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Should Employees Be Expected to Use Custom eLearning to Upskill on Their Own Time?

  1. Pen Jennifer Martin
  2. Calendar November 4, 2021

Custom eLearning courses, digital resources, and online options make it possible for employees to learn anywhere, any time, on demand. That flexibility is attractive to employees and organizations for many reasons, including the ability to self-direct learning remotely to fit into a busy schedule. However, the most successful custom eLearning initiatives are used within workplaces on company time. What makes them more successful, than having employees learn from home in their off hours?

The benefits of custom eLearning in the workplace

First, let’s explore the benefits to organizations of implementing custom eLearning for activities such as onboarding, upskilling and reskilling, and leadership development.

According to recent a recent study conducted within the training industry, corporate eLearning takes 40% to 60% less time to complete when compared to traditional learning. And although those same studies show that only 1% of the work week is dedicated to training and development in the workplace, reported benefits of adding training initiatives include:

  • Increased retention
  • Higher individual and team productivity
  • Reduction of critical workplace mistakes
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Better ability to fill open roles through internal hiring

Because of those benefits, surveys done by Brandon Hall and LinkedIn show many organizations are increasing L&D budgets and prioritizing workplace learning for 2021.

The top priorities? Faced with marketplace pressures – including labor shortages and increased competition for talent, and the skills gap created by rapid advancements in technology – organizational leadership is investing in the development of their workforce through onboarding training, reskilling and upskilling, and leadership development training.

So, what makes workplace learning initiatives more successful than expecting employees to upskill on their own time, perhaps remotely during or outside of work hours? In a single word: collaboration.

What makes workplace custom eLearning more successful

Although employees prefer the flexibility of self-directed study, they also report that learning with a group helps them to learn better. That’s according to results published in the 2021 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, which cites a 30 times greater engagement rate and greater self-reported feelings of connection with teams when participating in group learning at work.

And employees don’t have to be at the office to get the benefits of group learning. They can still make use of custom eLearning with social groups, chats, online forums, and personalized instructor feedback to get the benefits of collaboration.

Additionally, making learning initiatives part of the workflow of the day provides opportunities for mentoring, blended training, and additional engagement activities that build your teams and cultivate a culture of learning.

And, as outlined above, providing these opportunities helps employees to feel valued and more loyal to the company. It benefits companies by developing and retaining talent with greater effectiveness on the job, and developing a pipeline of talent at the ready when needed to move into leadership and other roles.

Finally, workplace custom eLearning training has the benefit of being tailored to individual roles, team needs, and organizational objectives.

For example, employees with technology or other professional skills gaps may turn to Coursera, MOOC.org, LinkedIn Learning, CrashCourse, or free online learning from Harvard University to get a background  or baseline of information. But they will potentially need to take many courses in the hope of increasing proficiency, when management and learning and development teams could simply curate the experience to include the skills they need tailored to their role to meet business objectives. This approach saves time and creates efficiencies on both sides.


Although technology makes it possible for employees to attend custom eLearning courses at their own pace and on their own time, it is still more effective for organizations to build a culture of learning by adding training and learning resources to workplaces – whether in person, or through virtual online or digital training.

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