Executive Development Blog

On-Demand Leadership Development

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Nov 20, 2014 9:11:55 AM


Read below, a summary on Jessica Brack's white paper discussing the potential of on-demand learning.

Unlocking the Potential of On-Demand Learning in the Workplace

Employees and employers face the same dilemma these days when it comes to keeping skills sharp; neither has the time nor the money to spend on long-term learning and development opportunities.

“It’s a real challenge,” notes Jessica Brack, managing director for UNC’s Executive Development program.  “There is a direct, positive link between providing meaningful learning and development opportunities to employees and job satisfaction--when you train employees, job satisfaction increases, as does employee retention. With budgets being so tight these days, training is too often the first place employers look to cut.”

“On-demand e-learning may be the answer to meeting tight budgets while still offering employees the training and development they need and desire,” reports Brack. Today’s e-learning takes advantage of technological advances to allow all participants to interact and collaborate with each other without the costs (like time, travel and accommodation expenses, etc.) associated with traditional classroom-style instruction. E-learning can save employees valuable time by eliminating travel time and offers much-needed flexibility because it can happen at any time and anywhere.


E-learning has rapidly evolved over the past decade, growing from a traditional, transfer-of-learning approach to include new technologies such as discussion boards, blogs, wikis and other social interaction tools that allow participants to engage with each other and their instructors.

E-learning Benefits

E-learning is a beneficial method of training and development because it:

  • Reduces costs

  • Saves time  

  • Offers flexibility

  • Allows social interaction with other participants and instructors

  • Engages all types of learning styles

Achieving Employee Buy-In

Despite E-learning’s growth, some employees may drag their feet when it comes to embracing this new and improved training delivery vehicle.  A key to achieving buy-in is to provide employees with a quality E-learning experience that includes interaction, videos and exercises designed to engage adult learners.

“The reasons people resist online learning run the gamut, from ‘I don‘t learn well without a class‘ to ‘I‘ve tried it in the past and didn‘t like it‘,” reports Mike Cain, program and student services manager of UNC Business Essentials, an online business training program. “We find that most of these excuses melt away once we show them our online Business Essentials program. In fact, that resistance usually changes to enthusiasm. On-demand, online learning is much more exciting than in the past. Done right, it can be very effective." 

Look Before You Buy

For employers considering E-learning, seeing a demo is an absolute must. It is also important to develop a checklist that benchmarks the features you are looking for in an E-learning environment. Items on the checklist may include:

  • Does it allow participants easy entry and exit points? How easy is it for participants to stop and pick up later where they left off?

  • Does it offer checkpoints along the way to assess learning? Checkpoints can include quizzes, videoconferences or collaborative bulletin boards where students work on projects together or discuss a particular subject.

  • What other interactive features are included to help employees learn? Is there live tutor or instructor support available?

  • What reports are available to employers to ensure employee participation and completion?

  • Is the technology easily accessible by all participants?

  • For the less technically adept, are there clear, simple directions and tutorials for use?

  • Are there case studies included to bring the learning into the workplace and real-life situation?

Organizations with the best and most innovative management development programs are always ranked among the most successful businesses. On-demand, online learning offers flexible, high-quality learning and development opportunities to help organizations meet strategic objectives and succeed in today‘s marketplace.

Click to Download Full White Paper

Topics: leadership, high-potential talent, learning and development, e-learning