Underwhelmed by corporate learning programs? You’re not alone. Both managers and employees report low satisfaction, with only 25% crediting their program with improved job performance. And yet, companies still spend billions on programs that yield disappointing or unclear ROIs. Both the real costs and opportunity costs of just a single day of training are sobering.
Clearly, the status quo isn’t working. But what, exactly, is wrong with the status quo? And how can we improve it?
To right the ship, we must first understand why and how corporate learning programs go adrift.
What’s wrong with corporate learning programs?
They provide few opportunities to concretely apply learning. If you didn’t know better, you might assume that corporate learning programs are paradigms of applied learning. Yet in practice, this doesn’t hold water. Corporate learners often lack opportunities to promptly and concretely apply what they’ve learned to real-world (or even hypothetical) problems or situations. If employees can’t apply what they’ve learned, they won’t retain what they’ve learned.
They provide few opportunities to reinforce learning. One-off corporate learning seminars are easily forgotten. Even quarter-long courses can lose their freshness as years go by. Both human psychology and common sense confirm that learning requires time and repetition. Traditional corporate learning programs are deficient on both counts.
They don’t facilitate peer-to-peer learning. Barbara Streisand famously sang: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” It’s debatable whether people who need people are the luckiest people. But the first part of the insight is beyond doubt: people need people. Corporate education is no exception. Learning is a fundamentally social activity, and traditional corporate learning programs, which often lack substantive peer-to-peer interactions, tend to be disengaging and isolating.
They’re inflexible and overly demanding. Synchronous learning is great for full-time students. It’s not so great for working parents, for frequent travelers, or for anyone with a busy and unpredictable schedule. If you want to give your employees multiple opportunities over time to apply and reinforce their learning, you need more than one-off seminars; you need ongoing learning communities. And if you don’t want your employees to resent you, you should allow flexible and asynchronous participation in those communities.
They’re unproven. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. But what is the pudding of corporate learning programs? An abstract theory? An educated hunch? Keeping in mind the significant costs of corporate learning programs and the depressing data, hunches aren’t enough. And yet, most companies aren’t collecting the data they need to prove ROI. Companies and program managers need actionable data they can use to identify engaged and disengaged learners, develop effective strategies, and identify gaps in employees’ knowledge. Traditional corporate learning programs fail to provide detailed and actionable data. To the extent that corporate learning programs lack data, they are unproven.
They’re boring. When you hear “mandatory corporate learning”, do your ears perk up? Do you burst with excitement? Didn’t think so. To put it poetically, corporate learning programs suck. Employees find them uninspiring, despite the fact that they want to learn.
What’s different about Yellowdig?
Yellowdig excels along four dimensions of corporate learning where traditional programs fall short:
Engagement. Yellowdig’s unique gamification system drives productive and engaging interactions between learners. Social points encourage learners to create engaging content and to reward fellow learners for sharing their knowledge and expertise in dynamic and creative ways. Facilitators can use Accolades to reward learners for offering excellent insights, asking good questions, or providing “Verified Answers”. Learners can communicate concepts and ideas through videos recorded inside the platform, through diagrams and annotated images, and through direct messages. In addition, our notification and friend-following systems update learners on their colleagues’ Yellowdig activities and remind learners to participate in ongoing conversations. Finally, program managers can further gamify the point system by awarding gift cards, coffee, and even PTO to the highest point earners.
Flexibility. Yellowdig is an asynchronous platform that allows learners to participate as their schedules allow. While Yellowdig’s point system encourages regular participation, our system can be configured to accommodate more irregular contributions, depending on the particular needs of employers and employees. Yellowdig is an adaptive application that can be seamlessly accessed on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. Our link-sharing feature lets learners quickly and easily join Communities without the need for Learning Management Systems or for complex integrations. Finally, Yellowdig’s open-ended and customizable point system allows learners to participate in ways that best reflect their roles, responsibilities, and interests.
Persistence. Yellowdig Communities are designed to persist throughout an employee’s learning journey, serving as both a record and driver of their intellectual and professional development. Employees can easily look back and refresh themselves on what they’ve learned. When employees forget a concept, paradigm, or technique, they can easily @mention their peers and program managers for reminders and discussion. Yellowdig leverages the behavioral dynamics of communities to form lifelong learners and habitual inquirers.
Data-driven decision-making. If you want concrete gains, you need concrete measures of efficacy. Yellowdig automatically collects and aggregates behavioral data that matter. Yellowdig’s advanced analytics dashboard distills these data into actionable insights that program managers can implement cheaply, quickly, and on the fly. Are you dissatisfied with the level of interaction between employees? Increase the point value of comments to drive longer conversations. Want your employees to apply knowledge gleaned from the outside world? Award Accolades to employees who share and discuss links to external resources. Without data points, actionable insights are directionless; and without actionable insights, data points are useless. Yellowdig unites data and action within a coherent and complete learning system.
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