Upskilling in L&D: How to Go Beyond Content

2 minutes

If you have been looking to “solve” upskilling in the world of Learning and Development (L&D), then no doubt you will have come across content-dominated solutions. But is this the answer? 

L&D thought leader, Egle Vinauskaite, doesn’t seem to think so, and has highlighted a common misconception in the industry: that providing stand-alone content does not equal upskilling.

At Guider, we couldn’t agree more with her insights, especially her emphasis on real human interaction and structured learning processes as the keys to effective skill acquisition. Within this article, we’ll review points in her post and explain how Guider software aims to support content-focused initiatives with human-powered learning. 

LinkedIn post by Egle Vinauskaite, highlighting that content does not equal upskilling.

What is upskilling?

In a corporate setting, upskilling refers to the process of providing employees with advanced training and education to enhance their existing skills and acquire new ones. This strategic approach focuses on continuous professional development, ensuring that the workforce can meet current and future job demands. Upskilling empowers employees to progress in their careers and adapt to evolving industry trends and technological advancements.

Read more on the importance of upskilling and reskilling your workforce 📖

The limitations of content alone

Content, shared on LMS, LXP or other platforms, serves as a crucial foundation, providing the theoretical knowledge necessary to begin the learning process. Here are points raised, with additional limitations that occur when only providing content for your employees. 

Content provides a baseline

Through skill development, you should always have access to descriptive, relevant content. As Vinauskaite mentions “it may be the beginning of skill development, but not the whole thing”. Content is a useful reference throughout all stages of skills development and after – but, as you can see, there’s a missing link here.

Skills require practice

Reading about effective communication doesn’t make someone an excellent communicator, and, while we can learn a lot by watching a video, this wouldn’t magically make us an exceptional leader. Real skills require practice, feedback, and reflection—all elements that content alone cannot provide.

Lack of personalisation

Another limitation, and core focus of this year’s Learning Technologies, is the lack of personalised content. With the help of AI, this is getting easier. But you are adding more time, administration and cost to make content bespoke to every employee. 

Human-powered learning: what does it really mean?

At Guider, we believe in ‘human-powered learning’ but what does this really mean? Human connection is proven, even in remote contexts, to accelerate learning, knowledge retention and upskilling. We believe that technology and content should be used and tailored to support human connections in learning.

We see the impact of peer learning, which encompasses mentoring, coaching and sponsorship practices. Our platform is designed to transform traditional content-based learning by empowering meaningful peer learning relationships between employees within the organisation. Through perfect matching algorithms, learners can interact with experts based on their desired skills and experience.

What can support upskilling?

Vinauskaite mentions powerful initiatives that, in addition to appropriate content, will support and accelerate upskilling. While we don’t include VR simulations, Guider software supports almost all of her suggestions. Here’s how we align with what she recommends:

  • Mentorship programs: Naturally, we’ll start with mentorship. Our platform allows you to formalise mentoring, design programmes to your needs and match mentors and mentees based on specific skills and learning goals, ensuring that each pairing is optimally positioned for success. Learn more about how it works here.
  • Project-based learning: Mentorship enhances project-based learning, providing a sounding board to discuss plans, challenges and solutions.
  • Case study discussions: Mentors naturally encourage case study discussions, enabling mentees to apply new skills in real-work scenarios under guidance.
  • Peer review sessions and reflection practices: With one central platform for peer learning, Guider software can make reflection and peer review sessions highly accessible and structured. Learners (and mentors!) can receive constructive feedback, crucial for refining skills and enhancing professional growth.
  • Communities of practice: Guider is regularly used to support Employee resource groups and learning communities, creating environments where shared knowledge enhances the learning experience for all members. Supporting these communities with formal programmes to match, meet (even virtually) and practice skill development is invaluable. 

Insights from Guider’s CEO 

Expert in the L&D game for over 8 years, we asked our Founder and CEO, Nick Ross, to share his thoughts: 

“We see this misalignment time and time again; businesses believe that adding more content, additional training or hiring expensive external consultants to support their initiatives will improve upskilling. But here’s the bottom line: this doesn’t drive engagement, let alone make learning more personalised. 

L&D professionals underestimate a crucial resource – their own workforce. Our clients are using Guider to connect the right employees, scale mentorship and, for the first time, accurately track upskilling in real time. This is what I think Vinauskaite is getting at – creating a real community for learning, practice and reflection.”

Take the step to upskill

We understand that content is just the starting point – we need it too. Our platform includes our Learning Hub, packed with resources that help learners and mentors maximise their mentoring experience, from structuring effective sessions to engaging in meaningful reflection. However, we know that the true transformation in skills development comes from the interactions and shared experiences that our platform facilitates.

As Egle Vinauskaite emphasises, real upskilling is about connection, practice and reflection. At Guider, we’re proud to provide the tools and community that make this continuous improvement possible through real-world practice and human-powered learning.Explore our platform to see the possibilities for yourself in a no-obligation call with our expert team. Start your journey to a more skilled, engaged, and dynamic workforce today. Discover how with Guider.

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