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L&D professionals asked: “Shall I compare thee to a Digital Academy?”

Scotland’s leading digital learning and assessment specialist, eCom Learning Solutions, has joined in the practice of publicly making comparisons. In doing so, it has both history and popular culture on its side.

Posted 3 October 2022

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In an often-quoted sonnet, William Shakespeare once compared ‘a fair youth’ to a summer’s day; puppet meerkats help promote a website that compares various insurance quotations – and, now, eCom Learning Solutions has published a comparison between using a Digital Academy and employing an extra learning and development (L&D) professional. A Digital Academy is a tailored, talent growth portal to meet the needs and strategic goals of an organisation’s local, distributed and hybrid working audiences.

“A digital academy can be as simple as first-time learning management deployments for new or growing organisations,” explained eCom’s Chairman, Linda Steedman, “but more sophisticated corporate and enterprise solutions can include providing learning content, management and administration; skills, competencies and performance management; digital badges and micro-credentials; exams and assessments; business intelligence and reporting tools.”

Wendy Edie, eCom’s Managing Director, commented, “When you’re looking to expand the range of learning opportunities available to learners in your organisation, you could hire an additional L&D professional – to produce and deliver those learning opportunities. Yet, rather than increase your organisation’s headcount with all the responsibilities this brings in these challenging economic times, you could invest in a digital academy.”

To help employers weigh up this choice in the light of the current economic pressures, eCom has published a short paper on its website which compares the value of both choices: an extra L&D professional or a digital academy.

Leaving aside the comparison in purely monetary terms, the paper states that supporting people to become part of a high-performing team calls for additional resources in the workplace. Hiring an L&D professional will free-up resources and give the organisation control over when and how its L&D materials are developed and delivered.

On the other hand, by using a digital academy, organisations can improve communications and knowledge sharing; align knowledge, skills and competencies with business strategies; assess, advance and reward employee knowledge and skills, and improve operational efficiency and performance. Moreover, unlike L&D professionals, a digital academy is available to learners 24 hours a day every day, via the academy’s learning management system (LMS) component.

Digital academies, which can include digital assessment (eAssessment) to support, formative, summative and observational assessments, have the option to provide digital badges to allow organisations to recognise and reward learning and achievement and keep people resilient, engaged and prepared for the future.

“Whatever you decide – to employ another L&D professional or to invest in a digital academy - don’t delay,” advised Wendy Edie. “When you’re comparing these options, remember to weigh the value of doing nothing – often couched in terms of doing extra research and collecting additional data - against the total cost of not deciding at all because all that will do is result in lost productivity, lost business opportunities, lost market share and lost profits.”

For further details, please view our paper ‘A Digital Academy versus a Learning and Development Officer’.