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“Future of Work” demands transformation of learning and development (L&D)

Today’s disruptive working landscape requires organizations to largely restructure the way they are doing work, which has a significant impact on the capabilities business leaders expect from their people.

 

As technology races ahead, skill gaps have appeared, widened and morphed.  In addition, automation may displace 85 million jobs by 2025, whereas time now spent on tasks will be equally divided between people and machines. For these reasons, workforce roles will change, and so will the skills needed to perform them. Learning and work go hand in hand — therefore, the future of learning is deeply entwined with the future of work.

For more exhaustive treatment on Future of Work and Job Market please visit: The Future of Work: How Automation and AI are Changing the Job Market

Many leaders are aware of this so-called upskilling and reskilling need and admit that learning is no longer only a retention measurement but becomes key in realizing business strategy. According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2022 research study, 76 percent of companies say competency, skill gaps and inadequate learning technology negatively impacted their L&D organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.

 

The Future of Learning focuses on the role of learning technologists in both online and face to face learning, the challenges faced and solutions to support learning, the value that technology brings and explores what the future of learning will look like beyond the crisis.

 

L&D will need to undergo a significant transformation to successfully reimagine learning.

L&D stands for learning and development. As one of the main responsibilities of any organization’s HR department, the purpose of great L&D is to provide employees with the skills and knowledge they need to grow in their roles while helping grow the company, as well. Your learning and development strategy should, by nature, reflect the business goals your company is aiming to achieve.

 

Learning is no longer only a retention measurement but becomes key in realizing the business strategy.  L&D is much more than providing training for the workforce only. In the future of work, L&D is about building a culture of continuous learning throughout the organization. In essence, it is about building a culture of continuous learning throughout the organization that emphasizes the role of coaching, feedback, leadership, and ownership.

 

Today we can observe that, although the skills gap is one of the main concerns of business leaders, the workforce only has limited time available to dedicate to learning. L&D needs to think about how learning can be integrated in the flow of work, so that the workforce and business is able to grow as much as possible given shorter, faster and integrated learning.

 

On the one hand, the workforce should receive continuous learning opportunities in the form of bite-sized or micro-learning stimuli, implemented in their daily working environment. On the other hand, the workforce should be able to immediately retrieve relevant learnings whenever they need them in their work environment, an on-demand leaning if you wish.

 

Most L&D functions entrust full responsibility to the individual learner in terms of selecting learnings that are in line with their direct needs and interests.  Although these self-selected learning plans have shown to be beneficial for individual learner engagement and accessibility, there is always the risk of losing connection to actual individual and business needs. Therefore, an optimal balance between organizational steering based on strategic priorities and individual responsibility based on self-assessed needs and interests in selecting relevant learnings is of big importance.

 

The recent coronavirus pandemic saw an immediate closure of schools and colleges as lessons moved from students sitting in classrooms to sitting at home, learning online. For many organizations, this initially meant transferring predominantly or completely face-to-face learning into the virtual realm.

 

In many organizational cultures, learning seems to have become more informal, perhaps as a result of a lack of designated physical space and time to conduct training–and an increasing trend towards self-directed learning as part of spaced learning journeys.

 

According to a recent LEO-hosted webinar about virtual-first L&D capability building, the major
focuses for future L&D capability building are:
• Virtual-first learning design: Virtual-first learning design makes learning more widely accessible, time-flexible, and cost-effective. It enables you to simultaneously roll out the same training to a global workforce, or over a short period when accounting for time zones. For many students and teachers, virtual learning is now a part of everyday life.
• Collaboration and social learning strategies
• Integration of coaching and performance-focused learning
• Empathy in learning design: According to social scientists, human beings are wired to relate to one another and feel a sense of belonging. We respond readily to affection and understanding. According to Theresa Wiseman, the four attributes of empathy are putting yourself in another person’s shoes, understanding their feelings, accepting them non-judgmentally, and communicating with them to make them feel assured and cared for.
• Tapping into emotion, imagination, and energy of your learners
• Prioritization of measurement in learning

Digital technologies and AI

Technology is shaping learning for the future artificial intelligence and developing digital technologies are performing tasks in the workplace and education settings, changing the jobs we do and naturally transforming the future landscape of work and study.

 

The tremendous development in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has paved the way for e-learning. The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world like nothing before. This brings us great learning opportunities by having access to large amount of information with benefits in terms of time and cost savings.

 

According to Forbes, AI allows businesses to better understand a customer and their learning journey. With AI in learning and development, employees can arrange their personalized learning material, decide on their objectives, and gain information based on their learning styles and preferences.

 

AI can compute and combine big data sources and identify the gaps in an individual’s knowledge. Then, depending on these disparate data, learner profiles can be created, which can enhance the overall learning experience and teach new skills to an employee. AI-backed L&D programs can automate the learning process while improving the engagement and reinforcement of the training program.

 

When AI in L&D training courses are used, programs can be developed keeping in mind the different learning styles of the employees. This will allow them to learn the personalized content at their own pace and meet the criteria set by the company. It helps the learners and the company save time.

 

 

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is gaining popularity in various HR arenas, and learning and development may be a particularly good fit for the technology because VR can, at times, provide more realistic training, which could improve employees’ overall work performance.

 

Virtual Reality offers the potential for an extremely engaging and immersive experience that could present real opportunities for learning and development. Recently Investors such as Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony have all launched hardware products that now make the promise of an effective and accessible virtual reality.

 

Virtual Reality based learning can now be tracked courtesy of Tin Can, or xAPI, and actual learning and performance metrics are captured during the virtual reality course. The VR course on public speaking built by eLearning Studios is a superb example of measuring and evaluating a learner’s performance metrics in this VR environment. The ability to track to the LRS and LMS provided by the xAPI protocol effectively overcomes one the key reservations as learning statements can now be generated within the VR experience.

 

Social and collaborative

We currently have a “Netflix model” of learning. There’s a lot of content, which is great, and it’s all searchable and organized into playlists. But the next step is to move to a “YouTube model” of learning, where anyone can upload content and we can knowledge-share at scale.”

 

Social and collaborative tools are among the highest priorities for companies looking to elevate learning programs for employees, customers, and partners by capturing learning as it happens, in the flow of work. Social learning facilitates collaboration organically, especially in an e-learning environment, in which insights are shared and valued across the entire organization by curating knowledge capital, filling knowledge gaps, and cultivating a culture of learning.

 

Mobile Learning

Mobile learning – and the ability to deliver it – has gained major momentum in the L&D industry, as learners are no longer confined to learning in a single environment, at a specified time. Instead, mobile learning applications enable access to learning anywhere, anytime – even if an internet connection isn’t available, while synching progress once the learner comes back online. Mobile-ready course content is also key to the success of any program in today’s enterprise environment to maximize the flexibility your learners desire.

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.ey.com/en_be/workforce/the-ever-growing-importance-of-l-d-in-the-future-of-work

https://www.docebo.com/learning-network/blog/future-of-learning-development/

https://www.madcapsoftware.com/blog/the-impact-of-ai-in-learning-and-development/#:~:text=With%20AI%20in%20learning%20and,criteria%20set%20by%20the%20company.

About Rajesh Uppal

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