ATD Blog

Why Your Organization Should Roll Out On-Demand Learning

Monday, March 8, 2021

Talent development professionals are focused on building employees’ new skills to prepare them for what’s ahead. LinkedIn noted in the 2020 Workplace Learning Report that the fast pace of changes in technology is leading L&D professionals to focus on helping employees build new skills. Half of them said they intended to launch an upskilling program, and 43 percent planned on reskilling a portion of their workforce this year.

But just as the pandemic has affected how individuals perform their day-to-day jobs and collaborate with co-workers, it has impacted how they access learning. Employees aren’t just working remotely; they’re learning remotely too. And by all accounts this transition is here to stay.

Organizations can tap on-demand learning to meet the skill-building needs of their workers. Here are just a few reasons why.

Anytime, Anywhere Access

For consumers, technology has enabled an on-demand economy in which people expect to access goods, services, and information whenever and wherever they have an internet connection. Access to professional learning and development is the same.

More people than ever are working from home, out of multiple offices, or at client sites. Talent development professionals must understand that technology enables those working in more modern arrangements to access instantly available knowledge. With this sort of on-demand learning, individuals can direct their learning and grow their skills.


Being able to immediately access self-paced content at their own convenience is a top priority for adult learners. In fact, some people prefer to learn independently, and on-demand training allows that independence while still making sure employees access the information from whomever can provide the best resources.

Increased Compliance

Compliance training is critical in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, financial, food and drug, and manufacturing. Information in these verticals can get dated often and quickly, whether due to industry disruptions, changes in federal or state regulations, or technology advancements. In addition, individuals working in these industries also have less time to spend away from their jobs to participate in training. The six-hour, off-site training class just isn’t practical.


The streamlined, constant access to on-demand compliance training means workers are more likely to fulfill learning requirements in a timely manner. And because this training is online, mechanisms that make it easier for organizations to track and record compliance are built into the learning modules.

Diverse Content and Modalities

On-demand learning gives employees greater autonomy over their development. This is a perfect opportunity for people who would like to transition to a new role or seek a promotion because it allows them to self-select the courses and content that is right for them.

Case in point: ATD’s On Demand Courses cover a wide range of topics, such as instructional design, facilitation techniques, design thinking, and working with SMEs. These diverse subjects are covered through various interactive learning techniques, including animations, case studies and branching scenarios, videos and podcasts, downloadable tools and templates, and relevant articles and blogs. Additionally, many course providers of on-demand learning solutions also find ways to link learners to a community of experts and peers whom they can collaborate with on discussion forums and such to improve the lesson quality. And individuals can often access many of these assets from their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

This sort of robust variety in content topics, deliverables, and modality helps create a dynamic and tailored learning experience. Remember, not all learning will appeal to all employees, so the more options they have access to will lead to greater engagement.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected] 

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