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Staff Prefer to Learn Under their own Steam


Self-directed learning is the preferred route by the majority of employees, a new study suggests.

The study of 5,360 employees and senior HR thought-leaders looked at how how staff preferred to learn and compared that with the training available to them.

The top five learner preferences were:
1. Being able to get at information as and when I need it.
2. Being in charge of my own learning pace.
3. Attending classroom courses.
4. Learning in bite-sized pieces.
5. Learning at my desktop.

In all the organisations there were a variety of programmes and plans in place to ensure that these employee requirements were being met. These included: providing online training that can be done in bite-size pieces; enabling access of learning resources at home; increasing the availability of online books and referenceware; providing more support for just-in-time training; offering blended solutions that allow employees to pick and mix; and giving access to specific facilities in the workplace that can be used before or after working hours.

However, Skillsoft said that all of these opportunities were rendered ineffective if learners are not given the opportunity to take advantage of them and highlighted the role of the manager. The study found that in some organisations, managers were responsible for defining the training requirements of their teams; in others they were encouraged to promote a learning culture; and in many cases, they were responsible for measuring the effectiveness of any training taking place.

Commenting on the findings, Charles Jennings, Global Head of Learning at Reuters said that managerial support was critical to effective organisational learning. "I fundamentally believe that you cannot build a high performing company without managers understanding their responsibility in helping employees learn and build their capabilities. And they not only need to understand it, but they need to have the tools and the skills to be able to do it."

Kevin Young, Managing Director of SkillSoft, EMEA added: "Giving managers this responsibility is something that most of the HR professionals we interviewed had very definite views on. There was a consensus of opinion that involving managers in training decisions is beneficial for all concerned.

"However, arguably the most gratifying finding from the research, cited by both employees and employers alike, is the acknowledgement that training is critical to the corporate capability of an organisation. There is widespread belief that having a corporate learning culture is one of the best ways an organisation can grow and thrive."

The benchmark study, entitled 'The Future of Learning' is available to download at


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