The need for professional skills development courses is increasing demand for learning content at work, according to research from Cornerstone OnDemand. The number of active learners has increased by nearly a third, 30%, since last year, the company said, while more than half of their time spent learning was focused on professional skills development.
Among the most popular topics were project management, time management, business acumen, emotional intelligence and effective communication.
Nearly half of employees don’t believe their employers are providing what they they’ll require going forward, said Cornerstone’s 2023 Talent Health Index. That reveals highlights a growing disconnect between employees and employers and fueling anxiety among the workforce.
Cornerstone’s data found:
- Consumption of online learning content across all topics and skills saw a 38% year-over-year increase in the time spent on training.
- Learners spent 72% more time in self-directed learning as users actively sought content compared to consuming learning that was assigned to them.
- The number of employees proactively consuming learning content grew 43% year on year during the first half of 2023. During that period, there was also a 35% increase in the time employees spent learning.
- Content related to professional skills was a main driver in self-directed learning as learners pursued topics such as effective communication.
To meet their employees’ demand, more companies are investing in technology to support L&D, Cornerstone said.
“Employees today are more motivated than ever to find continuous skills development opportunities inside their organizations,” said CSOD Chief Product Officer Karthik Suri. “Proven by recent data trends, there is a clear and sustained focus on professional skills development, providing HR leaders with an incredible opportunity to provide increased content that is actively sought out and will result in a sound investment.”
A number of employers are looking to AI to address increased demand for learning, but that approach is complicated by employee attitudes. Workers don’t want AI to take over their learning activities, said a recent survey by Wiley. More than half – around 59% — preferred having a human instructor in charge of workforce development, as opposed to the mere 7% that preferred AI.
In addition, workers aren’t sold on AI’s teaching abilities. Some 42% of Gen Z employees would rather update their skills and capabilities by learning from their peers, as opposed to AI, according to research Research conducted by Executive Networks for NovoEd. In fact, AI ranked lower as an approach to learning than YouTube (36%), friends and family (30%) and a company’s HR team (23%).