Learning and development have expanded dramatically in recent years. However, it is sad to note that in many organizations, these tools are not used to their full potential when educating employees. There used to be a time when face-to-face classrooms, lots of flip charts and pens and huge stationery budgets were employed. A trainer would present a few slides, talk for a long time and collect feedback at the end of the course to assess how the program went. In most cases, employees viewed these events as time away from work, stress and pressure and a fun thing to do. Now, the need of the hour is to embrace new methods of working and tech savvy digital tools. The user experience of a training program is as important as the course content.
L&D has gone mobile and employees are able to upgrade their skills anytime anywhere. They are not bound by the reality of traditional classrooms. They want to find their content really quickly and come back to their content wherever, whenever and on whatever device they choose. Employees want to be guided through learning paths and go through curated content in a beautiful, consumer-led experience. They look for experiences that deliver the desired learning outcomes to support, build and create world-class organizations and not only enhance their own personal experiences, but also contribute to the organization and provide value-add to it.
Using cutting-edge technology, creating hand crafted, personalized and tailored experiences to each individual’s learning and development requirements, the use of data analytics, UI, UX, adaptive user experiences, AI, machine learning and much more, efficient, effective and flexible programs are curated. Some of the methods that are used are micro-learning, content libraries with audio books, videos, and books, data visualization methodologies, practice, hands-on labs etc.
New methods of learning
Three things are involved in a learning experience – relevance, meaning, and emotion. Through real-life work experiences that employees can relate to easily, panel discussions, use of scenarios and storytelling techniques, abstract concepts are explained in easy-to-understand and concrete ways. Learning is aimed at both sides of the brain and it is linked to emotions and cognition. At the end of the Learning and Development programs, employees are able to demonstrate the new skills that they have learned, to take up a new role or continue doing their old jobs in better ways and progress to the next level in the organization.
Most organizations have a mentoring or buddy program, where an employee is assigned to a senior or a more experienced colleague. They turn to their buddies or mentors for advice on how to handle challenges, stress, deal with difficult co-workers and other work-related problems. A relationship that is beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee is formed and this turns out to be a win-win situation for both employees and the organization.
Online learning or eLearning is the way forward for Learning and Development in the corporate world. Micro modules will be taught in shorter timeframes, to provide a more focused learning and to achieve better results.
In the days gone by, employee loyalty was taken for granted. If an employee joined an organization, he or she would leave the firm only on retirement. People became comfortable in their jobs and a change was frowned upon. But things have changed now in the present age. Employees have become very focused on their career development and their attitude shows a lot of aggression in moving ahead in their growth and development. The onus is on HR to chalk out a career development path for the workforce and offer them learning and talent development opportunities, that will not only enhance their careers but will also make them more productive to the firm.