Intelligent use of digital technology can give businesses a significant competitive advantage. It allows businesses to be agile, flexible and disruptive. But as an organisation, you still need to prepare your people to adapt to this dynamic, shifting environment. So, how can L&D use technology to train people to deliver a competitive advantage?
The challenge of the new economy
ICT has transformed modern business and overturned traditional notions of best business practice. We see online firms driving traditional bricks and mortar companies out of the high street. As consumers, we benefit from the disruptive approach of an Uber or Airbnb. Terms like ‘gig economy’ and ‘zero-hours contract’ have entered the lexicon, reflecting the shifting pattern of employment and the way we work today.
Yet, if the old ways of working are being challenged, some things remain constant. One of them is the need to have well-trained, productive people. In fact, the demand for people with existing skills and for people who can quickly acquire new skills has never been greater. That demand brings increased pressure on L&D.
A new kind of L&D
While working practices are changing, notions of training and learning have lagged behind. L&D is often structured quite rigidly with training seen in terms of something that has to be completed before work can properly start. And that training, whether in the classroom or via an LMS, tends to be based on courses that are designed for maximum coverage rather than designed for individual needs or recognition of existing knowledge and skillsets.
Despite embracing new technology in the form of e-learning, L&D can seem remarkably inflexible. Also, L&D faces a revolt by learners who look elsewhere for instant access to the information they need when they need it: search engines, social media, wiki sites and individual apps on their mobile devices.
How then is L&D to respond to this disruption to its traditional approach? One thing’s for certain if L&D doesn’t respond to these new economic challenges, it’ll cease to have relevance.
How LXPs meet the L&D challenge
The development of Learning Experience Platforms provides L&D with the opportunity to re-invent itself and respond to the realities of modern working life. In focusing on the experience of learning, rather than its organisation and management, LXPs offer a bottom-up approach. This means putting the learner at the center and giving the learner control and access to the information and training he or she needs.
The volatility of the modern workplace with people changing roles and jobs more rapidly means it’s harder to categorize them. The idea of a one-size-fits-all approach to learning as with the traditional training course no longer applies. Instead, L&D needs to recognise what people already know as well as what they need to know. LXP core features like a Google-grade search engine, recommender systems powered by AI, and embedded chatbots mean that learning resources can be tailored for and targeted at individual learners. This personalisation of learning is critical for modern businesses that have a transient, ever-changing workforce that needs to adapt to new challenges and roles.
The right amount of content
LXPs’ ability to store and curate a variety of content sources and types means existing content can be repurposed, recycled and reused as microlearning. Gaps, easily identified using the LXP’s impressive array of data-gathering tools, can be quickly filled by creating and uploading new content using widely available tools like video or voice recording apps on digital devices.
And, what’s more, the LXP can handle user-generated content. So, it’s not just about learners pulling the information they need rather than having it pushed at them, but also about enabling experienced employees to share the benefit of their knowledge giving advice and tips that can be easily recorded, uploaded and curated in the LXP. In a world where people move on all the time, this is a way of capturing what they know and ensuring that their knowledge and experience don’t walk out of the door when they do.
As Chief Product Officer, his focus is now on developing Learning Pool’s product portfolio and strategy. For the wider industry, he’s also focused on helping companies learn from employees’ collective experiences, on the role of self-directed learning in the workplace and on social learning, gamification, and xAPI.
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