The problem is bigger than we think. Much bigger. And senior corporate learning and development professionals have the answer…or do we?
The Future of Work is here. It arrived overnight. Are we – the corporate learning and development professionals – ready?
Research from BCG predicts that we will need to reconfigure nearly a billion jobs in this decade. That’s B. Billion. Then there’s the change brought about by new forms of employment, globalization, significant demographic shifts, the need for digital fluency (an article on its own), oh and of course, the impact of the pandemic. Did we mention systemic inflation? Geopolitical tensions?
We – the corporate learning and development community - need to move at speed and with the ability to pivot. The estimated half-life of skills is less than five years, yet for the most part, the average corporate drives learning on a mid-20th-century model: standardized education. Content focused. eLearning….!
We have been granted a fleeting moment to make a real difference: by ensuring the right skills are available as needed. In a recent BCG survey of some of the world’s biggest companies, about 95 percentof participants indicated that corporate learning is crucial to their future and should be a high priority.
This ever-increasing pace of change requires flexible thinking, quick and continuous learning, and mobility. Instead of mass standardization, we need to embrace mass individuality and a human-centered approach. In our increasingly complex world, it’s not easy to unlock the full potential of each person – but it is a problem we, as a learning and development community – must solve.
The problem is complex – but not unsolvable - and technology in all its forms is a key element in this process. But it is not the silver bullet some of our marketing colleagues in the EdTech providers would have us believe.
Technology simplifies and enables learning professionals to impact at scale and with speed – but how do you avoid the pitfalls?
"Instead of mass standardization, we need to embrace mass individuality and a human-centered approach"
EdTech is a rapidly growing industry that has exploded in the last three years, estimated to be worth about USD 85 billion (2021), growing at a CAGR of 15percent(2022-2028). This was brought about in part, but not in full, by the need to take learning experiences virtual at speed due to CV19. The barriers to entry are low and the average corporate learning professional is faced with literally thousands of vendors, platforms, and options to choose from. The ‘sell’ is slick, and, with the increasing use of mobile learning, micro-learning, gamification, learning analytics, and AI/ML; virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, wearables, adaptive and personalized learning systems, etc., etc.,–dazzling in its ease of use. And it often falls short of its promise.
How does the corporate learning professional use technology to the greatest effect?
Stop. Just stop:
1. Chasing the latest cool toys.
2. Assuming marketing and technology product roadmaps are the same thing.
3. Thinking everyone else has ‘nailed’ it - and that you must ‘figure it all out’ on your own.
Start by asking and answering in great clarity: what are you solving for? And do you have a good understanding of the root cause?
1. What is the most strategic pain point you want to solve?
2. What is the purpose? Data tracking? Reporting? Centralizing content? Virtual reach? Personalization? Collaboration? etc., etc.
3. What is the scale? Who is your target market? Integration or new (the answer is almost always integration by the way!). Mobile? Desktop? Both?
1. Be clear on your 5-yearlearning roadmap while willing to discard it in year 3;
2. Use task forces that are multi-functional – and yes, that must include a technologyexpert!!! And an end-user. At minimum. Diversity is your friend!
3. Start the search yourself – use specialized search platforms like Business Software and Services Reviews | G2 or Crozdesk | Business Software Search – there are many others, some are free, some not; and
4. Do your homework before you speak to providers;
5. Focus the time, effort, and energy of your change management plan on usage and adoption, not the launch. Launches are easy;
6. Prepare your stakeholders for a 30percentfailure rate on EdTech.
The Future of Work has arrived and with it - a golden age for learning professionals. Or, the beginning of the end, ultimately to be replaced by technology. The need is clear. What is not clear is whether the learning community – en masse – has the technological savvy to step up. Time will tell.