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Knowledge Trends Today: How to Meet the Needs of the Evolving Workforce (Part 2)
In the last blog, we took a look at the workforce today and investing in their education and shared some interesting statistics of the world we live in today.  With this post, we turn to take a closer look at content development and
delivery methods for education. 
 
The ASTD State of the Industry 2012 Report illustrated that the top three learning content
areas are the following:
 
1) Managerial and supervisory
2) Profession-or industry-specific
3) Processes, procedures, and business specific
 
With the characteristics of the multi-generational workforce in mind, content needs to be delivered in a wide range of options to meet the needs of each audience.  Today, this can be in the form of “Learning Chains” that help address the balance of informal and formal learning.  With formal learning, the content is developed to support deliverables such as online help, self-paced or online courses, instructor-led education, certification exams, business scenarios, and case studies. 
 
Gaining momentum is informal learning such as podcasts, video casts, simulations, job aids, process flows and social media.  By combining both formal and informal learning within a learning chain approach, organizations achieve the highest levels of knowledge retention and user adoption rates.
 
Companies can adopt the learning chains approach by combining the content and delivery options for both formal and informal learning.  For those organizations with solid formal education content, the goal is to transition this content to knowledge that is more easily developed, updated, and re-used.  We all know that a significant challenge in educating others is our short attention spans – at any age and with any type of education deliverable.  Reminds me of my nieces and nephews when trying to show them how to do something on an iPad, to have them clearly uninterested after only a few minutes moving on to their iPhones to send a text message to a friend. 
 
With informal learning, we can size things right – bite size.  According to Training Magazine (2/19/13), “bite size is the right size” – this type of training results in quicker outcomes.  For example, a 90-minute session can be more effective training than full day classes.  The goal is to move to the “how to get things done” within the business content for the learner.   In fact, results have shown 30% cheaper to develop, almost twice the ROI versus traditional learning, and 17% greater transfer and improved performance.  The goal of the right fit of content development and delivery, however, is a balancing act for organizations.
 
Look forward to the next blog that addresses this balancing and how to embrace it for effective education.

Posted by Louise Keppel, Vice President Epicor University
 

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