Last week Josh Bersin published The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things We Have Learned. In which he assesses the current Learning & Development landscape and posits some predications for how the industry will change and evolve.
I found this article really interesting and in many ways, exciting...
The predictions make sense, especially on a global scale. The question on my mind is – How are we at WDR positioned for this changing landscape?
Change takes time to trickle down to the grass roots levels, especially in such a massive industry (over $140 billion in size). The ramifications of these impending changes will affect UK businesses in some way regardless of industry, sector and size.
In this world of automation, business transformation, and continued obsolescence of skills, companies are realising that delivering on a compelling, digital learning experience is critical to business success.
The important message I take from this paper is that Digital Learning means ‘bringing learning to where employees are,’ both in terms of geography but also educationally, filling skills and knowledge gaps at the point of need.
WDR have long been practicing this idea, through providing a full range of learning experiences (from classroom to eLearning) and then supplying the structure and processes to manage the learning experiences through our Learning Management System and Managed Learning Service.
The role of Learning Management Systems
Bersin shows that the importance of such systems in L&D will be moving (or have moved in some cases) to a fully employee-centric approach.
This also fits into the current trend to further personalize learning experiences, in order to cater better for the millennial workforce (although everyone benefits from personalisation, not just millennials). At the same time that we must be trusting the employee to create and form their own learning journey, it is still important to quantify this learning for the employer. At WDR we are already developing the ability to manage employee competencies and other Human Resources systems into our Learning Management System. So when Bersin proclaims,
Today’s LMS is much more of a compliance management system, serving as a platform for record-keeping, and this function can now be replaced by new technologies.
It is exciting to receive validation for the path that we have already been carving out for our LMS here at WDR.
A facilitator of these enhanced capabilities and expansion of the learning experience is the emergence of xAPI. This has led to the rise of Micro-learning strategies and much press in recent months has been dedicated to prophesising the use of Micro-learning in terms of digital content, almost to the point of advocating the abolishment of any learning that lasts longer than 20 minutes!
Therefore it is refreshing that Bersin establishes that it is not a question of Macro- vs Micro- learning, but that instead the two should be working together and complementing each other.
His view is enforced by recent research into spacing and knowledge retention. Having a history of developing macro-learning and understanding its importance has led WDR to be wary of the micro-prophets and instead develop complementary resources for micro-learning together with our macro-learning materials.
Bersin has validated our current business choices and has highlighted two areas that we will be conducting more research into.
Shockingly it is claimed that the average employee has only 24 minutes a week to learn anything, due to many more time heavy duties and processes occurring within their working lives and environments.
When combined with recent research into the spacing effect, it is clear to see how important providing mobile content at the point of need is to the modern employee, to reinforce knowledge retention and create more effective learning journeys.
WDR therefore are currently developing a range of mobile apps which an employee can use to enhance and manage their learning and development through their workplace and personal life.
Secondly, we will be continuing our exploration into delivering social and collaborative learning.
Bersin posits, that delivery of learning may be the remit of chat and instant messaging providers – again to satisfy the just-in-time learning approach. We will therefore be accelerating our research into which aspects of these products can be used today and how can we also look further into the future.
The key takeaway for me was that if Digital Learning means that everything is learning, then as providers/facilitators of Learning & Development we must shift our focus from the act of Learning Creation to Learning Curation.
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