As it appeared in the Daily Nation on July 21st 2020
Dr Lucy Kiruthu
There is no end to learning. We need to equip ourselves with relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes on an ongoing basis. In the corporate world, staff are supported to learn. This is done by offering them both on the job and off the job training and coaching. By being open to learning individuals, teams and businesses create and utilize new knowledge and modify their behaviour. Learning is strategically important in all kinds of businesses. Many large businesses are intentional about learning because they know that it makes a major difference. Such businesses have an arm that focuses specifically on staff learning and development. In such businesses, learning is fully embedded in the organizational culture. Many smaller businesses however are not as focused on learning. Most conduct training on an ad hoc basis.
It is obvious that staff need to be fully equipped to carry out their responsibilities effectively. The corporate training space has evolved over the years. Today, an entire sector exists to support the training needs of businesses. Looking back a decade ago, corporate training was different from what it is today. For example, eLearning programs were a hard sale. I recall having to facilitate an eLearning program that had to be customized to fit into classroom training specifically for the Kenyan market. It was purported that in-person training is more effective than online training. This assertion has since been proven as not factual. The online learning space has grown tremendously. Further, with the need for physical distancing, the COVID-19 crisis has completely revolutionized how training and learning happens. Within a few months, classroom training has almost become outdated. We have become unconventional in how we learn by embracing new ways of learning.
I believe that the future of corporate training is going to be online. There are different types of online training programs available. We have web-based, mobile, webinars, virtual Classrooms and video-based training programs. The training can be either real-time or on-demand offering staff directed self-paced learning capability. Businesses will soon be spoilt for choice in online learning offerings. Even though online learning has a higher need for self-discipline and self-direction, it remains the better option today. Besides, online training is a more cost-effective way of learning especially because travel and accommodation expenses, allowances as well as facilities costs are not involved. Smart businesses should consider making a variety of online training available to their staff. The big question is, are the staff always ready and willing to learn online?
We learn every day, both intentionally and accidentally. To develop ourselves as individuals, we need to learn how to learn more effectively and be intentional about it. This is only possible when we are clear about our developmental goals, have identified skill gaps that can be filled through learning and are open to learning. As businesses, we need to appreciate that supporting our staff to learn will enable organizational change to happen much faster. For example, to improve our teams’ ability to sell, we need to build their knowledge, skills and attitudes in selling. Online training seems the way to go. Businesses therefore need to fully embrace, equip their staff and stay ahead. The beauty of online training is that it is available anywhere, anytime. Do not be left behind!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy