Organisations have, over a period of time, realised that “behavioural change” cannot happen as a result of an isolated learning incident, otherwise known as a “training programme”. Today, learning is seen more as a process rather than an event.
Organisations are trading full-day training programmes for learning on demand in the form of small nuggets that are available to employees for just-in time learning. Problem-based learning, experiential and action learning have evolved to new levels. Add to this the right mix of mentoring and “field coaching” programmes along with an opportunity to reach out to your co-workers via a network – you have a new, highly engaged learning environment.
At the centre of these changes in learning methodologies is surely the rapid leap in technology that we have witnessed and continue to witness. Technology plays a critical role in delivering structured learning on demand as well as collaborative user-generated knowledge-building content. For example, technology apps can be used in learning to create a secure video community that allows people to record videos and make them available for others to access at their time and pace. Peers find it easier to collaborate in skill building by posting, annotating and commenting on videos.
New learning system analytics permit training managers to easily view and generate reports on learning statistics and more quickly assess which programs are most effective.
Collaborative knowledge-sharing and cloud-based systems are critical to leverage learners’ comfort with social networking, collaboration and communication.
In the past few months, several research organisations released new studies on trends in organisational learning and a number of common trends seem to be emerging for 2013 and 2014. These include:
M-Learning: Learning via mobiles, be they smart phones or tablets, are the emerging mainstay for functional training. This is of value to employees on the move, busy executives, telecommuters and pretty much everyone in the spectrum. There is a great buzz around learning apps available for the iPad and Android devices. The power of M-Learning has been heightened by easy access to mobile 3G services, making available video learning and interactive quizzes on the go.
Social learning: This may finally be the year when social learning finally starts to gain some real headway in many organisations. It will need some high-profile case studies to show how some big organisations have made it work and the benefits flowing from it and acceptance of this method of learning will grow.
Personalised learning: Employees are interested in timely learning that can help solve their most urgent problems. This needs learning to be easy to find, and consumable wherever the learner is and whenever they need it.
Learning integration with work: In 2013, companies will put greater emphasis on learning in the workplace instead of sending folks to class or online training. Leading learning and development (L&D) operations are finding that, by integrating learning and work, they are able to make a significant contribution to the performance of every individual. This is the ultimate implementation of “just-in-time” learning – and means the L&D operation becomes far more facilitation, as opposed to training (or delivering). It means L&D must better equip managers to know how to expertly provide challenging developmental work tasks and to take their coaching skills up a notch. This approach also implies there is a delivery point for every employee – i.e. a PC, tablet or mobile phone – and the platform to be able to deliver it.