Majority of SA employers not ready to embrace digital learning

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Technology has completely revolutionized the world, these days handheld devices and laptop computers are must-haves, and digital apps are the new buzz words, yet, despite the upsurge in digitalization,companies admit to still not having mastered the technology necessary to make digital learning a reality in the workplace. 

A recent survey by auditing firm Deloitte proves this. The research indicates that only six percent of employers have mastered digital learning within their organisations, but admit that it is an easily accessible and hassle-free method to develop their employees. 

“This statistic is alarming and very unfortunate. With the dawn of the new millennium, digital learning has become the preferred way for people to communicate and learn all over the world. In fact, digital learning places the learner at the centre of the learning process,” says Richard Rayne, CEO of iLearn - a leading South African learning solutions business with the purpose of empowering people to empower others.  

And while Deloitte estimates that around 24 million learners have embraced digital learning by giving it a try, and are ready to enter the workplace equipped to improve their skills in key industries, organisations are lagging behind and have not made the necessary advancements in technology and employee-centric learning in their respective businesses. 

“The report states that around 63 percent of executives believe their companies are ineffective in the mobile and social learning space. In South Africa, we have a unique opportunity to leverage digital learning to accelerate learning and development to close critical skills gaps and move the country forward,” Rayne says

He explains that iLearn, in partnership with companies, designs and delivers transformative learning solutions that empower learners to have a long-lasting impact on both business and societal growth.

According to Rayne, placing the learner at the centre of the learning process is the first step towards creating learning environments for the future. But what else can organisations do to ensure they are best prepared for the next generation of learning and development: 

  • Embrace continuous learning and move from push training to pull training 

The report states that traditional learning models are generally “push-orientated” where employees are invited to training sessions, at a specified time, and sent back to work once concluded. This form of training involves “imparting knowledge” to employees and measuring the success by just how many employees attend the training session. 

But employees these days, especially millennials and generation X believe that training should be based on the accessibility and speed of online resources. Pull models view learning and development as a continuous process and training happens seamlessly through handheld devices at any time and can also be accessed anywhere. 

  • Leverage on the new employee-employer contract which offers tours of duty 

This focusses on the transition from companies offering employees life-long careers to “tours of duty”, which refers to assignments that take place over a period of time and instil skills, education and experiences that offer long-lasting benefits. Here employees can acquire skills rapidly to become more capable and loyal to the organisation.

iLearn has recently launched the first MICT SETA approved Blended Learning Learnership this year and Rayne says this Learnership innovatively merges all the advantages of digital learning, with the “tried-and-tested benefits” of classroom learning in the NQF space. 

“Digital learning is extremely important for the age in which we live. And the new Learnership will have learners engaging with the course content online and in their own time, as well as with other learners in a structured, face-to-face learning environment, guided by an expert facilitator. It’s highly beneficial for the learner and the organisation,” he says. 

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