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On demand training

On demand training

Table of Contents

    It’s a very fast-paced world we live in. Situations in life and business turn on a dime, and innovation moves at a breakneck speed. 

    So, can you afford to run year-round, in-person employee training programs?

    Unfortunately, the answer is usually no. 

    Luckily, there’s an approach to learning and development (L&D) that fits the current moment. 

    It’s called on-demand training, and it’s a bit like Netflix for e-learning ;).

    Have we got your attention? Great! Stay tuned to discover:

    • What on-demand learning is 
    • Why it’s important 
    • The benefits of on-demand training 
    • How to implement this learning strategy in your company 

    What is on-demand training?

    Just like our favorite on-demand streaming services, on-demand training gives users 24/7 access to a catalog of learning content. 

    It’s a way of delivering online training via a learning platform so that learners can learn at their own pace and access training at the time of need.

    This kind of training is also known as “learning in the flow of work,” a concept coined by Josh Bersin. Unlike traditional training experiences, on-demand learning allows employees to access relevant information at the touch of a button. They don’t have to sit down and take in a whole online course or wait for scheduled face-to-face training.

    As they work, employees can access training content in real-time, getting just the info they need at that moment. This content can come in the form of videos, podcasts, quizzes, step-by-step guides, blog posts, or webinars. The key point is the delivery method.

    In essence, on-demand training brings the same convenience and accessibility that people are used to when using other on-demand services. It uses modern technology such as mobile learning and concepts like microlearning to give learners the kind of learning experience they are expecting. Don’t just take our word for it—according to Forbes, 57% of employees now want to have access to on-demand training. 

    It’s because of all this that on-demand training is emerging as one of the biggest trends in L&D.  

    Why should all this matter to you and your company? We’ll touch on that in the next part of the guide.


    Why is on-demand training important?

    On-demand training isn’t just about convenience (although it’s certainly a huge plus). In fact, it offers a lot more, especially in a corporate training environment. 

    First, consider that more and more millennial and Gen Z employees are in your workforce. Being digital natives, they expect training experiences to mirror the ones they are having with consumer apps. That means quick, easy to access, and personalized. 

    Learner experience is important. Matching their expectations leads to higher engagement and knowledge retention.

    At the same time, more people than ever before are working remotely, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating an already growing trend in the business world. If a significant part of your workforce is remote, organizing on-site training can be a logistical nightmare. 

    In that case, on-demand learning isn’t just a cool trend but a real necessity. 

    Finally, there’s the money question. Learning doesn’t come cheap, especially when there are instructor wages, equipment, lodging, and travel costs involved. In 2019, these costs amounted to a whopping $23.8 billion.

    With on-demand training, it’s all about the learning journey of individual learning. 

    Instead of flying a bunch of people to a hotel, giving them all the same lecture, and hoping for the best—everyone gets timely and personalized content they’re much more likely to engage with and retain. Cost-effective is the name of the game due to all the fat trimming.

    Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of on-demand training now. That’s in the next section, so keep reading.


    The four benefits of on-demand training

    So, on-demand training is the wave of the future, millennials like it, and so on. 

    But what concrete benefits are driving L&D teams across the business world to adopt this way of delivering training?

    Here are the four main ones.


    Benefit #1: Time efficiency

    One of the biggest issues with traditional training strategies, such as instructor-led training, is just how much time they take. Planning learning experiences, organizing them, and getting employees to take time away from their busy workloads is no easy feat.

    Whew, we’re tired just talking about it. 

    But, if you choose to direct your professional development efforts toward the on-demand approach, you save a lot of time. 

    You only have to create your training once and then re-use it over and over. This takes a huge weight off your back as an instructional designer and frees up time to dedicate to improving the content. 

    It saves learners time too.

    Today’s employees are very busy and have just 24 minutes each week to devote to learning. So, instead of having to schedule face-to-face meetings, you can offer a knowledge base through your Learning Management System (LMS) that’s chock-full of videos, microlearning content, product knowledge, and more. 

    Then as they need it, in real-time, your team members look up the info they need and consume it right there and then. Whether it’s your sales rep finding an answer to a particularly tough customer question or someone in production brushing up on compliance training.

    This increased time efficiency in the training translates into a more productive and efficient workforce. Learning modules no longer break an employee’s workflow. Instead, they are part of it.


    Benefit #2: Supports learner’s autonomy

    If there’s one thing you should take away from adult learning theory, it’s that adult learners like autonomy. Since your employees are adults, they will appreciate and engage with the on-demand training approach that puts them in the driving seat of the learning journey. 

