Content is everywhere. We recently wrote about the challenges that the tremendous volume of content available brings, and the need to implement strategies to apply what we’ve read. We are bombarded by emails, social media feeds, research, articles, and instant messages. With so much information available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to find the content that will truly add value to our lives.

This exhaustive volume of content freely available is leading to a shift of where companies are spending their training dollars. The learning landscape is currently experiencing a value shift—from paying for content to paying for context and immediate applicability. It is no longer enough to provide front-of-the-room, content based, learning opportunities—businesses are increasingly asking for initiatives that are tailored to the specific context of their industry, teams, and challenges.

Companies are investing more in manager-led learning. They want to put tools in the hands of team leaders so that they can work with their staff directly, and give those leaders some autonomy over what content (and why) they’re bringing to their team. There’s an increase in the number of learning channels available: web services, corporate libraries, podcast subscriptions, etc. There are so many sources of (often free) content online that it no longer makes sense to pay a premium for a content driven learning and development initiatives.

Instead, companies are turning to programs where they can see a more tangible ROI. Your clients want metrics and insights into what behavior is changing as a result of their L&D spend. A platform is an elegant solution to this problem.

A platform leverages technology, is low cost in terms of both money and time, and can deliver real-time insights into behavior change, and what is happening within a team. The metrics collected can quickly lead to insights that save money, identify problems before they manifest, and build employee engagement. Our platform—Actionable Conversations—also provides a commitment measurement tool for individual professional development.

Tellingly, the content that we provide with each Actionable Conversation module is secondary to why most clients invest in bringing Actionable to their organizations. Instead, they’re paying for context. Here’s how it works:  

Prep time for both leaders and participants is limited, intentionally, to just a few minutes of reading. The team leader then takes that small kernel of content and plants it firmly within the context of the industry and the team. After all, a conversation with a retail sales team should be different from a conversation with an industrial engineering team. Content can provide the conversation catalyst, but it’s the context that makes a big difference. By providing just a little bit of content, we make space for teams to come together around a common theme, and then apply it within the context that is relevant to them.

We know that the relationships employees have with their peers and their team leaders are an important factor in their level of engagement. By shifting the learning and development into the particular context of a team, we are able to strengthen those relationships and increase employee engagement.

This is part four of our series on trends in learning, which we refer to as “The Shifting Learning Landscape.” Read about the Need for Learning ROI, solutions for teams where Time and Attention are at a Premium, and How Technology is Driving the Demand for Learning ROI.