Skillsoft Research Establishes Books are More Important Than Ever

Mumbai: Skillsoft, the global leader in eLearning, released its white paper, A Modern Modality for Modern Learners, which explores how all types of media, including books and videos, support learners in developing new skills. The study highlights that learners overwhelmingly prefer integrated learning paths of video-based eLearning courses, books, and opportunities to practice and receive coaching.

A Modern Modality for Modern Learners is Skillsoft’s most extensive analysis of consumption patterns, user preferences, and content modalities to date. It includes a study of over 2,000 end users, client, and expert interviews, as well as a look into millions of usage patterns.

“There is an overwhelming appetite for authoritative referencing alongside modern learning modalities. Nothing provides this better than books,” said Bill Donoghue, chairman, and CEO, Skillsoft. “With five generations of employees in any given organization, there are bound to be differences in how they learn. However, we discovered that all modern learners crave relevance and substance, which is exactly what books provide.”

Key findings include:

The true learning preferences for Millennials run counter to popular belief

· Regardless of job role, function, career path, or generational group, 80 percent of survey respondents identified books as an important part of their learning experience.
· Millennials placed greater value than other generations on books when developing new IT skills (83 percent ranked books as important.) Baby boomers were at 79 percent and Gen X at 72 percent.
· For business topics, millennials, boomers, and Gen X were all within two percentage points of each other, with 80 percent of millennials identifying books as important.
· 85 percent of IT learners and 74 percent of business learners use books for increased skill development.

Gap between L&D organizations and end user expectations

· While both end users and buyers see books as an important part of learning, end users place a greater importance on this modality.
· The gap between end user preferences and buyer perspectives increases in more technical subject areas. For IT and engineering topics, end users assign importance to books at a rate of 79 percent versus 69 percent for the buyers.
· Buyers may be choosing solutions based on what appears simplest to implement, or on the marketing value, instead of the substance and depth of the offering.

Pairing books with other modalities makes a stronger impact

· As many as 82 percents of IT and Business users expressed strong interest in programs that provide hybrid learning paths with both books and self-study courseware.
· Books are preferred to other modalities when the source of the content’s credibility is important, the material is particularly complex or nuanced, or the subject matter requires in-depth study or research.
· When the learning outcome correlates to a high-stakes consequence, such as earning an industry certification, books surpass internet search, specialized communities, and other open content resources by a 2-to-1 margin.
· For soft skills and leadership subjects, learners and buyers identified book summaries and audio books as highly desirable complementary resources.