Meaningful learning is the way of the future
As business participation in learning increases, it is time to move toward delivery and channels that can show impact
Participation from business has become a norm in the learning and development (L&D) function in Indian organizations. As a result, CXO s, CMOs and CFOs are much more actively involved with the L&D of the enterprise than ever before. Consequently, the focus has automatically shifted from plain vanilla learning delivery to meaningful learning. Another remarkable trend in the learning market in India is the change in learning workflow in most organizations. Previously, learning delivery was based purely on the workflow of receiving budgets at the beginning and allocating them to learning channels such as classroom, e-learning and so on. The involvement of business has made the learning function a business function like no other, where the current and desired states are assessed, and training demand is estimated before the allocation of budgets. These moves are a step in the right direction for the learning market in India because it signals a stage in the progress towards maturity.
Scalability has always been an issue for organizations in India. The problem is much more pronounced for those which are diversified across geographies. As a result, the market for technology- enabled learning, which allows an organization to put together a scalable learning platform, continues to expand.
A key question which business leadership asks from a learning initiative, nowadays, is business impact. The question of value is primary before any learning delivery happens and business leaders as well as the ROI are watched and monitored much more closely than before.
Several other trends are shaping the delivery of learning services. Organizations are consequently looking to employ a service provider that can act as a long-term guide and consultant to align the demand and delivery sides of learning needs. Some of the delivery side trends include the following:
Event-based to continuous learning. Learning is rapidly moving away from point-in-time to continuous. Ensuring that an employee learns at each and every stage of the employment cycle is an effort that requires good understanding of several factors. The first and foremost need is an assessment of the current state of technology in the enterprise. Once this is done, an organization can implement a scalable learning infrastructure that enables multiple modalities of learning and integrates learning seamlessly to workflow. For example, the millennials who are rapidly filling up the workforce are just out from their academic environment and no longer crave to be seated in a classroom. The learning delivery has to accommodate a system that does not require only this kind of training experience.
Multi-modal learning. The new channels of effective learning include videos, podcasts, wikis, blogs and so on which allow it to be part of the learner’s everyday workflow. Delivery, thus, needs to change fundamentally, transforming into these new types of multi-modal learning which are both dynamic and receptive to new content and delivery mechanisms. Skillsoft, for example, has a social learning network for the enterprise called inGenius which has similar functionalities of common social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The social channel allows users in the system to share knowledge, evangelize on specific areas of focus or topics and be subject matter experts, interacting in the same way as open social networks.
Big data analytics has become the key to identifying how effective a learning provider can be at meeting an organisation’s current and future needs. A solutions provider with millions of existing users and years of experience and expertise offers a great advantage to organisations with rich insights gleaned from millions of data points and how they can be used to align learning to business results.
When building a learning strategy, start with the organisation’s 3-5 year business goals and identify the key capability gaps and what it will take to reach desired results. This will lead the organization to implement learning that is meaningful and effective.