| Using online learning to unlock untapped potential at work

Using online learning to unlock untapped potential at work

Louise Reilly

Louise Reilly

Learning & Development Specialist

Online learning has long been prophesied to be the future of professional learning – and for good reason. The flexibility and accessibility of digital learning gives organisations much-needed flexibility within their training and apprenticeship initiatives, as well as giving individuals unparalleled control over their career development.

This is vital in a world where our workweeks tend to be hectic; fitting classroom-based qualifications into busy working and personal lives is becoming an ever-more-remote possibility. Reflecting this, the 2019 Towards Maturity Report found that 94% of people prefer to learn at their own pace to give them increased flexibility around their workload.

Flexible online learning is the solution to these constraints. It allows anyone to benefit from the advantages of professional education without the disadvantages of rigid timetables, inconvenient locations, and time away from work – ultimately helping learners, organisations, and apprenticeship-levy-paying employers achieve maximum return on their investment with minimal disruption to their schedules.

Develop Your Career
In the busy modern world, many of us simply don’t have the time to study in traditional learning environments. The increase of the unpredictable 9am to 5pm, 6pm or even later means that learning must be as flexible as our schedules.

Online learning holds the answer. Instead of having to decide between attending a class and working late to meet a deadline (or caring for kids, or any of the other myriad demands on our time), you can study at a time that suits you. There are fewer barriers to success, as you can access the information you need from your mobile, laptop or tablet, letting you take advantage of extra study time on your commute or lunchbreak.

A huge range of prestigious professional qualifications can be studied online, including CIPD; these career-transforming courses have the power to take you to the next level no matter what stage of your career you’re at. Plus, many students find that they can implement their new knowledge at work right away, keeping them motivated to learn and progress.

Transform Your Teams
Developing a learning culture should be a key mission of any ambitious L&D department. It’s integral to building high-performing teams - teams who champion innovation, critical thinking, and evidence-based best practice, and who have the high-level skills and knowledge needed to achieve outstanding results. It also makes it easier to retain your top talent: LinkedIn’s Workplace Education Report found that 94% of employees would remain with a company that invests in their career.

Online learning allows organisations to embed learning into everyday life. Employees canstudy from their office, shaping learningaround their regular tasks, or learn fromhome in their free time. This eliminates theneed for costly travel expenses andinconvenient time away from the office.

Developing talent in-house also allows senior members of staff to take a hand in the educational journey, supporting learners in developing the skills that are most relevant for their role and giving vital point-of-need advice.

Digital learning is also an invaluable tool for global organisations. Teams anywhere in the world can achieve internationally accredited qualifications with the same learning materials and support, ensuring an aligned approach and consistent best practice across diverse locations.

Invest Your Apprenticeship Levy
Since 2017, employers with an annual salary bill above £3 million have been required to pay 0.5% of their total wage bill into their apprenticeship levy account. These ring-fenced funds can only be used for apprenticeship training at either the levy-paying organisation or a business in their supply chain.

As of 2019, 80% of levy-paying employers are still to use their levy, with unused funds expiring at a rate of £120 million per month. These employers are missing out on huge potential benefits. The average apprentice generates a positive net gain of £1,670 per year for their organisation, rising to £13,824 per year for management apprentices. Long-term apprentices also deliver productivity gains worth roughly £10,000 per year.

One of the biggest challenges holding employers back from using their levy fund is fitting the 20% required off-the-job training time into a busy workweek. Coordinating apprentices to attend college one day a week is impossible for many businesses, and a headache for many others.

Online learning solves this problem, as apprentices can learn online from their office and fit learning around their everyday tasks. This is a huge improvement in flexibility for both the apprentice and the organisation, making it much easier for businesses to take advantage of the £3 billion levy pot - and ultimately build the learning culture they need to succeed.



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