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November 03, 2016 Posted by: Levi Phillips Keywords:
L&D professionals around the globe are hungry to create a learner-centric strategy that puts staff at the heart of their activity. Towards Maturity reveals what millennials can teach people professionals about supporting learning in the workplace.
A ground-breaking report, exploring how staff learn what they need to do their job, reveals that learners like to be in control of what they learn and when and are motivated to learn in order to do their jobs better and faster. Furthermore, there is little difference with age.
Towards Maturity’s report, The Learner Voice: Part 3, looks at data from over 4,700 employees across all ages about how they liked to learn at work. Whilst many expect millennials joining the workforce to have different expectations from their peers, the study found that their responses reflected those of the wider workforce rather than breaking away from them.
The findings suggest that there is much in common in terms of how people of different ages want to learn and what motivates them to learn. All age groups are motivated to learn in order to do their job better. Although there are some slight differences between the ages, all employees also want their manager’s encouragement and support to learn.
Laura Overton, Towards Maturity founder and CEO, comments, “Much is made of generational differences in learning, but our research challenges this. Millennial needs are the needs of all generations. The bigger differences in learning approaches are more likely to appear across roles or time in role. Understanding how staff learn in these contexts helps to completely redefine our approach to leadership training, sales training and onboarding.”
Contrary to popular opinion, the report shows that younger staff need more encouragement in using online learning, with 60% keen to be recognised for completing online learning and 38% saying line manager support influences their involvement.
Employees of all ages learn best in social settings. Collaboration with team members is the most useful way of learning at work (86%) followed by general conversation and meetings (82%) and support from a coach or mentor (58%).
Accessing support in the workplace is also important, with 78% rating manager support as essential or very useful and 70% rating Google. In terms of formal learning provided by organisations, 57% of employees find classroom courses useful, followed by self-paced e-learning (47%) and live online courses (39%). Flying in the face of generational stereotypes, only one in four under 30s believe that games and simulations are very useful for learning.
The research shows that employees like to be in charge of how they learn, with 91% wanting to learn at their own pace and 82% knowing what they need to learn in order to do their job. They also like to share what they know – 80% are willing to share what they know with peers.
This evidence flies in the face of L&D perceptions of how employees learn. More than half of L&D professionals in the 2016 Towards Maturity Learning Benchmark (62%) believe their staff lack the skills needed to manage their own learning.
The Learner Voice series aims to help L&D leaders challenge assumptions about workplace learning, whilst identifying new opportunities to connect with and engage their staff.
Laura Overton adds, “This is the most comprehensive research available into how employees learn at work. The message is clear: L&D teams must adapt to the needs of colleagues rather than force them to do what L&D wants them to do. It is alarming that two-thirds of learning professionals believe staff can’t manage their own learning. This research shows, unfortunately, how out of touch some L&D teams are.”
In a wake-up call to learning professionals, employees say that uninspiring learning content is the number one barrier to online learning (35%), followed by a lack somewhere appropriate to study (34%), poor IT access (33%) and not being able to find what they need (26%).
Whilst 78% of employees say support from managers is essential for learning what they need to know, only 26% of L&D teams help line managers support their team with learning.
To download the report in full, visit: www.towardsmaturity.org/learnervoice3