Bridging the learning gap with GoodHabitz

Though most people see the importance in learning, only a minority actually seek to develop themselves, despite soft skills becoming increasingly in demand by employers. This article was included in the Digital Learning report that was featured in The Times.

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The appetite for digital learning has been increasing over many years now, but few

stem of the T symbolises the depth of specialist or technical skills and the horizontal bar represents more human skills and the eagerness to learn other things. If organisations want to develop a more T-shaped workforce, they must find the right balance between train- ing employees in both ‘technical’ and ‘human’ skills, as digital learning firm GoodHabitz calls them.

“Just because someone can code doesn’t necessarily mean they can speak strongly in front of an audience, take feedback or contribute well in discussions,” says Tim Segers, country director UK at GoodHabitz. “Too often employers hire based on a hard skill and only later discover a degree of soft skills are needed to make the role a success. It is those skills which you can apply in every field, every industry and every job.

“A lot of the technical things we can do as humans are being taken over by automation, but robots will never be able to replicate what really makes us human: our behavioural, social and emotional skills. That makes investing in those skills increasingly important.

could have expected the sheer rate of acceleration in 2020 and 2021, amidst the reshaping of the learning environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Though classroom teaching will remain a key component of any successful education or training strategy, lockdown-driven lifestyles exposed the masses to the great value and importance of online learning today.

The past 18 months have particularly illuminated the growing significance of soft skills to employees and their employers alike, and this is where online learning comes into its own. While class- rooms are still, largely, the best environment in which to learn hard, specialist skills, remote working has elevated the importance of softer skills like communication, collaboration, creativity, problem solving, and the agility and flexibility to adapt to changes.

The continuum between hard and soft skills has resulted in a desire among many HR professionals to seek ‘T-shaped’ employees. The vertical

We have seen that reflected in a major uplift in usage of our online courses during the pandemic, particularly areas like leadership, communication and wellbeing. Online learning provides the ease and accessibility to develop soft skills in a way that suits you.”

While wanting to inject more soft skills into their workforce, organisations face barriers to achieving a living and breathing learning culture. The usage of online learning courses and platforms, while growing, is too narrow. Research has exposed a gap between the number of people who say learn- ing is important, 89% in a study by GoodHabitz, and those actually making efforts to advance their personal development, which averages at only 20% of employees.

Part of the challenge is competing for people’s time. Though many employees might feel they are too busy to invest time in learning, the average UK adult watches video con- tent for five hours and 40 minutes a day, according to Ofcom. People dedicate a third of their waking hours to watching TV or entertaining videos on social media channels because they enjoy it. But this clearly implies that if learning content was as attractive and engaging as a movie or TV series on Netflix, then companies would soon find more workers consuming it.

“Making learning available is just the start of the journey. When only a fifth of people are intrinsically motivated to develop themselves, a much bigger part of your organisation needs a nudge,” says Segers. “They need con- text and urgency. You need to explain why they should take a course or why they should develop themselves. We have seen that learner marketing, while also involving the leadership team, is crucial to really bridging that gap, as is making the learning content itself practical, meaning it provides immediate value to users.

“But perhaps most importantly, learning should be attractive and engaging. It should be as fun as watch- ing your favourite series on Netflix, and that’s our focus. We facilitate learning in a way that is super accessible and practical at the moment of need – you can learn hugely valuable soft skills how and when you want – but also that triggers people’s curiosity, often including humour and other fun aspects to keep their attention.”

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To make learning fun, GoodHabitz offers 25 different learning formats catering to all learning needs and styles. From videos to written content, quick scans to mini-documentaries, everyone can learn in their own way. More than 459,345 courses were completed by GoodHabitz users in 2021 so far, proving if learning is fun, people will want to engage with it.

GoodHabitz is unique among providers of online learning courses in that it believes there should be no limit to who has access to learning. Once an organisation signs up, all of its employees have unlimited access to all GoodHabitz courses. Removing boundaries to learn- ing in this way is crucial to achieving a real learning culture.

However, it is still vital for the HR department to promote learning and development, supported by a senior leadership team, which must make a clear statement that they want to be an organisation in which learning is normal, embedded and encouraged. This will not only create a happier, healthier and more effective work- force, but one that is able to attract better talent from elsewhere.

“When you allow people to learn, you give them the chance to grow and be better,” says Segers. “Employees want to feel like their company is investing in them, and that they care about their wellbeing and development. What are they providing to propel me forward in my life and career? If you make learning accessible and attractive for people, you increase the chance that they embrace a real growth mindset, and that others want to work for you too.

“This is why we offer a library full of courses that people can choose from, because that supply triggers the curiosity and demand for more habitual learning. If it’s engaging, accessible and high quality, people will want to explore it. Upgrading your soft skills on an ongoing basis is key in today’s work- place, and GoodHabitz fills the vital gap between ‘learning is important but I don’t have the motivation or know-how to get there’.”

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