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Learning Is Not a One-Time Event! Promote Continuous Learning

In the ever-changing corporate world, where new technology one day becomes an ancient relic by the next, companies need to continuously train their employees.

The old days of training your workforce one time and then never develop their skills and knowledge again? Those days are fading fast into the sunset.

"Employees who don’t spend at least 5 to 10 hours a week developing new skills will obsolete themselves with the technology,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said earlier this year

In response to this, companies are looking for ways to bring continuous learning into their workplaces. 

Learning & development programs need to move from those traditional one-time, hours-long training events, to always-on programs. Adopting one or several strategies to enable a continuous learning program in your workplace should be a priority in 2016 and beyond.


1) eLearning courses can help a company train anytime, anywhere 

The concept of continuous learning clashes with the traditional model of one-off training programs: Employee gets a new job. He/she goes into an instructor-led class three entire days a week. Time passes by without the employee ever receiving a piece of training again. Employee works until he/she gets a new job.

The problem: Learning in the workplace should be a non-stop process as long as the person remains in the company.

Companies need to move away from rigid, overly structured training programs. Modern employees are tech-savvy, plugged-in and on-the-go; over 80% expect more interactive learning experiences accessible anywhere and at any time. [1]

Enter responsive eLearning courses — online training that can be accessed wherever and whenever people want to learn. With responsive eLearning, HR managers don’t need to spend time training employees in person; they can instead find ways to help employees’ unique needs related to their personal career growth.

Employees, meanwhile, can view the eLearning courses on a variety of devices. They can start their training program in their office, and finish it on their living room couch. Or they can rise early and watch from their smartphone and pick up where they left off using a laptop in the company lounge.

After all, if your employees can access news, travel information, sports scores, shopping, and more anywhere they want — why wouldn’t you offer them equally easy access to your learning programs?

2) Have employees teach one another.

According to a report by learning platform company Degreed, 87% of employees said that sharing knowledge with their peers is critical for their learning. However, just one in three L&D companies are investing in social learning tools, the report found.

In social learning, employees learn from one another. Traditionally, this occurs through discussion, collaboration, and feedback. But technology can provide even more possibilities for continuous learning.

Companies today are most often turning to blogs, internal document repositories, videos, and podcasts, said Falana Thomas, an instructor at PPD, a company that specializes in contract research. These resources are usually available in a central location on the company’s intranet or website, she said and served as a nice supplement to formal one-time training events.

Rather than simply turning to Google to get questions answered, online users rely on your company's social networking and digital tools to learn from their peers. Since your employees are discovering content and learning information from one another out of work, it’s natural that they would expect these interactions to occur in the workplace as well. 

It’s to your company’s advantage to allow employees to share knowledge with one another on your platform.  For instance, Totara Social, an LMS creator, recommends using internal social media sites to enable collaboration and sharing of ideas. Some ideas include allowing for blog comments, employee-voted polls, and the “like” feature that allow employees to validate their peers’ ideas. 

Using these social platforms and programs, employees can ask one another questions or seek out feedback on strategies that relate to their job. During annual reviews, managers can then focus on what the employee learned, what they want to learn, and how the company can support them with their goals.

3) Microlearning can teach employees in mere minutes

Modern workers want information, in short, sharp bursts. The Degreed 2016 report found that nearly 70% learn from peers or by reading blogs and articles and 53% access videos to learn. [2]

Setting up an environment where employees are always learning may raise eyebrows among those who are worried about company productivity.

But continuous learning doesn’t need to occur in large spurts. Microlearning offers employees the chance to learn in “bite-size” chunks throughout their days, weeks, months, and years on the job.
Employees can digest short videos or articles when they have the time: whether that is between tasks at work — or at home using a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop.

Not only does this make learning more convenient, but it also helps them to solve complex problems, said Christopher Pappas, founder of the online learning community eLearning Industry.

By focusing each lesson on one particular topic, learners can easy digest the material without experiencing “cognitive overload,” said Pappas. [3]

Also read: Struggling to Train New Hires Effectively? Try Micro Learning

When it comes to training and company-sponsored learning, employees are expecting more from their companies. They want to continually improve their skills, at work and on the go, and they want employers to help them achieve their individual goals.

Through eLearning, social learning platforms, and microlearning modules, your company has the opportunity to teach your employees continuously and help them grow in their careers. You’ll also find your own solutions along the way, enabling your training managers to focus on individual growth instead of leading monotonous training sessions for new hires.

Recommended resources:



[1] Tauber, T., 2015. Investing in Learning Content: Redefining Priorities to Keep Up with the Modern Learner. Bersin by Deloitte, 2015. 

[2] Degreed, 2016. How the Workforce Learns in 2016.


[4] Continuous Learning. Bersin by Deloitte

[5] Creating a continuous learning environment

[6] The Four E’s: Your Fast Lane to Continuous Learning

[ 7] Reimagining L&D Capabilities to Drive Continuous Learning

Karla Gutierrez

Karla is an Inbound Marketer @Aura Interactiva, the developers of SHIFT. ES:Karla is an Inbound Marketer @Aura Interactiva, the developers of SHIFT.

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