American companies spend more than $130 billion a year on training their staff. Despite efforts by employers to give their workers the chance to learn new skills and absorb more knowledge, only 30 percent of U.S. employees describe themselves as “engaged at work” according to a recent Gallup study.

What is even more disconcerting is that these numbers have barely budged over the last 12 years.

This speaks to a disconnect between what we are teaching our employees and how this training is impacting growth and relevance in their careers and in their lives. Some companies are establishing a new corporate role: that of the learning manager. This person engages and encourages employees as a traditional manager would, but must also be technology experts, capable of staying on top of the increasingly sophisticated e-learning options and interpreting which ones will work best in their specific workplaces.

An effective learning manager should know what needs to be taught and which tools should be used to get the desired outcomes. When e-learning was first introduced, most firms simply created a “virtual university” which held all their content for access as needed.

Expanding E-Learning Options

But the world has changed as has e-learning technology and today options have grown to include visual design, broadcasting, gamification and specialized custom programs. Options for delivery have broadened. Content needs to be continually updated.

The challenge to corporations to ensure e-learning is delivered in the best possible way for optimal results is further complicated by a growing trend towards flattening the hierarchy and eliminating traditional “managers.” Autonomous teams have replaced the “bosses” of the past, and they govern themselves through consensus.

For example, Zappos, with more than 3,000 employees, has recently embraced this trend as a move to heighten employee engagement.

No matter how your firm is structured, investing in training should lead to better skilled and motivated employees.

A learning manager can assist by taking on these roles:

Planning – A capable learning manager will develop a plan to deliver essential training in easy to use and easy to locate formats that allow everyone access.

Architecture Development – Armed with the knowledge of what skills must be taught, the learning manager can then create the architecture to bring essential platforms, tools and content into a cohesive package for more efficient training experiences.

Implementation and Management – With the plan in place, the learning manager then ensures that an easy-to-use interface is in place along with standard tools and the means to manage content, implement new programs, and provide mobile access.

Follow-up – Training’s effectiveness needs to be monitored and constantly evaluated. Your learning manager can stay on top of final assessments and analytics to ensure that your training investment is well spent.

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