Reshaping Workforce Development for a Changing Landscape

By Duane Glader, Senior Director Strategic Accounts, DeVryWORKS

As technology continues to improve processes and influence the way we do business, it’s vitally important that our workforce possess the skills needed to adapt to the ever-changing corporate landscape.

When workforce skills are not there or skills are no longer relevant, organizations find themselves in a real bind. What can they do to remain competitive and succeed? In my experience as a business development leader, I’ve found the key is reskilling and upskilling the workforce. It makes sense, but it isn’t always easy. Training adults is not the same as training children, whose only “job” is to go to school. Adults have families to care for, job obligations and more constraints on their time. Learning needs to “fit” for it to work.

The best fit for the adult learner, I’ve discovered, is a blend of personalized and adaptive learning. When we personalize learning, we’re addressing the needs, context and goals to meet individual skill gap needs. Taking that one step further, implementing interactive teaching methodology to adapt and optimize learning paths based on the data gathered throughout the process, as well as the individual’s development, results in customized learning. This perfect mélange provides tailor-made learning that ultimately leads to meeting specific goals. By pairing adaptive capabilities with performance metrics, it creates an individualized learning experience for every member of your workforce.1

When your organization implements a customized learning program  so your workforce  can  keep pace with the drivers of today’s business landscape, you are investing in your talent. You are instilling a culture of continuous learning. Because of your commitment to helping your workforce grow, you may ultimately add value to your organization’s bottom line.2

I’ve spent a considerable amount of my career teaching and training. I’ve found that a customized approach to learning not only highlights what a learner knows, but also what that learner needs to advance in the workforce. Experience has taught me that everyone learns differently—and at a different pace.3 Taking learners’ different needs, strengths and interests into account and customizing a program can be a more effective approach than forcing a single traditional teaching method,
which can sometimes inhibit learning.
Consider the talent in your workforce. Each person was hired because of a particular skill set that enables him or her to perform a job. If technology (or something else) has changed the job, then it follows that the skills needed to do it have also changed. The first step to resolve the disparity is determining the gaps in learning. The next step is to use repetition to solidify the new skill or build on the old skill so that it can meet current challenges.

Technology has introduced us to new ways of doing—and learning—things. Traditional, face-to-face classroom learning used to be the only way to learn new skills. Now, however, we have added an eLearning component that has turned the tables on tradition, bringing flexibility into the mix. With “blended” learning, the learner is motivated, and the quality of the learning improves. Through eLearning, the learner takes ownership of his or her own development, controlling when the learning occurs, how consistent it is, where it is accessed and how it is retained.4

For adults, learning is a balancing act. Time, accessibility and cost all factor into the efficacy of the learning pathways. DeVryWORKS  has developed a solution. Drawing upon our long-standing position    in higher education, we have discovered an effective method for training the adult learner: blended, flexible learning options and customized learning pathways that target specific, relevant skills.

Duane Glader, Senior Director Strategic Accounts for DeVryWORKS, is recognized for his work in the software and higher education industries. At DeVryWORKS, he develops relationships between the university and many of the best-known corporations in the United States, helping them address critical organization skill gaps. An experienced business development leader, he uses his corporate instincts and practical ability to summarize, dollarize and rationalize sales opportunities and turn them into actionable proposals. Duane is also the author “Predictable Corporate Sales” which suggests proven techniques to help sales professionals achieve their goals.

1.    Kim, Eunjae, “If Personalized Learning is the Journey, then Adaptive Learning is the Waze App.” ELM, January 30, 2018.
2.    Manimaharan, Kavitha, “How Upskilling Your Team Will Boost Your Bottom Line Even if the Training Cost is High,” Talentcap, August 27, 2018. upskilling-your-team-will-boost-your-bottom-line-even-if-the-training-cost-is-high/
3.    Walker, Alyssa, “Six Things to Know About Customized Learning,” Virtual Learning Academy.
4.    Spiro, Kasper, “Added Value of e-Learning in Blended learning,” Easy Generator, September 3, 2018.