Bridging the Digital Skills gap with On Demand Learning.


The gap between digital skills and knowledge-worker demand continues to widen rapidly. In my previous post, I presented some considerations when addressing this disconnect. Here, I offer what I consider to be the most effective and achievable of solutions: On Demand learning.


Let’s consider some ways in which On Demand learning could fill this gap. First of all is the need for a solution with the potential for distribution that is not limited by scheduled events and locations but rather is available anytime on any device and scalable to accommodate multiple learners simultaneously. Training material and supporting content is in a digital format, easy to update and capable of distributing across the student’s devices. Performance and retention is easily measured, and student questions and follow ups are quickly addressed as well as extra assistance and explanations. Avoiding the “one size fits all” model, the solution should offer tailored opportunities that can target the specific learning requirements of teams and employees within an organization.


 Specifically, On Demand learning addresses these areas in the following ways:

24/7 Availability and Scalable. The solution should be one that addresses the limitations of scheduled training events in order to reach the most people at any given time. Many students work full time or have commitments that limit their ability to attend a specific event. An On Demand learning solution implies that the student has access anytime on any device.

Easy to distribute material when attending a course. Training material can often be costly, sometimes outdated and of varying quality. Printed material needs to be carried around and digital versions are often not available to the student. The On Demand solution provides digital copies of material to be printed selectively by the student and easily distributed across their devices.

Measured Performance. A traditional instructor-led onsite or online course doesn’t provide a way to measure the performance of the students or allow them to “test” what they just learned. Often instructors will simply ask some questions or provide a text-based quiz that the student can elect to take or not. The On Demand solution would include “software simulated” quizzes that measure how well the student is retaining the new content.

Instructor Support. With “video only” based courses there is no instructor support and with scheduled instructor-led courses, the support is given only during the schedule time (there are exceptions, of course). The On Demand solution would allow the instructor to “monitor” the students and provide support when necessary. This interactivity would include emails, chats or even an online meeting between the instructor and the student to discuss the question and topic. The instructor must also have a way to easily talk through or screen share with the student when there are questions.

Tailored On Demand. Organizations usually conform to the availability of classes a training outfit offers, often finding the content and material irrelevant to their implementation and difficult to schedule. The On Demand solution would also include the ability to customize the solution so that it meets all of the needs above along with blending-in their own specific processes and requirements and message. The On Demand solution should be one that an organization can consider in order to meet its specific training needs.

As a learning professional for the past 15+ years, it is only now that the tools and platforms have been made available to us to be able to address the considerations above. As the gap widens and traditional learning solutions fail to address the real issues, On Demand learning is the answer.

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