The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development are just two of the organisations to highlight the importance of addressing current skills shortages in Wales and the positive impact this could have on plateauing productivity and recruitment to a growing number of vacancies.

Many agree with these organisations that the preferred approach should be to help Welsh organisations grow the skills needed from within. But equally, if you are a hard-pressed employer running with squeezed budgets and a high number of vacancies, finding a way of making training available to a time-poor workforce can often be difficult.

Through this article, I would like to raise awareness of how switching from classroom learning to digital learning provides huge advantages for organisations. The simple reason for doing this is that the potential benefits are numerous. By fully utilising learning technology, you can help more people learn more at a quicker pace. More importantly, as an organisation you will be helping people do their jobs better, you may improve staff retention and wellbeing and there is likely to be a knock-on effect on operations such as more accurate data capture and compliance with your processes.

So why are so few employers taking advantage of digital learning? The main barrier, as I see it, is a reluctance to try something different. If only more employers could overcome their preconceived idea that classroom learning is better, despite a growing body of academic evidence to the contrary, more organisations could reap the reward and more people would have access to the training they need to do their jobs better.

Today’s digital learning is unrecognisable compared to that produced even a few years ago. If you doubt this, I urge you to ask for a demo and any learning company specialising in technology-led learning worth their salt will show you how. Today’s digital learning incorporates many clever techniques, making it more fun, interactive, and interesting, so people actually want to learn and as a result they retain more information. This cuts the overall learning time, sometimes by as much as half, because people are far more engaged and remember more as a result.

Combined with this, advances in learning technology make it far easier for learning professionals to build learning pathways into a suite of digital learning. This allow learners to follow a learning pathway which is right for them. They don’t need to spend time learning information they already know or learn material which is irrelevant for them in their role. Digital learning can also be created so that it is responsive to the needs of the individual learner including their preferred pace, learning styles and their role within an organisation.

I have worked with two thirds of local authorities across the UK, including Wales. Many use our digital library, which has over 200 courses relevant for local authorities and their partners, as well as our learning platform to deliver learning across their workforces. Majority of them recognise the benefit of having instant access to learning on a wide range of topics which is ready-made and instantly available.

Like most digital learning companies, we also create bespoke digital learning for organisations which is tailored to a niche topic requirement or includes their own local examples and context. Increasingly, digital learning is recognised as the preferred learning method for the roll out of technology systems, such as case management, finance, HR and more and we are commissioned to produce learning for many of the well-known local authority systems providers as well as directly by local authorities themselves. This growing interest is because digital learning is far more effective than the old-fashioned train-the-trainer method.

Often the trigger for commissioning digital learning is realisation that the learning will have a lasting legacy. Many organisations are struggling with staff churn and digital learning is an ideal way to get new starters, temporary and agency staff up to speed as soon as they take up a role, without putting additional pressure on existing teams. It is, after all, available 24/7 which suits mobile, remote and shift workers who can log on securely anytime and anywhere with an internet connection.

So, am I suggesting that all learning should be delivered via digital learning? Maybe one day but not quite yet! Often, I see the real magic come when local authorities apply a blended approach – digital learning delivering learning at scale, supported by some bespoke classroom learning which tackles the more thorny issues which warrant detailed discussion and working with peers.

To sum up, digital learning offers many advantages and most local authorities are not tapping into these fully at the moment. My one ask of you is to think carefully about training objectives and to match the training interventions to these when considering your training provision, while keeping an open mind about the value of digital learning.

Digital learning could be a key tool to help Wales find a way to train more people more effectively and efficiently. Because only if we think more creatively about how we can get people learning will we be able to find a way to bridge the current skills gap.

To discuss any of these points further, please contact John Brewder or visit

Similar Posts