Learning & Development

Are Workers in Control of Their Own Training? Should They Be?

With the gaining popularity of self-service learning, learning tools driven by artificial intelligence (AI), mobile learning, and learning as a service (LaaS), many learning and development (L&D) professionals are probably starting to wonder whether workers should be in control of their own training or if they already are in control of their own training. The answer to this is not necessarily, and here’s more information about why.

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Technology Still Requires Human Intelligence

While AI-driven technologies and mobile platforms help more employees learn at rapid rates on more personalized levels, these technologies still need to be programmed, implemented, and monitored by humans who specialize in L&D. Otherwise, they will not prove very effective for learners or organizations.
Moreover, if L&D initiatives are to remain effective, professionals still need to ensure their learners are accessing and receiving recommendations for courses and learning content that are relevant to their current roles or future career paths.
So, although employees get to decide which courses and programs they access on their mobile devices and via cloud services, L&D professionals should still have a strong influence on those courses or programs in the first place.

Blended Learning Opportunities Are Still Important

Research continues to indicate that blended learning is still on the rise in the modern-day workplace because it yields better returns on investment, is more effective for learners, and is easier to track.
Learners often prefer blended learning options that have in-person training sessions or live virtual learning experiences, but such opportunities can’t be developed, coordinated, and implemented by employee learners on their own; L&D professionals must develop and implement these learning opportunities for the employees.

Employees Still Want Mentors and Feedback

Studies indicate that employees want workplace mentors and coaches, as well as more feedback. L&D professionals are necessary in developing and initiating such effective mentorship programs and leadership programs and initiatives that help collect, monitor, and distribute valuable feedback to employees.
While AI-driven platforms, for example, can provide employees with objective assessment results (i.e., a grade on a quiz), mentors, managers, and leaders can offer more detailed and personalized feedback to employees regarding their individual performance and goals as it relates to their everyday work tasks and future career paths.

L&D and Training Initiatives Still Need to Coincide with Business Goals

An organization’s L&D and training initiatives must coincide with overarching business goals if they are to remain effective and continually yield high returns on investment. For example, sales training programs and initiatives must lead to more sales and higher revenues, and training programs for employees being onboarded should lead to higher retention rates. However, employee learners won’t be able to monitor and manage this, making it a job for L&D professionals.
So, while employees may select and manage their own learning content most of the time, the content itself must be managed and monitored by L&D teams to ensure it continues to coincide with an organization’s overall business goals and objectives.
Overall, while employees have a lot more control over their L&D and training due to advanced technologies and innovations, L&D professionals are still necessary to ensure that training initiatives are effective, relevant, and able to be implemented. So, workers aren’t entirely in control of their own L&D and training—nor should they be.