We live in the internet age. The mantra driving successful enterprises is "move fast, break things". Economies, industries and business models are being constantly reinvented through digital disruptions. Enterprises are constantly re-tooling themselves and its employees to stay relevant.
Employees' academic qualifications and background are becoming increasingly ineffective in a world wherein most impactful innovations and disruptions (inexistent a decade back) are making a huge difference. Such disruptions used to be restricted to only the technology function alone but now this trend has engulfed almost all functions in all industry sectors.
Banking industry is being disrupted by digital wallets, bitcoin and distributed ledgers while the overall customer service function is being upturned by algorithms and chatbots bringing in a tumultuous change.
For enterprises to identify opportunities in this rapidly evolving landscape, understand the change implications & demonstrate agility in adoption, its employees need to be continually learning. This has to be aligned with the employees' interest as they are constantly worrying about obsolescence of their skills and qualifications in today's world. Successful enterprises leverage this as an opportunity to engage better with their employees by offering them a thriving learning ecosystem and thus enabling itself for market competitiveness.
As with any transformation, digital is a key enabler in infusing lifelong learning into an enterprise. By using the familiar characteristics of digital - ubiquitous presence, gamified engagement and analytics driven insights, this transformation can be implemented successfully.
One significant barrier for employees to constantly learn is lack of time and attention deficit. Many of them constantly complain during performance appraisals of their inability to align their schedules to the training calendar and to spend long durations away from work for classroom training. In addition to this, learning and development teams struggle to create training programs spanning emerging niches, specializations. Most of the employees, especially those in sales and front-line roles are constantly in the field with limited access to resources in their office premises.
Digital can provide employees with anytime learning in the topics of their interest at their own pace by personalizing the learning experience.
Key tenets of successful digitalization of enterprise learning include:
1. Learn based on interest
2. Right sized learning
3. Anywhere learning
4. Universal credentialing
Employees keep themselves informed by learning from trusted online sources on the key developments in their field of interest. Learning isn't confined to Learning Management Systems. Employees learn from Wikis, through gamified simulations and on their mobile phones. Tin Can APIs (also called experience APIs -xAPI) allow employees to learn using the medium of their choice and provide them learning credits for activities outside the conventional Learning Management System.
Digital learning ecosystems allow users to subscribe to channels aligned to their interests. Learning & Development team can curate trusted sources relevant to the enterprise from which content can be automatically fetched and published on a learning stream. By tapping into the best of the www resources and providing learning credits, employees can be nudged to learn continuously from the best sources with very little manual effort.
As with any transformation, digital is a key enabler in infusing lifelong learning into an enterprise.
One of the scourges of online learning is an intimidating array of learning assets of varying sizes and complexity. Research has proven that users dis-engage when training videos are longer than 5-6 minutes.
Digital content needs to be right-sized to ensure that the user can grasp a concept quickly, assess his understanding through a short quiz and acquire a micro-credential on the topic. By understanding the level of proficiency, learning style and Ebbinghaus forgetting curve such micro-assets can be targeted algorithmically to the learner so as to serve their ongoing learning needs.
It is typical of employees to have long commute hours or have periods of time when there is significantly less workload. By combining micro-assets of short workloads with push notifications delivered on a mobile device, users can be nudged into learning at every available opportunity.
Push notifications timed based on user's preferred timings of learning in the past, calendar availability can make a significant impact in making users complete their targeted learning mandates.
Mobile learning can also leverage offline content storage to enable employees to learn when they have limited to no connectivity. Field-force employees can benefit significantly by learning solutions that work offline and publish progress & performance data back to the cloud once connectivity is re-established.
Traditional learning and development resulted in learning credits that are visible and valued only within the organization. Increasingly employees seek to pursue learning from publicly accredited MOOCs or OEM partner certifications. They want to improve their employability by posting their skill/certification credentials on social platforms like LinkedIn.
By integrating external learning resources that are LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) standards compliant, employees can reap twin benefits of complying with their enterprise mandate and fulfilling their overall skill development and career enhancement goals. This is a significant incentive for employees to constantly learn and advertise their accomplishments in their digital social circles.
Balaji Sankaran, Head - Consumer Technology
Mr. Balaji Sankaran is currently the Head - Consumer Technology of Manipal Global Education Services, a leading higher education service provider. Balaji focuses on defining digital strategy and effecting enterprise-wide digital transformation leveraging cloud, mobile and AI.