The rapid and constant innovation within organizations and the development of new technologies lead to a continuously evolving labor market; employees who were able to meet the demands of the organization yesterday may not have the skill set to continue meeting new demands. This ultimately can impact the competitiveness and the overall profitability of an organization negatively. To prevent employee turnover and minimize the skill gap, organizations engage in upskilling employees.

What is upskilling and why is it important?

In simple terms, upskilling employees can be thought of as the process through which organizations provide their current employees with the tools to learn new skills which in turn helps them meet more challenging demands in their current position or helps them progress to a more advanced role within the organization. The tools provided can range anywhere from online training programs to in-person skill development opportunities. While the advantages of upskilling might be obvious from an organizational perspective, it can also prove to be highly beneficial to current employees and human resource committees.

From an organizational point of view, upskilling employees helps with retention and satisfaction. With upskilling, organizations get to reap the full benefits of training their employees and minimize expenses related to new talent search and the time associated with it. Additionally, upskilling allows the organization to stay competitive by being well-equipped to handle disruptive changes.

Simultaneously, upskilling adds significant value to employees’ career journey, and a growing number of employees have started to recognize it; recent Gallop – Amazon research has indicated that 48% of employees in the United States would switch jobs if upskilling opportunities were offered. Upskilling provides employees with a sense of job security as it builds on the belief that their employers would help them get equipped with new skill sets to combat evolving challenges rather than letting them go; this also leads to more confident and satisfied employees with greater overall morale within the organization. Upskilling tends to aid in community building as well by providing opportunities for employees to engage with, and rely on each other.

Evidently, upskilling is crucial to organizational success and employee satisfaction – this leads to the question of how upskilling can be done effectively and cohesively. Many organizations are turning to unified learning platforms to guide and simplify the upskilling process.

What is a Unified Learning Platform?

A unified learning platform or system can be described as an online platform that combines multiple technologies to provide intuitive and scalable eLearning solutions to organizations. Unified learning platforms incorporate components of in-person learning with eLearning to provide users with a truly transformation and interactive experience.

Unified learning platform providers, such as Mintbook, allow organizations to utilize multiple technologies including Digital Library, Learning Management System, and Virtual Classroom on the same platform thereby boosting convenience and building a cohesive learning environment. Each of these technologies has additional features such as module tracking, gamification, discussion forums, event calendars, and more. Unified learning platforms allow organizations to customize the user experience to a great extent and provide the tools for them to curate multimedia, multichannel, and multilingual content ensuring that content is highly accessible. Unified learning platforms are designed to either supplement in-person learning or be stand-alone training platforms themselves. The malleable nature of unified learning platforms makes them a great eLearning solution for various organizations. Unified learning platforms can be incorporated to help achieve an array of different organizational goals, but they are particularly beneficial in upskilling employees.

How can Unified Learning Platforms be used for upskilling employees?

A key component of unified learning platforms is customizability offered to both the administrators as well as the users within the organization. Administrators can design modules on the learning management system embedded within the unified learning platform to teach the desired skills to their employees. On the other hand, the employees themselves can set user-specific goals within each module, set personal deadlines, and track their individual progress. The modules created on the learning management system help create a highly accessible and engaging learning environment for the employees. The content of the modules can include short videos, images, ebooks, third-party reading material, test projects, discussion forums, and quizzes. For instance, if the administrators within an organization decide that their employees could benefit from learning project management skills to help maintain the competitiveness of their organization, they can create multiple modules, each with their own set of videos, quizzes, and other training material, intended to teach employees different parts of the skills; different modules could be created to teach and assess scope, budget, and time management skills of project management. The employees can complete each module at their own pace, and access their understanding of a skill multiple times until they feel comfortable practicing it; one employee may prefer to go through the time management module more than once whereas others with sufficient prior experience on the skill might choose to complete the quiz directly.

Another major element of unified learning platforms, such as Mintbook, is the use of digital libraries. Digital libraries tend to offer employees a large variety of ebooks for skill development without having to be concerned about content acquisition and license management. Employees can access the ebooks regardless of whether or not they have been added to a specific module; this encourages employees to supplement additional information to aid in their specific upskilling journey. More often than not, digital libraries on unified learning platforms include catalog management tools and built-in search interfaces which allow employees to look for skill-specific learning material in a time-effective manner.

Skills that require a great deal of interaction between users or are built upon collaboration amongst users such as communication or leadership skills can also be taught to employees constructively using unified learning platforms. Unified learning platforms generally have certain elements like virtual classrooms, discussion boards, query forums, leaderboards, and gamified courses to promote user engagement and interaction. Virtual classrooms can be a valuable tool for upskilling as they mimic in-person classrooms with the added benefit of increased accessibility and as a result, increased participation. Virtual classrooms allow multiple employees to learn new skill sets in real-time while also providing the opportunity to learn from each other through communication and observation. Discussion boards and query forms are likely to increase inter-employee interaction and help with upskilling by allowing employees to ask module-related questions, post-secondary learning materials that may be helpful to other employees, or even provide administrators with feedback on how modules could be improved such that they can absorb the course material more efficiently. An additional element of unified learning platforms gaining recent popularity is gamification which can be a useful instrument for upskilling employees. Gamification can be used to create realistic scenarios online to test the skills being learned; this can also translate as an opportunity for friendly competition between employees.

Upskilling, unmistakably, is crucial for organizations that want to embrace disruptive changes while also maintaining profitability, employee satisfaction, and morale. Unified learning platform providers, such as Mintbook, might be the answer to an organization’s upskilling needs, especially if time efficiency, customization, and accessibility are major points of interest. Schedule a free demo to learn more about how Mintbook can help with your organization’s upskilling needs.