It goes by many names: training and development, human capital development, and human resource development. No matter what you call it, learning and development (L&D) is becoming an essential component of business strategy, not just a nice-to-have.
L&D results in improvements in employee engagement, better operational efficiency, and higher overall revenue. As the skills required for the workforce change, you will need a comprehensive and flexible solution for worker education.
What Is Learning and Development?
Learning and development encompasses various educational programs that a company’s workforce uses to build job-related skills and take on new roles in the business. Developing the skill sets of individual employees results in an overall benefit for the organization.
L&D is academic learning that is general to the field and often related to the employee’s personal career goals. Participants can formally take courses or casually engage with the material by learning it from other employees.
The ADDIE Framework
When it comes to creating an L&D program for your business, the ADDIE model is ideal as a framework to guide your efforts.
- Analysis. Work with subject matter experts to determine what the training should cover, who should receive it, and what the intended consequences should be.
- Design. Think of learning objectives, course content, and delivery methods.
- Development. Begin developing the course carefully. Let the human resources department work through drafts of content to ensure they fit in with the design goals.
- Implementation. Employees begin taking the courses and studying the material. Collect statistics and data on their progress for later assessment.
- Evaluation. Use the data from before to generate an overview of the progress. Find out how successful the program is and make adjustments accordingly.
Don’t forget this last step. Organizations are continually evolving their learning and development programs; it should be a cyclical process.
L&D As the MVP of Customer Onboarding
It’s not uncommon for customers to abandon your software during the onboarding process. If you’re unable to provide the right level of support, customers may look for other providers who are better able to accommodate their needs.
Learning and development programs are a reliable tool that you can use to reduce friction during the onboarding process. You can design highly-targeted content that simplifies common pain points that your customers experience. Whether they struggle with a specific feature, setting up specific systems within your platform, or something else, an L&D system keeps you in control of these experiences and ensures that your customers are receiving the support they need.
The key to creating a successful customer training program is to maintain flexibility and agility at all times. It’s important to consider adding self-paced training or event virtual training labs (for complicated software) to ensure the content is absorbed fully by the student.
Common Pitfalls of L&D
To ensure your success, look to avoid the following common mistakes businesses make while developing L&D programs for their employees.
- Avoid using flawed KPIs and education goals, which result in a lot of education without a comparable impact on the business.
- Choose the right time to start training. Schedule topics for when the material is most relevant to the roles of the employees involved.
- Do not make the training obtrusive by forcing employees into inconvenient schedules or locations. Doing so reduces productivity and wastes work hours.
Consider integrating virtual learning solutions into your L&D to help resolve these potential problems.
How L&D Is Changing
As business changes with new technologies and practices, learning and development similarly evolves. More modern methods result in better results and more efficient operations, so always look to adopting these new advancements.
- Having relevant skills is a greater contributor to career longevity than anything else. Companies with excellent learning and development programs have more loyal and dedicated teams as a result.
- Traditional education isn’t agile enough for modern businesses. Employees use fewer skills from high school and college in the workplace and receive more knowledge from professional development programs.
- Learning is available to everyone. Knowledge was once a centralized commodity, but now anybody with an Internet connection can build skills. The business world has relished this flexibility.
- Business development is more varied now than ever before. Modern workers take on a variety of roles and must maintain different skills on the job. Training is, for this reason, highly individualized and diverse.
- Physical classrooms are taking a back seat to online learning, which has the potential to be more engaging, convenient, and effective.
This last point is worth considering. Online education often means an L&D solution that’s accessible anywhere, inexpensive to host, and supportive of multimedia elements.