    Statistics support this idea. A study has discovered that more than 50% of employees prefer self-paced learning. Also, according to the 2019 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Learning report, 74% of employees would like to be able to learn during downtime at work.

    Why not give people what they want?

    What’s best about this whole approach is that it respects everyone’s pace of learning. Some people can just read a blog post once or watch a video and get everything. Others need time to digest the material and may need to come back to it more than once. 

    Since training is always available with access at any time, a learner can go back to it as many times as they need to and whenever they need to. 


    Benefit #3: Encourages mLearning

    On-demand training and m-learning go hand in hand. Think about it. If you had to sit down at your desk every time you wanted to watch an on-demand video—well, it wouldn’t be very on-demand, would it?

    You’d still have to be at a specific place to access the learning content. 

    All your employees have smartphones, so put them to use. 

    The key to making the most out of mobile learning is to feature a lot of short, easily-digestible content. Things like short explainer videos, infographics, and animated text.

    It’s also very important that all this content is user-friendly and responsive on mobile devices (this is especially important if you’re using infographics). Make sure that you choose an LMS with robust mobile learning support. 


    Benefit #4: Flexibility

    If you think back to several decades ago, work was quite different. Most people stayed in one office, and almost nobody worked from home. 

    But now you have teams across multiple sites, people working remotely, and working in different time zones. 

    Trying to organize a Zoom call is tough enough, let alone a training session at a physical location. 

    On-demand training solves this problem because it’s an inherently asynchronous way of learning. Each learner accesses the training content they need when they need it. And since the whole thing is mobile-friendly, they can do so from anywhere—the main office, their home, or the client site. 

    It doesn’t get more flexible than this. Of course, that flexibility means saving time as well as money. It also means your organization can now onboard and train talent from all over the globe.

    You’re probably wondering how you can integrate on-demand training into your company. We got you covered in the next section.


    How to integrate on-demand training in your organization

    Setting up on-demand training in your organization will take a little bit of elbow grease, but as we’ve already seen—it’s more than worth it. 

    • Choose an LMS

    The first thing you’ll want to do is choose a good LMS to power it all. Make sure it’s one with strong mobile learning features, namely a user-friendly native mobile app

    E-learning is the backbone of on-demand training, so we wouldn’t recommend going at it without an LMS.

    • Create (or curate) learning content

    Of course, you need content to serve learners through that LMS. Before you get your L&D team to whip up some microlearning content, you will need a content plan. 

    Conducting a training needs analysis will help you pinpoint what type of training content to prioritize. Where are the knowledge gaps? What new skills do employees really need? What training content can you create to help employees reach individual, team, and business objectives?

    Once you have a plan, you can enlist trainers, subject matter experts (SMEs), and other learning stakeholders to support you in creating videos, podcasts, how-tos, and digital job aids. Or in curating training content from other external sources. 

    If you plan to make e-learning courses in-house, you may also want to invest in a content-authoring tool. This is used to build online courses with interactive exercises, simulations, and quizzes. It’s always best to opt for an authoring tool that integrates well with your LMS.

    Author’s Tip: Think of your on-demand content as building blocks that can be used as standalone nuggets or included in more comprehensive e-learning courses.

    • Get managers involved

    If you want your on-demand training strategy to succeed, you will need to get managers on board. Start by sharing your plans with management teams and outline why you’re taking this approach, what your expectations are, and how they can support you.

    You must integrate the on-demand training content with your employee development strategies. Get all the managers involved and have realistic targets for employees, like completing one full training course and several micro-courses each year. This will mean that there’ll be accountability for learning, and it’ll promote a learning culture as well.

    • Collect feedback

    Seek feedback from everyone involved. Your employees will be the ones going through all the training content, so feedback is the way to gauge how effective and engaging it all is. It’s a good way to get some ideas and inspiration for learning content too. 

    • Measure training results

    Finally, because you’re using a (hopefully) high-quality LMS, you’ll get access to a lot of actionable data about learner behavior. So, take action. Pull regular LMS reports for insights into what’s working and what needs improvement. Tweak and iterate the learning content until it’s as informative and engaging as it can be.

    Alright, we’re almost finished! Before we wrap it up, let’s briefly recap what’s most important about on-demand training.


    Now over to you

    On-demand training is an approach to online learning that’s flexible, supports learner autonomy, works great with mobile learning, and improves learning retention.

    That’s a lot of benefits, and on-demand training achieves them by giving employees just the knowledge they need at just the right time. 

    This saves time and money and is why it is quickly emerging as one of the most powerful L&D trends. 

    If you’d like to know more about what’s shaking the L&D world and how your business can benefit, take a look at our glossary.