When we think of training, the most common image we have is the classroom-based instructor-led training (ILT) that is provided in our early and formative years. Businesses more and more frequently need to support their employees to become proficient in the ever-changing suite of software business tools. They need to ensure they meet ever-rising productivity metrics, while creating a positive and supportive work environment. In the modern world, standard ILT alone is no longer enough to increase end-user adoption of software applications in a user-friendly and efficient manner. That’s where enablement comes in.
Enablement training, simply put, is a student-driven approach to learning. It empowers students to take control of their content consumption in a way that works best for them. It helps them tackle the problems with learning curves and assists in retaining more information than traditional classroom training methods alone.
Introducing enablement support into your change management and digital adoption strategies can support you to:
- Reduce support tickets by 43%
- Reduce escalated calls by 65%
- Increase user satisfaction by 13%
Another way to look at is that it is a critical shift from learning development to enablement via learning curation and personalisation.
Factors Driving This Change in Learning Approach
Learning in a VUCA world
VUCA, which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, is a term first coined in the late 1980s. In recent years it has been growing in acceptance that a key to success in modern business management is adaptability to protect against organisational failures brought on by VUCA. It’s clear that in a world where teams are changing to a more agile approach to problem solving, their training approach needs to be equally agile and adaptable.
In recent years the pace of application development, coupled with a need to innovate and adopt new processes increasingly quickly, has led to a veritable explosion of information that employees are expected to take on board. This has meant that trained and developed skills have a shorter and shorter shelf life and that continuous learning and self-improvement is a requisite feature of employment. The time required to train employees continuously in an instructor-led mode alone can severely impact productivity as more and more time is demanded to keep skills up to date and relevant.
The global economy and a global workforce have become more common in recent years. With the huge improvements in internet speeds and connectivity, staff can be hired from across the globe. This has led to challenges with co-ordinating ILT courses that bridge the potential language and time barriers to equally suit all participants.
In 2020, though, the issue of remote learning is also a consideration for small and medium enterprises. These businesses, because of COVID-19, can have their staff working at a distance for long periods of time. The benefit of this for the employees is often a more flexible approach to working and so the training approach needs to be equally flexible to match.
Why ILT Alone Might Not Be Enough
There are several key issues that ILT alone faces, particularly in the modern age:
A problem that has always been an issue for traditional training can be explained well by the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. Hermann Ebbinghaus was a German psychologist who developed a mathematical formula in 1885 that graphed the rate at which information is lost over time. It showed that without reinforcement or implementation of learning, around 50% of the information presented will have been lost within the hour and upwards of 70% in 24 hours.
What is the solution? Enablement. Namely, spaced learning and repetition, coupled with quickly putting that learning into practice to solidify the learning achieved.
Adopting a new software package comes with several factors that can make it a complex task. These include:
- Potentially confusing screen layouts and user experience
- A different approach to same tasks
- Cloud-based software with regular updates
- A large volume of features that come with modern software packages
All of these can lead to cognitive overload, where the learner cannot take in all the information presented, and so frustration develops and learning is lost.
Benefits of Adding Enablement
The right approach to training has been proven to create major improvements across key performance measures. These can include an increase in productivity, a reduction in the time to deploy software, and a reduction in employee frustration.
The enablement approach improves user adoption of new software packages, particularly cloud-based software with frequent updates. It provides a contextually relevant approach that allows learners to take on information when they need it most and quickly put it into practice. This leads to learners more easily digesting bitesize amounts of training material over time.
While this has been shown to lead to more empowered and proactive staff, actively seeking out learning as a solution also has other proven factors of success. Including:
- Reduced internal help desk ticket calls
- Faster and better software adoption rates
- Much faster solution deployment
- Less downtime for learning as it’s done during productivity
- Adaptive learning; more effective learning content reuse as bitesize content can be combined differently for different roles throughout the organization
- Improved learner engagement as it engages a more mobile and self-directed approach
- Better employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity
So, with all the benefits laid out, is this the end of ILT as we know it? No, of course it still has its place. ILT allows for much easier and more timely networking between students. It also provides an opportunity for immediate feedback from instructors, who can then change their approach to presenting there and then.
That said, the massive benefits of enablement in the modern world are clear. It can empower staff to consume bitesize amounts of contextually relevant content in a time and manner that suits them. It can also assist in quickly tailoring content to different roles and media within the same organisation. Finally, it helps avoid cognitive overload and assists learners in retaining more information through repetition and reinforcement.
All of these factors mean that in the modern, VUCA, world of continuous learning, for a mobile and distanced workforce, enablement is an approach very much worth considering.
- Image by JESHOOTS.COM, licensed by Unsplash