Today’s organizations need employees who can quickly respond and adapt to changing challenges, opportunities and emerging trends. Recent research found that managed learning is increasingly enabling employers to build this capability and foster an agile culture, while equipping individuals to meet the needs of the business. Enriching the learning provision not only improves teamwork and relationships across an organization, but it also builds resilience, unleashes innovation and enhances competitiveness. As a result, managed learning makes L&D an enabler and creates a better environment in which to work.

Managed learning occurs when an external partner takes responsibility for certain L&D activities. The essence of successful managed learning has shifted from creating training efficiencies through economies of scale to something far less transactional. Previously, the principal benefits of managed learning were:

  • Cost savings through smarter procurement and demand planning
  • Greater control of training activity
  • Simplified billing through consolidated invoicing
  • Freeing up L&D staff to provide support in other areas
  • Training evaluation data
  • An external perspective
  • The ability to benchmark L&D’s performance against other organizations

Today’s organizations now want a more holistic learning partner who feels part of the team – someone who can deliver the following seven benefits.

1. Optimize Learning Delivery.

Implementing the right learning for the right people, on a restricted budget, is a significant challenge for every organization. It can be achieved with a coherent learning curriculum that includes a blend of face-to-face and virtual programs along with digital content. The challenge is to encourage self-directed learning and ensure that maximum benefit is gained from any time that learners actually spend in face-to-face training.

2. Improve and Personalize the Learner Experience.

Most employees want learning that’s easily accessible and, of course, engaging and rewarding. Managed learning is helping to meet these expectations. The latest learner hubs, which offer expert-curated learning, enable organizations to create personal “playlists” of tried-and-tested learning assets that are designed to achieve a specific goal. Also, learning hubs are increasingly using relevant data to create personalized learning journeys.

3. Add Flexibility.

The ability to manage highs and lows in the demand for training, without having a fixed cost base of full-time training staff (and the associated administrative systems), is a major attraction of managed learning. As an operational expense, it enables organizations to plan for and deal with fluctuating levels of demand. This benefit is increasingly relevant in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

4. Assist With the Employee Communication Challenge.

Promoting the availability and value of learning resources is a communication challenge in many organizations, particularly those that have downsized their L&D teams. Managed learning providers help with this goal. Some take steps to promote learning internally, to spark people’s curiosity and to excite and engage them about the prospect of learning. Promoting digital learning tools in the right way can even help enhance the overall employee engagement level.

5. Sustain Impact.

Embedding learning and sustaining its impact are also important challenges for organizations. Managed learning providers assist by helping to create networking opportunities and communities of interest – in which people support and challenge each other – to extend the learning experience.

6. Deliver Meaningful Data.

The quality of data provided through managed learning is one of its key attractions. This benefit goes beyond tracking usage volumes, cost savings and evaluation scores. It now includes creating profiles of learner demographics and demonstrating evidence of how learning programs impact operational performance. These data provide a greater understanding of how learning is consumed and the impact it has, enabling L&D teams to make more strategic talent decisions and refine their learning interventions in the future.

7. Support Continuous Improvement.

The best managed learning providers strive to consistently enhance and strengthen their services. Their clients, therefore, benefit from continuous improvement in all aspects of the learning provision.

Research shows that the provision of managed learning is changing to meet growing global trends, driven by the U.S. and U.K. markets. Employers worldwide are increasingly valuing the support that managed learning provides in helping them to deliver their training strategy.