When Today's Professionals Most Want to Learn

February 24, 2017

Professionals today most want to learn when they, well, need to learn.

The success of any product or service is as simple as giving people what they want, when they want it. And that starts with knowing with what people want and when they want it in the first place.

For learning and development teams, the people in this situation are the employees they serve, i.e. professionals at large. And while what professionals want to learn is something we’ve touched in other articles and varies greatly, when they want to learn is something more ubiquitous.

Specifically, as part of our new Workplace Learning Report, we looked at when professionals are most prone to seek out learning opportunities. By being armed with this information, you can create better, more engaging learning and development programs.

1. 52% of professionals seek out learning at the moment of need.

The most common time professionals seek out learning is also the most obvious – when they need to. They need to do something on Excel, so they ask a friend. They need to do something in Photoshop, they look online. They need to do a presentation, so they seek out examples to copy.

This is why having some form of on-demand learning at your organization is so critical. That’ll facilitate this need-based learning that often is the most tangibly useful for any employee.

2. 47% of professionals learn on nights and weekends.

The fact that nearly half of all professionals spend their free time learning shows there’s a great desire out there to learn. However, if your people feel like they can only learn on nights and weekends, that’s a bad sign because that means they don’t feel supported enough to take time to learn at work.

3. 42% of professionals learn at their office desk.

The opposite of the previous stat, as an L&D pro you actually want this number to be higher. Your people should feel secure and supported enough to learn at work, as opposed to having to spend every second of their day solely dedicated to day-to-day tasks.

4. 30% of professionals learn when alerted to updates.

Most L&D teams send out an email newsletter or do posters or alert employees in some way about their learning programs. That’s important both to ensure people know what learning resources are available, but also – as the stat shows – it will compel nearly 1/3 of them into action.

5. 27% of professionals learn on their way to-and-from work.

The average commute in the United States is just under 30 minutes, representing a perfect opportunity for your people to learn. This is easier for people who use public transportation, as they can more easily read or watch eLearning courses. However, drivers can use this opportunity to learn as well, both via podcasts and via listening to eLearning courses in audio mode.

The Takeaway

Obviously, these stats can be helpful. They show when people most want to learn and even speak a bit to how they’d like to learn, all of which can help inform your program.

The biggest takeaway? People, collectively, like to learn at a variety of different times in a variety of different situations. The more you can facilitate that via an on-demand learning program, the better.

Looking for strategies on improving your L&D program? Download our Workplace Learning Report today for free, where we surveyed 500 L&D leaders to find what’s working (and what’s not).