When it comes to employee training both for deskbound and deskless employees, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of on-demand training.

In deskless industries, 23% of employees receive training only on an as-needed basis. Eleven percent receive training once a year, 32% once every six months, and another 32% once a month. For deskbound employees, 12% receive training only as needed, 8% once a year, 21% once every 6 months, and 25% once a month. 

When we consider the unforgiving steepness of the forgetting curve and the fact that without reinforcement people forget nearly 100% of what they learn 30 days after learning it, it becomes apparent that training once or twice a year simply isn’t enough.

On the other hand, it may be costly both in terms of time and money for your company to host training sessions once a week or once a month.

But you don’t have to. 

This is where on-demand training comes in.

What is on demand training?

Put simply, on-demand training is any training resource that can be accessed whenever a person needs it. It provides a flexible and convenient way for employees to learn at their own pace, without requiring them to attend specific training sessions or workshops. The aim of on-demand training is to provide employees with the resources they need to improve their skills and knowledge as they go about their day-to-day work.

Some common formats that on-demand training can take are: online courses, microlearning apps, PDFs and manuals, video courses, and more. 

The terms on-demand training and on-demand learning are often used interchangeably, and are indeed similar in nature. On-demand learning refers to any learning resource that you can access at any moment. The only difference with on-demand training is that it usually refers to a resource that is relevant to your job, or a specific objective that you’re trying to accomplish. On-demand learning usually refers to some piece of educational content that you’re interested in learning about for knowledge’s sake.

What are the benefits of on-demand training?

1. Flexibility and convenience

Because on-demand training is easily accessible by nature, employees are able to include it in their schedule as they see fit. This benefits not only the employees themselves, but also training managers who will need to schedule and coordinate fewer in-person training sessions.

2. Cost-effective

One of the most significant challenges training managers and their companies face is the cost associated with in-person training sessions, both in terms of time and money. While on-demand training likely won’t replace the in-person training that is required to get employees up to speed, it can reduce the frequency with which these events need to happen, which eases the weight of travel expenses.

3. Improved knowledge retention

On-demand training allows employees to go back to their training as frequently as they’d like, allowing them to brush up on their skills when they feel the need to, as opposed to exclusively during training sessions and workshops. This kind of training reinforcement will help your organization see a return on investment on your learning and development initiatives even faster.

4. Scalability

Whether your company has 50 employees or 50,000, on-demand training can easily scale to meet everyone’s needs when you’re using the right training platform. The platform you choose should deliver training content that is designed to be accessed on the go, and even better, should also offer offline access to your teams.

5. Increased engagement 

This benefit often gets overlooked, but employees have shown time and time again that they prefer to work for companies that offer them learning opportunities and help them feel supported in their role. In a survey of 600 deskless employees, 63% said that access to additional training would help them feel more connected to their company’s values and mission.

6. Real-time application

One of the drawbacks of in-person training (and therefore advantages of on-demand training) is that in-person training doesn’t always give employees the opportunity to apply what they just learned. On-demand training does, though, and the act of applying what was just learned is critical in helping employees internalize and remember new information.

Examples of on-demand training

There are various types of on-demand training that organizations can use to provide employees with the training they need, including:


Microlearning courses and on-demand training go hand in hand, because microlearning courses are by nature short and concise training resources that provide employees with the information they need, in a time efficient manner. You can use the power of microlearning both to reinforce training info from previous sessions, and also to introduce new concepts in easy to digest, manageable units.

Online courses

Online courses are another popular form of on-demand training. These courses are typically accessed by employees from laptop computers, either from a company LMS, or an online subscription to a learning platform. 

Webinars and podcasts 

Webinars and podcasts are very popular on-demand training resources, particularly for people who like to listen to experts discuss topics and offer advice on how to improve in their professional roles.

Topics that are a great fit for on-demand training

Product training

Product training is a great fit for on-demand training, as it enables employees to quickly access product specifications or other information that they need to help customers. This is particularly useful for retail or customer service employees who need to have up-to-date information at their fingertips.

Soft skills training

Soft skills training, such as communication or time management, is another area that is well-suited to on-demand training. This is because employees can access the training materials whenever they need a refresher on a particular skill. FAQ sections can help with customer service training, and schedule planners assist employees with time management. 

Compliance training

The truth is that compliance training falls into the category of must-have training that can’t be overlooked, while also being the least-favorite training for a lot of employees. But by making your compliance training available on-demand you can ensure that employees are up to date with the latest compliance requirements, while minimizing the inconvenience of it. By providing employees with easy access to compliance training materials, organizations can reduce the risk of non-compliance and avoid costly penalties.

Create and deliver on-demand training for your employees to access from their smartphones at any time.


What is an on-demand online course?

An on-demand online course is a training program that can be accessed and completed online, and at any time. The fact that it is on-demand means that it does not require attendance at a specific time or location.

What is the difference between on-demand and virtual?

On-demand refers to training content that can be accessed and completed at any time, while virtual refers to training that takes place in a virtual or online environment, and has specific time and/or location constraints. Note that with on-demand training, the material being delivered has been pre-recorded. Virtual training events, on the other hand, often take place live.

What are the types of on-demand training?

On-demand training can take on many different formats and types. Here are some of the most common ones: 

  • Pre-recorded video courses 
  • Mobile learning and training apps
  • Microlearning courses 
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars 
  • Learning management systems

Driving efficiency and engagement with on-demand training

Meeting your employees’ training needs is a challenge for an organization of any size. Creating specialized content for different roles and making sure that content is up to date and available as needed is an entire undertaking on its own. But investing in on-demand training will produce continuous returns, as it allows employees to learn at their own pace, and feel supported in their roles.

This is even more true for deskless employees who spend a significant amount of time away from the company’s central location, and may have limited opportunities for in-person training. By offering on-demand training resources to your employees you’ll not only help them reinforce their training and learn new skills, but you’ll also drive down employee turnover by helping them feel supported in their roles, and invested in by your company. 

Key takeaways

  • On-demand training provides flexible and convenient access to training materials for employees to learn and brush up on skills quickly.
  • Microlearning, online courses, mobile learning apps, and webinars are all examples of on-demand training.
  • On-demand training is particularly effective and convenient for product training, soft skills training, and compliance training.
  • On-demand compliance training offers a convenient way both for employees to complete their mandatory training, and for managers to know that the company has met its requirements. 
  • Organizations that prioritize on-demand training for their employees are more likely to see success in their overall training and development efforts, without spending hours or days on time-consuming and costly in-person training events.