Let’s face it, most learning takes place at work. You lead as you go — influencing, communicating, giving feedback, dealing with conflict, guiding change, fueling innovation and more — learning from your experiences, both good and bad, and improving over time.

New digital learning tools are emerging all the time to help you learn to lead. Online courses, video and podcast training, MOOCs, e-books, mobile technologies and more can be part of the mix. They bring vast amounts of information and allow you to control the time, place and pace of learning.

One downside of this digital revolution is that it can be overwhelming. How do you focus on what matters most? What information can you trust? Does it really work? And will you just read, watch and listen — or will you actually learn and be guided to change what you do?

Ron Rabin, CCL’s senior learning technologist, gives advice on how to make the most of digital learning for yourself or for the people you are managing, developing or coaching.

Tune in to your learning goals and your company’s objectives. You’ve got to prioritize; what is important to work on? Most people should tackle only two, maybe three goals, at most, at one time. What are your leadership challenges? Are you taking a strategic, focused approach to identifying learning goals and working on them? Or do you feel like you need tips or advice as issues or tasks arise? Can you align your goals with what your organization is focused on? When you have given thought to what and how you need to learn, you can start to identify the right types of digital content for you.

Look for technology that supports your development long term. In-house programs, custom training initiatives and off-the-shelf courses have the most impact when they approach learning as a process, not an event. How will a specific leadership program prepare you for learning before the session, maximize face-to-face learning time, and help you apply what you learn to your particular workplace challenges?

Find support. Learning to lead and changing your leadership behaviors isn’t a one-and-done experience. Like other behavior change goals, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, you need systems and support. Digital learning can be more isolating than traditional classroom learning — but technology can also open the door to valuable virtual support. Is there peer support or other mechanism to find people to serve as a sounding board, motivator or feedback-giver?

CCL recommends finding in-class or peer accountability partners — people who know what you are working on, have a shared framework of understanding and can help you stay on track with periodic check-ins. We also suggest asking a boss, mentor or someone else you trust to be an at-work learning partner to help you apply lessons learned and stay committed, even when day-to-day work can pull you off.

CCL’s approach to digital learning is rooted in adult-learning research and proven leadership content. As a result, we’ve created a range of content and delivery channels designed to jump-start, accompany or drive leadership development efforts.

“CCL has provided powerful in-person leadership programs for decades and has always encouraged participants to set goals, extend their learning and find support,” says Rabin. “Now, digital learning allows us to extend the content and support we offer to reach learners not only in the classroom but back in the workplace as well.”

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