Digital Learning Content
August 2, 2022

Responding to the Urgent Need for Digital Learning Content

The on-premises workplace became the virtual workplace, and now employers are trying to respond to workers’ demands for greater flexibility through hybrid (sometimes in-person, sometimes remote) arrangements. In this tumult, the C-suite and line-of-business (LOB) managers have leaned more on L&D, not only to ensure that workers develop the right skills to do their jobs, but also to create cultural adhesion among dispersed functional groups.

Responding to the urgent Need for Digital Learning Content
When the pandemic hit, people responsible for learning and development (L&D) were able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, like Superman, to move their live programs online. Over two years later, the pressures have not let up, although the challenges are different.

The on-premises workplace became the virtual workplace, and now employers are trying to respond to workers’ demands for greater flexibility through hybrid (sometimes in-person, sometimes remote) arrangements. In this tumult, the C-suite and line-of-business (LOB) managers have leaned more on L&D, not only to ensure that workers develop the right skills to do their jobs, but also to create cultural adhesion among dispersed functional groups.

After two years of heroic effort, L&D pros are tired and somewhat disappointed. More than half (53%) of 800+ L&D teams responding to a survey by The Ken Blanchard Companies reported that “their virtual and digital offerings are less effective than face-to-face versions—which is 2% higher than in 2020—and 59% of respondents said their training needs to be more engaging.”

This raises an important question: Is moving an organization’s existing in-person learning online the best way to teach and engage participants, even if those programs had previously been effective? Would those organizations have better outcomes if they used courses and resources designed from the start to be delivered digitally?

A bigger question is whether organizations will have enough high-quality digital content to keep up with learning needs while technology is advancing at lightning speed, regulations and best practices are shifting all the time, and managers’ training and development needs keep changing in response to the growth in remote and hybrid working arrangements.

There is an abundance of content on the web, from Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) to seminars and presentations put together by a single subject matter expert, that can fill those needs, and many organizations are turning to the web to curate content they can use for internal L&D. Curation is the process of sorting through a large number of existing resources–whether artwork in a museum or content online–and selecting a subset that works for a given purpose.

Choosing your approach 

L&D pros can curate their own digital learning content to create a library. You start by gathering resources—courses, ebooks, podcasts, videos, presentations—through internet search. There are probably millions of options, especially for global organizations that need content in multiple languages. L&D teams could, and probably should, ask LOB experts to find and vet digital courses and recommend them.

Then, all these resources must be organized by topic, format, cost, level (beginner to expert), and, if available, ratings by previous learners.

Keep in mind that learners will inevitably abandon resources that are tedious, poor quality, irrelevant, and out-of-date, but how do L&D teams find out easily which ones to cull and how do they find newer and better content to replace them with? In short, building and maintaining an e-learning library is complex, time-consuming, and never-ending.

Working with a company that has already done the curation is your second option. While the do-it-yourself method may seem “cheaper,” it doesn’t take into account that doing curation well is a gargantuan task that L&D teams have neither the time nor expertise to implement.

Developing the technology for aggregating, sorting, refreshing, and delivering the resources to your learners adds another layer of complexity. If you want this library to be integrated with your LMS/LXP platform, who is going to do that and how much will it cost?

Some companies aggregate learning content, but how do you decide among them? Here are eight questions to ask:

1)     How many resources are available?

2)     How has the content been vetted for quality? What are the qualifications of the people reviewing the content—or is the aggregation done by artificial intelligence only?

3)     How many forms of content are available? Learners have their preferred ways of accessing content and forcing them all to use only one or two will reduce adoption and engagement.

4)     In how many languages is content available?

5)     How often is new content added?

6)     Is the interface easy for learners to use? Can they find what they want quickly? How do they get help? What can they track for themselves?

7)     What tools are available for administrators and what kind of customer service is available?

8)     How easy is it to connect the catalog with existing learning systems? Does the content provider have existing integrations with leading LMS platforms?

Our solution

We have a catalog of more than 40,000 resources, organized into 300+ topics, including diversity & inclusion, artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, change management, digital strategy, commercial negotiating, remote management, big data, project management, customer loyalty, coaching & mentoring, and teamwork. We also include content to help learners develop “soft skills,” such as work-life balance, self-care, mindfulness, health & fitness, and communication. Clients can also build custom categories for their organizations.

We provide multiple formats, including podcasts, slide presentations, popular lecture series including articles, ebooks and videos, as well as online courses. Resources are available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.

An important distinction for Edflex is that we rely on educational experts to sort through the vast content possibilities to identify high-quality content that fulfills educational objectives. Our experts are constantly aggregating and reviewing new content, too, so that the Edflex catalog is always in tune with the latest best practices, technologies, and trends.

We also pride ourselves on the personal services we offer to learners and L&D professionals. Learners can get real-time help and guidance from education experts through Live Chat or email, and each administrator is matched with a customer representative.

Learners have dashboards where they can track and monitor their progress. In addition, the Edflex platform offers personalized content suggestions to meet the needs of each individual.

Through their own dashboards, administrators can review activity level and engagement, customize access rights for managers and teams, and follow learning trends in their organizations to ensure topics and formats appeal to their learning community.

With the optional Edcard payment management system, administrators can budget for each learner and monitor payments within the interface.

Our LMS/LXP integration partners include 360learning, RiseUp, Lucca, Sitel, Syfadis, PersolKelly consulting, Persol, Xperteam, Edtake/Edufactory and Julieth Sterwen, and the number is growing. We also offer the Connector, which integrates Edflex with internal systems.

One thing is certain: Demand for elearning content will continue to grow.

In addition to traditional training needs, organizations must respond to workers who are actively seeking out courses and skills development for themselves online. While companies could leave their employees alone to pursue educational resources—as many do—they are missing the opportunity to turn online education into a benefit that will help with employee recruitment and retention.

And a much bigger challenge is on the horizon. According to the World Economic Forum, automation will displace 85 million jobs worldwide within the next five years, but technology will create 97 million new—and different—jobs. 

Upskilling and reskilling these millions will be the mission of L&D for a decade or more. Now is the time to get ready.

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