Written by Anupama Lal on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)
The emerging context –
Employees certainly consider learning to be an integral part of the value proposition organisations can offer. They want to build portable skills that will be useful for them, not only in the flow of work currently, but which will also add to their profile for future opportunities. They want employers to be secure in the knowledge that investments made in their skill development will benefit the organization here and now and an another organization later. At the same time, they want learning to be a social experience – fun and engaging.
Employers also want to quickly and effectively upskill and reskill their workforce to meet the requirements of this VUCA world. They want to be able to assess current skills levels and build a capability map for skills required in the future, given how quickly skills are becoming obsolete.
Readiness gap –
Are organisations ready to tackle these emerging trends? More than 50% organisations believe their learning approach is not positioned to meet future work needs. Scrap learning (the gap between training that is delivered but not applied on the job) ranges from 45% to 80%. Learner engagement scores continue to pose a challenge – infact with the pandemic, learner engagement using virtual platforms has seen mixed responses – while it has helped build scale, it has not been the best way to nurture skills.
The role of technology –
Technology is a key enabler in helping create an agile and adaptable learning experience. In the past, deploying learning technology meant setting up an LMS. Now, most organizations have a bouquet of technologies that include next generations, Learning Management Systems (LMS), Learning Experience Platforms (LXP), Learning Content Management Systems (LCMs), Learning Record Systems (LRS), microlearning platforms, simulation tools, and more. The pandemic accelerated action with more than 45% companies making investments in new learning technology.
However, organisations need to be cautious of what they invest in and why? Often, investments are made in the new and shiny in demand products and platforms, but little thought is given to how these platforms will interact with one another to create a seamless experience for learners and all other stakeholders. Research suggests that many organisations are still shy in making the right investments in learning technology or under use the platforms that have been bought e.g. about one third learners say their learning system can curate content and just under half say the system provides opportunities for coaching and mentoring. Further, organisations and learning teams do not have mechanisms to source learning data that will help understand skill gaps and map future needs of the organisation.
What next –
To address the emerging needs of learners and organisations, it is time to get effective in bringing technology, data, and brain science together to ensure the learning eco-system is well-integrated while keeping learners at the center. These are what are called ‘Adaptive Learning Systems’. Using AI, learning products and platforms should be talking to one another and creating a personalized learning road map for each learner. Taking a leaf out of modern-day marketing and consumer behaviour patterns, learning teams and systems should be immersed in data on how learners are behaving, what do they like and learn. It is important that the system speaks to the learner directly, links them to others who are learning about similar topics. The future of skill development is anchored in studying the learner closely and helping them create a personalized approach to career development. This can happen only with the right technology investments and keeping learners and stakeholders at the center to collaborate with one another.