would be the perfect choice), it’s just to suggest that perhaps a better option is a more considered approach.
Bespoke e-learning then is a tailored approach and one designed with your specific business and its needs in mind. It may not be suitable for every business type, so let’s consider some practical reasons for bespoke e-learning practices.
Generic material doesn’t exist
Some businesses will find a wealth of relatable information and learning methods to utilise in its work place. Others however will find that its specific business needs aren’t being served by generic e-learning practices. There are areas where businesses will find that they need organisation-specific training – this is where bespoke learning management practices are recommended.
Reflect, Highlight, and Show your Corporate Philosophy
On a surface level it’s important that all learning resources have your company stamp and brand on them – your marketing department will agree. But it’s also important that your learners’ feel that the course provided has a sense of corporate identity. This will highlight the fact that the organisation is personally investing in their development and future as employees.
Remember though that any course material should be written in a style that fits your organisation’s culture. Make sure that the language used is appropriate to the subject matter and the employee requirements.
Bespoke e-learning provides huge scope to tailor and mould your workforce into one that’s prepared to combat the growing skills shortage and is ready for the future. Any content that you devise should have a direct focus on the audience and the mode of delivery. Perform some initial needs analysis before any sort of plan or implementation occurs. This will ensure that the learning methods adopted are designed with a defined audience profile in mind.
The bespoke solution should engage the learner through:
- Appropriate pitch of delivery – written style or tutorial approach
- A knowledge an awareness of the educational level of the learner – where they’ll be studying and any prior understanding of the subject that they have
- Relevant use of interaction – too much and its patronising, too little and its simplistic, perhaps even reductive
Ensure that you understand your workforce and their needs and you’ll find that designing and implementing a bespoke e-learning solution is simple enough. The benefits will be far reaching and with an aging population it’s important to retain staff members, increase their knowledge base, and avoid simply replacing them for cheaper models. If you invest in your staff you’ll find that they’ll return the favour and you’ll be left with a well-educated and loyal work force.