The Empowered Learner

Hyperconnected & self-directed

Key Takeaway

Technology has put instant knowledge and know-how in the hands of the learner, which has changed everything for L&D.

Modern online learning habits

Research shows us that employees are accessing the learning they need differently from how they did just a few years ago. Most are now looking for what they need away from their organisation’s Learning & Development channels. For example, it’s recognised that more than 70% of employees will now use web searches to learn what they need for their jobs and are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to find just-in-time, immediate answers to their unexpected problems.


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The way people are interacting with their mobile devices provides further insight into modern habits.

smartphone91% of smartphone users will turn to their devices for ideas while completing a task

YoutubeSearches related to “how to” on YouTube are growing 70% each year

online SearchMore than 70% of employees use search engines to learn what they need for their jobs; will unlock their smartphones 9 times an hour; and watch videos for no longer than 4 minutes

Employees are learning from more varied sources

Research is showing that employees are developing ‘continuous learning’ habits whilst drawing from various sources to do so. Furthermore, the involvement of the organisation and L&D is a small proportion of this continuous process as people explore and discover new trusted sources.

Employees spend up to 5x more time learning from their own sources

Workers invest more than 14 hours a month, on average, learning on their own, but just two to three hours on employer-provided training.

Employees rely disproportionately on self-direction vs company L&D

23% of workers say they completed a course of any kind in the last 2 years, whereas more than 70% learned something for their job from an article, video or book in the last 24 hours.

Company training is the lowest rated way to learn

The relationship between L&D and today’s Empowered Learners has changed, with direct access to experts, knowledge and learning freely available online. This was seen starkly in a recent survey to rate the importance (value/usefulness) of 10 different ways of learning in the workplace.

It was revealed that ‘web-searching for resources’ came second only to ‘knowledge sharing within the team’. ‘Company training/E-learning’ was rated least important – and ranked 10 out of a possible 10.

The-Empowered-Learner-WhitePaper This article is an excerpt from my White Paper, The Empowered Learner, published on 17 September 2015, which examines today’s Empowered Learner, the modern learning environment and what this all means for the modern L&D function. Download the White Paper.

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