Article: Building a Learning Ecosystem

Learning & Development

Building a Learning Ecosystem

As per Pluralsight & IBMR Research, technology industry growth will happen in Big Data and Digital Technologies but clearly, the skill gap between demand and supply of skilled talent in these technologies is a huge concern for businesses.
Building a Learning Ecosystem

India will be the country that will have world’s largest developers by 2017 when we will overtake the US in number of developers. But the reality is that these engineers will need to be skilled with the technologies that are the forefront for business to leverage this skill asset. As per Pluralsight & IBMR Research, technology industry growth will happen in Big Data and Digital Technologies but clearly, the skill gap between demand and supply of skilled talent in these technologies is a huge concern for businesses. The Study also asked by business leaders about their top 3 challenges in delivering their business: 70% cited the quality of skills is the #1 challenge, followed by keeping pace with the change of technology (60%). It is interesting to note that traditional business challenges like OPEX etc. where not in the top 5 challenges of business leaders today. This is how high the need for skills is on the priority list. 

There are two of factors that accelerate this tension in the organization. Externally, the pace of technology change is accelerating. Arun Rajamani, Country Head, Pluralsight, talks about “ the two-year half-life syndrome,” every two years, half of the skills you know are obsolete, and it becomes that much harder for engineers to keep up pace with their skills upgrade.  Internally, is about answering critical strategic questions like “will you build the stock or will you buy the requirement?” The answer has a clear business implication because hiring from the market is expensive and in many cases, these technologies are not even available; however training on news skills that employees cannot use at work can lead to higher attrition. It is a strategic decision and a cost-benefit analysis that need to do, and it is at the core of the discussion that all of us need to understand is that this shift is going to continue. 

Here are some of the key findings of the Pluralsight & IBMR research on L&D - An Indian IT Perspective:

What does business want?

The research surveyed heads of delivery, project managers, people who have competency centers. The top two areas which they came back to us were first, quality of employee skills (70 percent agreed that is their #1 concern) and second was keeping pace with technological changes (60% of respondents agreed that was their #1 concern). The business demand for cutting-edge skills exist, but the challenge is fulfilling it due to lack of available skills – both internally and from the market. 71% of respondents said that the problem is to find the right technical talent in the market, and 61% cited retention of critical skills is a significant problem as well. The Study shows that irrespective of the industry, finding and retaining high-skilled talent is a huge problem, along with keeping pace with the changing technology.

The Study also asked business heads what they want from the L&D leaders. 97% of respondents said that L&D is critical to creating a competitive edge for the organization.  The requirement from business if for L&D to focus on two big areas: Developing high-potential employees (54% business leaders said that should be the #1 focus area for L&D leaders); Second, was talent retention (52% business leaders cited that L&D should focus on talent retention. 

Where are L&D efforts going today and how is L&D fairing?

L&D is spending most of their training effort and budget on mature skills that are needed for the here & now of the business, skills that keep the engine going. The challenge is that there are very few companies that are spending efforts and budgets into new-edge and futuristic skills. Organizations should focus on investing in building capabilities in technologies that futuristic, that could bring higher margins to the business and where skills are not available in the market. That is what creates competitive advantage. 

New methodologies of learning

The US on an average spends about $1,800 per employee per annum across all scopes of learning as per Bersin by Deloitte. The practitioners, as per HBR Study, say that 80% of the learning happens on the job and not in classrooms or the models that L&D prescribes but really on the job. Bersin by Deloitte cites that 70% of leaders said their problem is that they cannot find the relevant skills.  Here is the paradox, organizations are spending money, while they know that most of the learning happens on the job and clearly those investments are not yielding results as a majority of businesses still feel that lack of skills is the biggest challenge. There is a need to revisit learning methodologies that are blended in nature, that incorporate and account for differences in learning styles and provides the choice to the learner. While traditional instructor-led models are becoming more and more challenging to scale, organizations are moving to a marketplace model, where learner takes control of his/her learning journey.  Whichever learning model your organization chooses to adapt and evolve, it is critical that the learning efforts make use the SMAC technologies available today. When establishing the culture and ecosystem of learning, L&D leaders need to account for the new technologies: Mobile and learning on the go; virtual and cloud – anytime & anywhere learning; gamification; social learning and collaboration; Data analytics and predictability. 

As you think about redefining your learning ecosystem and strategy, these will be some of the considerations that will be absolutely critical. 

Source: Pluralsight & IBMR Learning & Development – An Indian IT presented by Arun Rajamani, Country Head & GM, Pluralsight at the People Matters – Pluralsight roundtable series. 



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Topics: Learning & Development, Learning Technology

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