Learning Insights 2019 #1:
Learning focused on Micro, Personal, and Networks

Kineo reveals the global workforce is clamouring for more engaging, effective learning programmes

Learning Insights 2019 #1:
The phenomenon of
Micro-Personal-Networking

Our latest research has uncovered a new theme being called for by employees all over the world. To an extent, this consolidates a few trends that have been bubbling away in isolation over the past few years.

Employees and L&D leaders identified a need for more Micro, Personal and Network approaches to govern learning programmes in order to realise success in the workplace today.

In summary, the data showed learning should:

1) satisfy a clear need that is met on consumption. There should be a short-term impact, and the learning itself should be focused. One of the most effective tools to achieve this is by taking a micro approach.

2) enable people to access and engage with it in a way that works for them. Part of this is allowing them to tailor the who, what, when, where and how. This does not need to be as laborious as it sounds; rather, it means making training channels and designs flexible, and curating content so that learners can dip in and out depending on their personal skills and capabilities and to suit their individual requirements and goals.

3) keep people engaged and help them understand the wider purpose of what they are doing. They must understand its relevance in relation to how they work with their teams, the wider organisation and, indeed, its value to their industry. Networks are an incredibly powerful tool, whether they are virtual and provide a digital outlet for ideas sharing or it’s face-to-face contact with mentors or co-workers. Networking ensures the learning of one individual has a wider impact, and also provides a trusted support base to help people determine the direction their learning should head next

Read on to find out more about the 8,000-strong data set and insights from major brands across the world that will inform this year’s new-look Learning Insights.

Introduction: a fresh look at Learning Insights for 2019

This year at Kineo, specialist digital learning arm of City & Guilds Group, we’ve stayed true to our name (i.e. ‘the people who stir things up’) and taken a bit of a different approach to Learning Insights.

We decided to do our biggest piece of research ever, surveying as many as 8,000 people across 13 different markets to help us understand in the clearest way possible what it is that drives learning for individuals, organisations and economies today.

Our global footprint is vast and ever-growing, and we thought it was right that we deliver independent insight to anyone preoccupied with the same questions that drive us, so together we can find the magic that will create an effective culture of learning.

This year, instead of doing one single, expansive report, we’ll be launching the research in sections and we’re going digital-only.

What you can expect is:

  • Three Learning Insights data reports, released between June 2019 and the end of the year, each with a distinct focus
  • Content that is open to all and easy to share
  • Additional Learning Insights Guides that provide deeper dives into the data, recommendations, and access to exclusive events and reports
  • Best practice from major organisations across APAC, EMEA, and the US
  • Insights from our partners and friends in the sector

When thinking about what markets to include in the research, we wanted to get a good cross-section of countries.

Whilst our clients are global, we have offices across the UK, France, Sweden, South Africa, UAE, India, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Argentina, which gave us a good place to start. We wanted to look at markets where we’ve seen some really interesting activity recently, so added Kenya and South Korea in to the mix. Together, the data gives us some incredible insights into the remarkable similarities – and considerable differences – not only in terms of the employee/employer perspectives, but between countries, sectors, ages, and organisational sizes.

Ultimately, we need to get comfortable with the fact that we are increasingly connected with people, organisations and markets all over the world. And the most important thing is that we learn from each other, both best practice and mistakes. It is through skills, learning, and training that we will create an environment where we are truly able to make the most of the opportunity globalisation presents. Finding those opportunities is something we are passionate about, and we hope the insights in this report will show how very alike we are when it comes to developing ourselves, being part of the world of work, and wider society.

Dermalogica: to get personal you’ve got to get relevant

A perspective from Candice Gardner, Education Curriculum Manager

When you are trying to bring education to a large audience there will be a need to carefully manage the conflict that exists between reach and making an experience personal. Personalisation is at the core of our brand and we believe that our education and training should equally feel like it is meant just for you. This is definitely not the easiest thing to do, but we strive for it at all times.

The start point for us is trying to identify our different audiences - who am I talking to and what is most important to them? Then we can develop how the information or skill becomes relevant and how we can share that effectively? We’ve learned that a huge part of getting this right centres on also understanding people’s expectations of a training session. To help us drive personalisation and relevance, we’ve been doing focus groups and really challenging our teams to critique the way training sessions and objectives are described or positioned; if people have a clear idea about what will be covered and what the outcome will be – even better if it’s the impact it will have in their day to day – training is invariably considered more effective, and therefore worthwhile.

