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The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and importance of Learning and Development in all organizations. The prevalence of remote workers, as well as the digital aptitude of employees has delivered new needs and opportunities for digital learning solutions. Not only are virtual platforms more necessary to unite employees across distance, they are also more commonly used and understood. These changes have enabled employers to experiment with new communication technologies and processes to support a wider variety of course modalities than ever before.
The experimentation phase is not over. According to a People Management survey, more than 50% of the Learning & Development of organizations worldwide have implemented digital solutions as temporary patches rather than long term strategic transformations. This wait-and-see approach has resulted in solutions that are “good enough,” or that “show promise” but which either produce lackluster results, or make other sacrifices in productivity, learning and security while a better solution is identified.
L&D leaders understand that these initial tools must give way, at some point, to more specific solutions designed for class sessions, collaboration and deep learning. For one, there is more pressure on organizations to adapt, reskill, and upskill their workforces. According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report, the skills reported within occupations changed by 25% in 2021, a rate of change that, if continued, will rise to 40% in only three years. That will mean that the skills required for an occupation will only last for between 2 and 3 years, moving forward.
Even if the rate of change tops out at 25%, a 4-year skills cycle would still imply the need to prioritize L&D. That is exactly what many businesses are doing. Most L&D leaders agree that their job function is becoming more strategic. They are receiving more promotions, and demand has risen faster than other positions in HR. In mid-2021, LinkedIn reported almost double (94%) the demand for L&D specialists than in the year prior (LinkedIn, 2022).
But with added rewards comes equal responsibility. There is a new trend amongst more exacting corporate executives who demand a clear learning ROI from L&Ds before they allocate budgets. These requests mandate not only that proper metrics be established, more importantly, they require valuable learning to occur in the first place.
The short-term solutions that were “good-enough” during the pandemic will not work under these new strategic demands.
Here are a few considerations for requesting and evaluating long-term tools that will replace what your organization currently has in place.
Learning & Development Solutions: Core capabilities to drive sustained skills development
‘Combining the latest learning methods with the right technology provides organizations an exceptional opportunity to improve their strategic capabilities. With the right tools, organizations can prepare themselves for the future way of working.’
— David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group
We all know that learning technology must improve, but what does that look like? What capabilities does your organization’s next generation learning tools support?
Individual Learning Journeys
Employees rank “Opportunities to Learn and Grow” as the #1 Top Driver of a Great Work Culture (LinkedIn, 2022). That response has risen 8 places in the last three years, from #9 to #1.
In a disruptive world with custom technology and cross-functional skills, individual learning journeys are the best way to ensure your L&D program can address employees’ skilling needs. Transforming your learning programs to include individual learning journeys is a true game changer. This method not only secures a successful adoption and retention by the employees but also largely prevents employee’s turnover. This one organizational capability not only drives satisfaction and productivity, it also saves the cost of searching and acquiring new employees.
The use of blended learning and blended delivery is tightly related to individual learning journeys, but it also comes from the rise of remote work and a distributed workforce. Blended learning makes use of synchronous and asynchronous, formal, and informal content and learning events from e-Learning, social, peer-to-peer and on-the job learning. L&D leaders that can support blended learning will have a much easier time deploying individualized learning journeys, as well as supporting the current workforce.
Hybrid Courses that Support Deep Learning
Delivering accessible educational content is important, but as many L&D leaders are discovering, comprehension is critical. Actual learning is the cornerstone of the organizational strategies outlined above, and without comprehension, employees do not feel empowered, and the organization does not adapt and re-skill in any meaningful way.
As a final note, both of the capabilities above will probably rely upon hybrid and virtual learning to succeed. Without the convenience of hybrid, individual learning journeys are impractical, and blended learning is a crutch, as opposed to a tool.
The temporary online conferencing solutions that many corporations still use are considered temporary precisely because they fail the comprehension test.
During a live session, comprehension is high thanks to:
- Level of attentiveness and engagement
- One-on-one interactivity and breakout group discussions
- Being able to hear and see the trainer, the content and other speakers clearly
- Accessing the content before and after the session
These aspects of live courses reinforce the material through repetition and play. Unfortunately, many of the online conferencing tools that corporations use today do not replicate these critical elements, having an adverse effect on interactivity, immersion, and ultimately learning and retention. That is why many of these tools are considered temporary.
Businesses need to deploy long-term hybrid and virtual learning solutions that are better at supporting nonverbal cues, collaboration and immersive learning. The ability to facilitate deep learning across hybrid and virtual environments is a necessity for any organization that wants to retain and engage a productive workforce. What many L&D functions have now is “shallow hybrid.” What they need is technology to create a “deep hybrid” environment for successful and engaging learning. That technology will become critical to attaining better learning outcomes and driving organizational agility and adaptiveness.
About Kevin Ramesan
Senior Product Manager, X2O Media
Kevin is an application product strategist with extensive work experience designing and managing enterprise solutions and services. He helps X2O Media develop innovative solutions and grow.
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