ATD Blog

Use Lifelong Learning to Your Organization's Advantage

Thursday, June 11, 2015


The day you stop learning is the day you stop living. We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day.”
– Richard Branson 

If you embrace Richard Branson’s philosophy about employee training, you will develop an unstoppable team. When you value learning, employees bring fresh new ideas to the table, they’re on top of changing technologies, and they enable your organization to be agile. 

Indeed, learning new skills and gaining a deeper understanding of your field is essential to professional success. Continuous learning is now just part of the job, whatever the job may be. As part of the online generation, you want to interact with instructors, colleagues, and other experts, as well as with the learning materials. 

It takes just four steps to achieve this win-win situation. Blackboard’s eBook, How to Turn Organizational Learning into a Strategic Advantage, takes a deep dive into these steps, including examples from companies that have used them successfully to achieve their key business goals. Here’s a brief look at the four steps. 

Step 1: Define Your Organization’s Learning Goals 

It’s important to define your organization’s learning goals. Whether you’re providing an online learning solution for your entire organization or looking to augment the professional development of one group inside your organization, your top five learning goals are likely to include:


  1. standardizing training and learning across the organization
  2. producing replicable content
  3. enabling learning with consistent results, regardless of employee location, language, or time zone
  4. shifting toward competency-based learning to match employees’ skills with specific jobs
  5. determining a learning budget for every employee learning program will probably use. 

Step 2: Stare Down Budget Challenges with Your Learning Program 

If your organization is like most, you’re probably struggling with the high cost of traditional learning programs, a looming skills gap, and incompatibility between existing LMS tools. These challenges may seem insurmountable, but with the right online learning environment, you can strike these pain points down one by one. 

For instance, to offer a thorough learning experience, organizations usually have to send people to a class—and those costs add up fast. Let’s say you need to send employees to take a five-day classroom course. Five employees are local, but 25 of them need to travel to headquarters, where you’re hosting the event. The total estimated cost is $55,000 dollars for one seminar. 

However, the right online learning environment can immediately reduce travel costs. Your employees can access the learning content from any location and most devices, and they still enjoy a collaborative, classroom-style experience. 

Step 3: Bridge the Skills Gap 


Today’s businesses and government agencies are facing a Baby Boomer brain drain—people are taking years and years of institutional knowledge with them when they retire. With a powerful online learning environment, your organization can capture their institutional knowledge before they retire. Through knowledge transfer, you’ll turn their experience into learning content that you can use to train the next generation of workers. Use it, too, to create an archive of valuable information. 

Take the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA), which is using Blackboard to build a central repository of training information and assets that will be used across the academy. As a result, learners can more easily fulfill their training requirements without having to be away from their families for weeks at a time. This greater work-life balance has been a tremendous advantage to the VAAA. 

Step 4: Integrate Learning Technologies with Business Software 

When you can integrate your new learning platform with existing business applications, you create a powerful environment that’s easy for people to use. And if you’ve provided any online training for employees, you’ve already got at least one LMS installed on your network, as well as mission-critical software, such as customer relationship management, human capital management, and association management software applications. 

By adopting this kind of robust approach to organizational learning, you can enable your employees to thrive in their careers while investing in your organization’s long-term success. Professionals of all stripes have embraced online learning, allowing them to open up a world of career development to even the most far-flung employees while helping their organization achieve key business goals. 


About the Author

Lee Perlis Global Channel Marketing Manager Blackboard Lee Perlis is a Global Channel Marketing Manager for Blackboard’s Professional Education group based in Washington D.C. Lee is in charge of marketing & strategy for the corporate and association segments and partner marketing strategies with Lee joined Blackboard in 2011 and has led the efforts to build an employee and sales training application integrated with Salesforce CRM. Prior to Blackboard, Lee worked as a Vice President of Marketing for Markit, a leading, global financial information services company. He has his B.A. in Business Administration from George Washington University.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.