7 Must-Have Aspects to Upgrade Your L&D Programme
The World Economic Forum revealed that 54% of the global workforce will require upskilling and re-skilling by 2022. Furthermore, the need for social distancing, developing new business strategies and business disruptions are all accelerating this need for constant upskilling to keep a business afloat.
We are living in the knowledge economy, where everything is moving digital. The acceptance of this reality has been slow for us over the last decade, but now the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to accelerate this change. For the better part of the year, the professional world has been finding out the best ways to maximise remote working with the use of technology. Productivity has been central to this shift – how to build momentum despite the given constraints and how to maximise it.
The L&D function will have to set for itself clear short term and long term goals. While the short term goals are essential to meet the immediate needs of the business, the long term strategy must support the direction which the business is likely to take in the future. If you haven’t started to change the way learning is implemented in your organisation or are in the transition phase, here are a few questions that will help you get started:
● Do you have an inventory of skill your organisation needs?
● When did you last conduct a skill audit?
● How will you build a talent pipeline by up-skilling and reskilling?
● What is the role of AI & automation in L&D?
● How can L&D help you meet and add value to constantly changing business needs?
But the answer to these questions alone will not make the cut, because it is not just the top management or cost optimisation or technology alone, but employees are also looking at learning in innovative ways. Here are a few major shifts to consider when you are upgrading your L&D programme:
1. The rise of virtual classrooms:
Covid-19 has opened up new ways of delivering education. The existing classroom-based teaching model or day-long training sessions have made way for a system rooted in technology. People may no longer want to spend so much time for day-long sessions, and there is an overload of information already available on the internet.
Even before Covid-19, there was high growth and adoption in education technology. Whether it is language apps, online lessons and learning software or video conferencing there has been a significant surge in usage since Covid-19. You can’t control learning as you once may have been able to. Your students are not restricted to the information you lay out for them because there are always a million more things they can look at online.
To leverage this, you need to pick the right platform(s) and choose the content that provides structure and a clear path to improvement.
2. Learning through multiple platforms:
Along with moving away from a traditional classroom setting, L&D professionals are also adapting to new avenues. Discussion forums like Slack, social media platforms including Twitter, Linkedin, or online video content and virtual experiences are all a big part of the mix, giving L&D professionals more room.
Employees are also seeking out this kind of content. The work set up itself is becoming less formal, and this is a big indicator of that direction, and perhaps also more effective. Virtual learning is no longer simply developing courses; it is also about content consumption across platforms and constant upgrade.
To leverage this, you need to develop a multi-platform L&D strategy without diluting the learning.
To remain relevant to twenty-first-century business, corporate learning is shifting its focus from learning for learning’s sake to learning to work better. Micro-learning, as a different form of knowledge acquisition, is becoming an important facet of learner motivation and learning outcomes.
With virtual classrooms and learning through multiple platforms gaining more central focus, one-size-fits-all will not work. Instead, employees and their managers need to construct individualised programs based on career plans and performance goals. Micro-learning tasks can then be tailor-made to enable the employee to effectively and quickly close identified knowledge gaps.
Bite-sized learning, or learning as we go along, will be the most efficient way to absorb knowledge in the future. You need to reprogramme L&D such that it allows for complex subjects to be learned in concentrated proportions.
4. Continuous learning:
New digital technologies are expected to take away many jobs. They will also create several new ones. However, to grasp these new opportunities, everyone must continuously learn new skills. We will have to move towards lifelong learning rather than learning quickly. The work environment also demands agility, which means upgrading on the job.
With technology driving this change it is important to remember that continuous learning is about integration and not platforms. It means integrating across a technology stack that allows employees to learn, share and curate across all the applications they use. If we view it as a journey and not an end, it will help us stay relevant always.
To leverage this, you must focus on analyzing job roles more frequently to facilitate timely learning as opposed to one-time classroom (or e-classroom) learning.
5. Collaborative learning methods:
Continuing from the previous point of lifelong learning, we have to keep in mind the workforce average age is much younger, but the universe is more diverse with a much wider range of ages represented in the workspace, that are used to very different styles of working. Encouraging sharing of knowledge is what will set the future workplace apart from that of the past.
Collaborative resources like a common knowledge platform and tools like forum discussions, podcasts, and other interactive means are what will differentiate the current learning styles from older lessons that required periodic updating. Curating good content will raise the bar and enhance collective intelligence.
To leverage this, you should spotlight on building learning communities within your workplace or engage employees on external forums & groups.
Incorporating game elements like rules, problem-solving, points or rewards, levels and real business scenarios like simulations into learning courses are a great way to get people to engage. Loyalty programmes are an example, which companies have been using for a long time to engage customers. But how about engaging your employees using this?
It’s more than just making a course fun. It’s about providing real-time feedback and clear targets of progress to help employees meet their key result areas. It provides an instant sense of achievement and motivation to reach higher goals. All of this adds up to make learning more exciting and engaging which, in turn, makes it more memorable and more likely for employees and learners to continue through.
As it is a digital learning medium, gamification makes corporate learning programmes more measurable, helping you better optimise to meet future skill requirements of the organisation and measure returns on investment easily. Over time gamification will become an essential business improvement strategy in itself.
7. Role of Artificial Intelligence in learning:
Many of the products and services we use every day are already leveraging AI to improve the user’s experience. L&D professionals need to stay on top of fast-changing technology to optimise the learning experience and outcomes.
For instance, Organisations have a huge amount of data available to them, which they can analyse and use to optimise training programmes and learning modules. The output from this data enables L&D professionals to gain insights into the learner journey and helps them to create a training programme that drives value and enable adaptive learning as people have different learning styles.
When learning experiences have relevancy, they directly apply to a goal that learners want to achieve. People will carve out time for building skills if they think that doing so will help enhance their job performance.
Though this might be one of the last things you adopt, owing to cost implications, however the best way to leverage AI is to be data-focused and individualise training needs to generate a better outcome.
User-friendly and intuitive learning interfaces, personalised content that truly benefits each learner, and anytime learning are just some of the new-age learning trends, driven by employee expectations.
Learning and development (L&D) is, therefore, not merely an HR agenda but a key priority for business leaders, including the CEO. They should be concerned about what and how their employees learn, to ensure employee surpass productivity expectations like never before. It is vital to take cognizance of the current needs and to make learning more available and accessible, anytime, anywhere.
At Yellowspark we can help you overhaul your L&D module to keep up with digital transformation. To know more write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.