Digital natives are not sequential learners and like to access information based on topics that are important to them
Like most things, learning is slowly but surely moving to a digital or e-format. Similar to other moves to the digital format, there is a question in many people’s minds – will it be as effective as sitting in a classroom? This is similar to the questions that were asked when Netflix first came in with their digital movie subscription plans (Will we able to watch a movie off the internet and not in a theatre or via cable?) and when cab aggregators introduced apps to solve local mobility issues. It is a matter of time before these questions are replaced by confident moves towards e-learning.
An e-learning platform should not just be a course repository. It has to be user-friendly and an adaptable environment where learners can chart their own paths based on their personal and organizational objectives. Digital natives are not sequential learners. They are like search engines where they like to access information based on topics that are important to them. Any e-learning platform should enable this learning behavior. The other aspect of digital natives is that they have multiple devices. If they can have a seamless view of their e-commerce cart across their laptop, tablet and mobile or a Netflix movie across multiple devices, they will expect the same from learning as well. At Pluralsight, we have found that our learners use our platform as much outside of work as they do during work hours. Learners can start a course on their phone on the way to work, continue it on their laptop or PC or desktop during work hours and switch to a tablet or another mobile device while at home.
Analytics is equally important today, as it constitutes the ‘meta’ aspect of learning i.e. learning about how we learn. For a plan manager, analytics plays an important role in providing a viewpoint on ROI from e-learning – are the employees spending time on the platform, what courses they are taking, how frequently are they learning etc. If they are prescribing a learning path to their employees, analytics helps track progression on those paths at an aggregate and individual level. Managers can also recognize which employees learn more than others, within their organization.
There is currently a trend in which many companies have started to allow or are planning to allow employees to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for their learning needs. In order to keep the BYOD experience seamless and secure, companies are integrating learning solutions into their Single Sign-On (SSO) framework, which enables employees to learn using their own devices but under the ambit of the company’s security policies.
L&D today is in a very good space as it is transforming itself by closely aligning with what the business requires to succeed. That time is on the way out when an employee would go through x hours of training which was mandated by the company’s HR policy, in isolation from both the employee’s personal growth and the company’s priorities. Skilling today is being driven very closely by how the company perceives itself and therefore wants its skill pool to align with its self-concept. In this context, e-learning, which has democratized professional learning, can serve as a career catalyst.