On-Demand is one of those terms that you see more and more these days. Most television series that you watch give you the opportunity to watch on-demand. YouTube has created an industry of On-Demand video access. In this blog, we will discuss on-demand learning.
My personal On-Demand experience
I was ready to purchase two larger stand alone monitors. Just using my laptop screen was no longer working for me. My research on what to buy consisted of product reviews and short concise videos. If I needed more technically information, that was only a click away.
When the monitors arrived, there was a build and connect diagram, which I am not good with. So again, I went online and found a short informative video which walked me through the setup. Within an hour, I was back to work with my two new monitors.
This is a personal example of the benefits of ‘on-demand.’ It cost me nothing for the reviews, I did not waste an inordinate amount of time, and I could do it all on my time. I recognize and will talk about different learning styles, but ‘On Demand’ training, specifically visual training (such as training videos… or “show and tell” as I sometimes call them), has been important to me over the years.
Learning in the Flow of Work
Josh Bersin is the president and founder of Bersin & Associates, a leading industry research and advisory firm in enterprise learning and talent management. In a Blog entitled, ‘A New Paradigm For Corporate Training: Learning In The Flow of Work’ Josh Bersin said ‘We don’t want people to be “addicted” to the learning platform, we want them to learn something, apply it, and then go back to work.’
Much like my example above, when all I needed was the ability to access the answer, when you are in the “flow of work” (busy on something), all you need is a quick and easy approach to get the answer and continue working. How often have you been working on something and got to a point where you say, how do I do that? Then spent an hour or two trying to find out.
On-Demand training is also often referred to as ‘Just In Time’ (JIT) training. For some time, corporations have used the on-demand concept to train their employees. As with every other technology, it continues to develop and improve. In addition, people have become more accustomed to receiving content on-demand.
Benefits of on-demand learning
Seymour Papert, an MIT Mathematician and Educator, puts it very well. In an article titled “The Art of Online Teaching” he says, “You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.” This statement should be the driving force behind creating on-demand learning modules.
I have identified below some benefits to think about when considering on-demand training.
Learn when it is convenient for you. Often training courses you wish to attend fall at the wrong time of the day / week / month / year. With on-demand learning, YOU decide the timing… and how much content you wish to learn at one session. One benefit is that if employees choose their own training time, it is ordinarily a time that allows them to focus on that training session. You should implement a training platform that allows employees to measure progress and stop and restart a session as often as needed. This model means training never gets ‘in the way of work’ instead it ‘fits in with work’.
There are many options out there, so how do you know one is better than the other? One suggestion is to go to the source. I have often found that the company i purchased a product from will provide the best quality training. They are putting their name and reputation behind it and will use knowledge experts to provide the training.
You need only train on the specific subject matter you require. How often have you attended ‘4-hour training sessions’, when really 15 minutes would have done?
You want to know that the information you provide is up to date. Products continuously evolve and change, so be sure you understand what the training sessions cover. Another benefit of using the company to provide you with content is that they will adapt the sessions as they change a product.
Focused on-demand training modules allow you to filter content for a type of employee or even an individual employee. Additionally, you can also filter by topic. An employee who does not need to see certain training modules does not need to see them. This reduces confusion.
Something that you do not do regularly can be difficult to remember. An on-demand learning platform is available 24/7, so if there is a topic that an individual needs to refresh themselves on, they can do that.
How often have you waited for a support team to respond? When you talk to the support team and they correct your issue, how often have you said, “oh yes, I knew that.” With the right content, your on-demand learning modules should create some efficiencies that will reduce the reliance on support teams.
I imagine the most important need for training is software training. We all use so many software applications, which in law firms include word processing, spreadsheet, time and billing, accounting and financial, case management, document management, and legal research. This is not an exhaustive list. Imagine how productive your employees would be if they had access to on-demand training.
I have already mentioned that we are now living in an on-demand world. Shopping online from anywhere at any time and streaming services that allow us to watch shows on our schedule are now commonplace. Providing that service to your potential hires can possibly help attract top candidates.
On-demand learning should not replace in-person seminars and other training sessions. Businesses should consider it a complimentary tool to their training procedures. If you want to know about employment law updates, then a seminar is preferable. On-demand learning is intended to give you immediate assistance; if you are stuck editing a bill. It is also intended to make the on-boarding process easier. Simple tasks can be easy to pick up with a quick training video. For example, on boarding a new attorney is no longer something you would need an internal/external resource for. The attorney can learn how to enter time, preview dashboards, etc. by watching a training video at their convenience.
On-demand learning can replace, say, the “help” icon or tab on the software you are using. I don’t know about you, but the help icons in many software programs are becoming less helpful. It often reminds me of the computerized customer service response you often get that asks you to answer several questions before putting you on hold for an extended period.
The place to start is with your software vendors. Ask them if they have on-demand learning modules that they support. There are also firms that will design learning modules for you if you are using some of the more popular applications, like Microsoft Office products. Remember, this should not overwhelm your employees, so spend some time filtering the content.
About the Author
Keith Bell serves as a member of the Technical Support Team at Coyote Analytics, where he focuses on maintaining and updating the Knowledge Base Software Solutions module. Keith has more than 30 years in senior management experience within the UK Food and Drink Industry, where his focus was on implementing Business Management Systems and ‘Managing Change’ in an ever-changing industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Coyote Analytics
Coyote Analytics offers a complete financial software system (time, billing, accounting) and a full practice management solution (calendar, docketing, forms, contacts) to assist firms in managing the business of law. Coyote Analytics’ program was built through a collaborative effort with clients. It offers a simple, easy-to-navigate interface, a robust feature set, and great customer service, all at a reasonable price point.