It’s no surprise that people want variety. For those on corporate learning programs, having a mix of learning methods, alongside some collaboration and practical exercises, sounds much more appealing than merely compulsory video modules.

In Econsultancy’s latest survey report, The Race for Digital Skills, 63% of respondents said if they could change their training they would add a wider mix of learning methods.

“Every organisation has its own learning objectives, but broadly they are trying to achieve two outcomes related to digital skills,” writes report author and SVP Learning at Econsultancy Stefan Tornquist.

“[They want to] help their employees accomplish specific tasks today and build the knowledge to do their jobs better in the future. Solving for these very different use cases is one reason that the most effective learning programs blend a variety of learning modes, offering on-demand solutions for so called ‘in-the-flow’ learning necessary to accomplish a given task as well as structured learning to build knowledge.”

This multi-modal approach also extends to a variety of formats, including online, face-to-face, or live events.

Multi-modal learning enables organisations to achieve business goals

As well as the direct benefit to employees, multi-modal learning has clear organisational benefits.  Executives at companies that invest in multi-modal learning and development are far more likely than their peers to say they have the digital skills necessary to meet business goals (57% vs. 27%).

“The organisations that report limited results from learning programs typically cover a smaller range of topics and a limited set of learning modes,” writes Tornquist. As a result, these learning programs typically accrue fewer advantages to the business: perhaps being seeing as an employee benefit and improving retention, but not providing competitive advantage or a source of innovation.

From the survey it’s clear that multi-modal learning is indicative of the approach of a learning organisation. Indeed, companies that offer multiple learning options are 40% less likely than their peers to say that their learning lags behind their needs as an organisation (48% vs. 72%).

Aligning individual learning goals with organisational goals can enable both to flourish

While multi-modal programs offer a wider variety of learning styles, this shouldn’t come at the expense of personalised learning, whereby content is relevant to individual employees and their respective roles.

Indeed, when it comes to the changes that employees would make to their current learning or training experiences they receive, 68% said they would make programs more relevant to their specific role. This change comes above the 63% who said they would make learning more varied with a mix of different methods.

Consequently, it would be wise to focus on aligning individual learning goals with organisational goals to achieve the best possible results for both parties. As the report states, “if this can be achieved, then both the individual and the organisation can flourish.”

Employees undertaking multi-modal programs are 35% more likely to say that they see learning as a tangible benefit

A multi-modal approach seems to offer greater appeal and benefit to employees (when compared to singular methods) and increases the perceived value of learning. Econsultancy found that employees who receive a multi-faceted learning program are 35% more likely to say that they see learning as a tangible benefit than peers whose training is heavily weighted to a single method (68% vs. 48%).

For more findings and advice on digital upskilling, download the report, The Race for Digital Skills: New Best Practices in Effective Learning.