Let’s face it, the world is a completely different place now than it was 10 years ago. People have become more reliant on technology and, businesses are able to glean actionable insights from data collected, no matter the industry. For example, with predictive analytics, you can unlock vast marketing insights, anticipating a customer’s next purchase based on machine learning and targeting advertisements to encourage them to make the purchase. In this ever-changing business environment, corporations can’t keep up with their competition without embracing these types of technologies to improve their models.

With so many new-to-market technologies bringing businesses impressive customer and employee data, why are so many corporations still using static training techniques of the past? Most businesses don’t place a huge emphasis on employee training – that’s a fact. It’s time for that to change, especially as one in three employees say that uninspiring training content is a barrier to their learning and can influence them to leave their company for new opportunities. What’s more, sticking with antiquated training methods is costly. One study even found that ineffective training techniques could cost a company up to $13.5 million a year per 1,000 employees.

Corporate training departments also need to look at how much guidance employees need and how to address their individual learning styles. A recent research project by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that 74 percent of employees don’t feel as though they are achieving their full potential due to lack of development opportunities. And from a management perspective, 62 percent of human resources managers do not believe they are meeting each individual’s learning needs, according to a 2015 Association of Talent Development study. These numbers are very telling about the current state of corporate learning and development.

How can corporate training departments address these issues and offer more effective training and development opportunities in the workplace? Businesses must adapt to the demands of the 21st century employee by incorporating new technologies into their corporate training programs.

Today, companies can access insights and intelligence about a learner from workforce and HR analytics, and drive corporate learning initiatives. There are technologies on the market that can utilize automated, real-time individualization to customize learning content in accordance with each user’s unique learning styles, and accelerate the onboarding process and maximize productivity. Not only will these technologies make users feel that training content is catered to their needs, but HR and training executives can expect training results to improve.

Individualized learning technology addresses past issues caused by obsolete training techniques because employees can be taught information in a way that allows them to maximize their full potential. You’ve likely heard the saying that some of us are visual learners, and some are auditory learners, while others learn by doing. By implementing cost-effective algorithm-based machine learning tools, two employees who participate in the same training program will have completely different experiences: they will see content presented in ways that best suit their unique learning styles based on the learner’s behavior, cognitive, and engagement preferences.

Social Learning Implications

Through new technologies, you can also utilize employees’ behavioral data to determine how he or she best responds to information through his or her social networking history on the learning management system. You can interpret analytics focused on how people interact with each other in chats or on discussion boards to identify who is a knowledge disseminator, who is a knowledge seeker, and how that changes from topic to topic. Not every employee is an expert on each topic presented in your corporate training program, but by interpreting networking data and utilizing machine learning, you can determine what an employee already knows, what needs to be taught, and how to teach the employee for maximum comprehension.

Learning and development does not stop after people graduate from high school or college —it is a process that continues throughout each employee’s lifetime. To best prepare them for a successful career and to maximize your corporate training investment, businesses need to start using the right data and the right analytics to individualize training so knowledge is transferred and outcomes improve.