There are a few things we’re focusing on to make training feel personal, like actively making closer connections between the programmes we offer and what they mean for the individual, and developing more on-demand training that people can do anytime, anywhere.

Learning or requiring training on something can happen spontaneously in a moment of need. This opens opportunities for bite-sized chunks of education and resources that can be accessed on-demand. We constantly think about what can help people find the answers they need at the key moment. Information could solve an immediate issue or challenge, or have relevance to longer-term career choices. Personalisation is not just about content it is also about making learning accessible so people can consume it in a way that works for them – whether that’s in the middle of the night, during daylight hours, or on their commute. The last thing learning should be is restrictive! So as well as being able to access it easily, we should be able to dip in and out, and not necessarily need to set aside hours to achieve anything (Completely unrealistic when, according to recent research, the average person has 9 minutes to learn a week). Small chunks can build into bigger learnings.

As technology evolves, we’ve also had to look for more creative and innovative ways to develop blended learning solutions. Of course, there are so many digital tools we can make use of but retaining those aspects of training that are so crucial to the health and skin care industry – i.e. tangible, sensory experiences - is critical for the success of our L&D, as is fostering the sense of community and shared purpose that is at the heart of Dermalogica.

By prioritising the individual needs of learners, we could easily lose the feeling of ‘tribe’ that we’ve always tried to cultivate at Dermalogica; that sense that we’re all part of something bigger – the belief that shared experience can be supportive whilst driving industry progression and change, along with growth. That’s why networks are so important to us and building personal human connection. We work hard to foster this community in person and during virtual sessions as it helps individuals understand the wider industry relevance and value of engaging in one training programme or another, and also provides a learning opportunity in itself through these shared experiences.

Exploring the data: What do employees think about learning at work, and what does it mean to L&D?

The pressure is on employers to create and retain an inspired and skilled workforce whilst at the same time, the goalposts keep moving. The working landscape is changing so rapidly at the moment that it is hard to predict what skills employees will need even in the near future, let alone further ahead. Technological advances both in the L&D sector and in other areas of our lives have also massively changed the way that we access information and learn new things - we are now used to finding what we want whenever we need it. So are today’s employers keeping up with development expectations and delivering what their workforce needs?

Some core pieces of the puzzle are in place

There’s a lot of good news – employees are generally positive about their working environments with 83% saying that they felt fairly well-equipped to do their current roles. Despite this, 79% of employees would like to see a bigger focus on training and people development in their organisation. At the same time, 91% of employers are telling us that they have the budget in place to do this. On the face of it, this paints a very rosy picture with employers and employees in sync when it comes to training and personal development.

Making it personal:

If we dig a little deeper into the findings, we are hearing from employees that actually they may be equipped to do their roles but they are still not getting what they want from their employers – 59% of employees said that the current training content they receive is not always exciting or engaging.

Therefore, it is of little surprise that when asked what they wanted from their learning, better quality (36%) and more engaging content (34%) were high on employees’ wish lists. And at the most popular request was for personalised learning (38%).

The search for micro-learning:

It wasn’t just the content itself that was seen as an issue for training uptake – the largest barrier to learning in the workplace was accessing it in the first place.

A staggering 85% employees say they currently have trouble accessing L&D activity in their workplace. Multiple reasons were given for this including workforce restructures but the most common reason cited was a lack of time (24%).

This lack of time and access to employer-provided learning has led to employees everywhere seeking greater self-direction over their L&D experience; 71% would prefer to choose when and where they undertake training and 68% agree they would pick up skills faster if they had more direct control over the pace of workplace learning.

