Hi Everyone,

trying to investigate and learn more about the concept of 'on demand' learning. Would be interested to hear whether anyone has got any insights/pieces of advice on the following points:

  • Types of 'on demand' offerings/programs provided to the learners;
  • What do you consider to be the best use of 'on demand'?
  • What limitations have you experienced using 'on demand' offerings?

  • Potential pitfalls/limitations/common mistakes to be aware of while introducing this type of learning in the organisation;

  • How to measure the effectiveness of 'on demand' learning?

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the line manager, learner, L&D function with respect to measuring the uptake and effectiveness of 'on demand' offerings? 

Many thanks in advance for your insights.

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My link to L&D is that I am the relevant procurement person in my organisation.

From my perspective, I steer clear from 'on demand' type learning as much as possible. My preferred route is set requirements; this is both easier to manage from a contract perspective but it also enables me to ensure that the course is being delivered correctly and in line with company best practice.

'On demand' learning to me is very reactive rather than proactive. This means things are rushed and the correct level of detail isnt followed.


Fully appreciate that is very much a procurement view and not that of an L&D function so am happy to have feedback on this


I think we should all be careful when we talk about on demand 'learning'.

If I think of a time when I needed to know something now (ie I want to learn on demand) what I really needed was a guide/aid to do the task immediately, not a course to provide xyz skills that would take 20minutes to an hour, by which time it might be too late.

So I'd suggest what we should be doing is investigating when/where people have their moment of need and what that need is. Then develop the right tool for that moment of need. Probably the best method is to watch people trying to carry out the task and look at what they've made for themselves. I remember 17/18 years ago delivering training on a till system with a 100 page manual. When I visited stores to follow up 1 month later they'd all made little notecards with the 3 most common tasks broken down step by step. That was by the tills and the manual was in the back office gathering dust.

As for measuring effectiveness, if the problem goes away, it's effective.

I find the term "on demand learning" too broad to discuss in detail. Even when requirements have been clearly defined (Freddie's post) and the solution design adjusts to the learner's context (Kevin's post) the topic remains too broad.

In the context of large multinationals, my experience is that a large portion of the L&D work would somehow fall under the category of "on demand", ranging from company-mandated initiatives where each team and geography independently decide the timing to jump in (the learning solution could have a complex format including prep meetings, customisation, workshops, follow-up work, reporting, etc) to just-in-time needs typical of the high-tech industry where, for instance, a software developer may need to learn quickly about a programming language or technique (the learning solution could be an online resource). Limitations, pitfalls, measurements all depend hugely on context; all I can say is "yes, it can be done, and yes it can be measured, but some organisations will benefit more than others".



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