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The Netflixization of Employee Training

Friday, August 3, 2018

Technology is disrupting nearly every traditional industry, and employee training is no different. Technology firm Gartner estimates that by the end of 2022, a quarter of all workers will have used at least one consumer HR app for professional development. One of the driving forces for this is cost, in terms of both time and money. Emmanuel Le Bouille, a health program director for Groupe Auchan, an international retail group, found that when he had to implement a global well-being course for 260,000 employees, app-based solutions were his only option. "If we had tried to do this through the traditional classroom approach, it would have taken us at least four years," he says, adding that by using an online training platform, the costs were a tenth of the amount Auchan would have paid for classroom-based training: about $2 per employee as opposed to $20. "The alternatives to doing this digitally were too expensive and time-consuming," Le Bouille says. This type of technology has led to the “Netflixization” of employee training; that is, using portals to access different training modules, available as bite-sized, on-demand services.

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We shouldn't think about this as "one or the other". We have to be careful and diligent in prescribing the best training solution for the situation at hand. When asked should a company use formal or informal, informational or experiential, digital WBT or ITL, Handouts, Movie Trailers, gamification, etc etc etc.. forms to educate their employees, my a answer will always be YES! All of that! A continuous learning environment is needed more now than ever! Let's fuse it into to everything we do.
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Yes, but... I can't see how this trend will expand past "informational" learning content. Experiential learning and complexity are still poorly executed online, if the expectation is that costs will remain low. For example, the course I taught at university on communication measurement...students had to read, write discussion forum postings and synthesize peer learnings into a journal post each week. With 20 students, that was a lot of time - same cost as in-person.
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It requires a savvy Educator to discern what should be offered digitally vs. a real time "Face to Face" setting. Some topics don't lend themselves to a "Netflix-ed" format. One way to maximize employment security is to be the person who knows and can articulate the benefits and burdens of various delivery methods.
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