Kineo's head of learning design James Cory-Wright remarked that finding a balance between employer provision and employee preference may be where curated learning can come to the fore:

“When people can’t find the time to do the learning provided by their employer, they are more inclined to find sources of training that suit their needs by fulfilling a specific goal. It’s great that people are motivated, but the issue for L&D is the lack of control that you have over what people do – if you are assigning courses to people you have visibility of what they are doing and achievement. By using curated learning – sifting through content and identifying the most valuable information for a certain task – will enable organisations to continue playing a role in the learning staff are doing, whilst still giving learners the control and focus they need to get the skills they need, when they want them.”
James Cory-Wright, Head of Learning Design, Kineo

Keeping it relevant with networks:

With just 16% of employees saying that training provided by their employers in the last 12 months was very effective, the need to develop skills is infiltrating the routines and networks of employees outside of the workplace, with 66% of the global workforce investing their own time in learning, education or training activity and 59% seeking online advice, guidance or finding their own digital learning solutions.

The findings also made it clear that matching up the way employees want to learn with what is possible in the workplace is critical if employers are to influence how and what people learn. As well as greater personalisation and engaging, content that is easy to access, employees are seeking blended learning approaches, with on-the-job training (27%), external events (25%) and expert coaching (25%) requested going forward.

James Ballard, Global Propositions Manger for Kineo, says networks are a vital piece of the jigsaw, playing an invaluable role in identifying, creating and maintaining effective blended learning opportunities across the workforce.

“Fundamentally, the concept of learning has never changed and won’t - it has always been a social experience as you tend to learn things from someone else, whether that is face-to-face, someone captured in a video or talking to others about how we do our jobs. This in turn helps people see the merit of learning programmes and put their value into context”

James Ballard
Value Propositions Manager
City & Guilds Group

Remarks from John Yates, Group Director Kineo, City & Guilds Group

There has been a phenomenal amount of change since Kineo was born in 2005. That’s in every sense from how we’ve grown as a business, or in the dynamic world of learning technologies, or the influence of major shifts in society like globalisation, automation, and digitisation.

The pace and level of change is transforming the way we work, and so individuals, organisations and economies are evolving too. But while there are trends, movements, even natural phenomena that are common to us all, the way we deal with change is different for every person, business and society.

That was something we wanted to capture in this edition of Learning Insights. It’s easy to talk to a few trusted friends, customers, or colleagues, and to think that - by and large - you have a good sense of what’s going on in the world. And while that might be the case for your own immediate reality, there is no way it will adequately or accurately paint a picture of what’s happening elsewhere – let alone everywhere.

Now, having analysed the findings of over 8,000 learners and business leaders worldwide, we know that there are no two people who like to learn in exactly the same way. There are no two people striving for exactly the same goals, at the exact same time. Yet although the data shows the differences between us, there are also some very clear themes that are true no matter what sector you work in, what country you live in, or how long you’ve been working. And for this data-led edition of Learning Insights – the first of a few we’ll be putting out in 2019 – we’re honing in on the similarities, and those methods which are most sought after the world over.

Over the past year or so, we’ve noticed something akin to ‘consolidation’ when it comes to learning in the workplace. This is particularly the case with digital learning and tech-enabled training programmes. With so many great platforms, tools, and content to deliver subject-matter-expertise in any number of skills, there is no lack of material. For now, the focus is – as it should be – on how you configure and contextualise the elements available so that they produce the most effective learning experience and benefits from this learning as possible.

Learning experience has become somewhat of a buzz-phrase, but like all good sayings it’s becoming popular because it reveals something important; having an effective experience, such that you can then apply this learning for the benefit of the individual, their organisation, or society it really is the most important part of anypoint when it comes to training and skills development. And the type of learning experience employees globally revealed they wanted? A micro-learning experience. A personalised experience. And they want to tap into their networks while doing it.

The evidence clearly points to a need for keeping things short, sharp, focused and impactful. It makes sense for the changing world of work– no matter who, where, or how you are – learning has to be accessible and valuable to you. It also needs to have relevance and be something you can communicate and engage in with those around you: it’s got to have context.

I hope you find the data and insights outlined in this feature useful. Do get in touch if you want to discuss the findings, additional insights, or examples of solutions in this hectic but gripping world that we live and work in.

In summary

It is exciting times for L&D - the nature of learning and development is evolving rapidly; employees across the world are crying out for a new kind of micro-personal-network, learning that is not only engaging and easy to access but personalised to their needs. They want to be able to train on their own terms – in their time - to improve their skills in a way that is self-evident and measurable.