To thrive in this hyperconnected world, organizations accelerated their digital transformation efforts to ensure their future growth. From business operations to people priorities, many elements transformed from physical-first to digital. Learning new skills became an integral part of supporting their workforce on the path to personal development, resulting in new learning priorities and needs.
New workplace priorities with the future of work
Today's 'Future of Work' construct, with the pandemic behind us, looks like a hybrid working model that creates cadences suited to each employee. Communication, collaboration, virtual leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making are the skills now necessary to succeed. The learning experience has become more crucial to L&D's success due to its distributed workforce. In delivering this experience, technology continues to play a significant role in propelling L&D to take a high-tech, high-touch route.
Learning technology trends of the future
Learning technology trends are strongly influenced by the social construct of work. According to Josh Bersin, with video everywhere, ubiquitous social media, and AI embedded in every app, learning and development are transforming in today's world. There are a variety of new technologies available today (e.g., xAPI, creator platforms, skills taxonomies, cohort and collaborative learning platforms, online coaching, and mentor networks); however, most organizations are moving away from training systems to solutions that also improve business performance.
The learning philosophy has evolved from online and talent-driven digital learning to 'learn in the flow of work' and 'capability academies.' In part, this will be driven by technologies like VR, AR, creator economy tools like YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft Teams, and video tools like Zoom, Webex, and Google Workspace. The future tech ecosystem will thus build an entirely new learning ecosystem, which will be the foundation of the learning strategy of the future. HR and L&D professionals must understand and evaluate this ecosystem to effectively utilize it.
Selecting the best learning tech for business strategy
L&D technology must integrate into the more extensive HR infrastructure and tie in with the company's business objectives. HR professionals must understand various factors to make this happen:
- Define the business purpose: Understand whether the learning technology is aligned with the defined business outcome. Identify the learning outcomes of each technological tool and prioritize which business and talent problems need to be solved.
- Understand the tech architecture: Develop a thorough understanding of the various layers that make up an effective learning strategy, i.e.
- Management and analysis of learning data
- An LMS that helps you schedule administer, track, and manage all your curricula, programs, courses, and learning materials.
- A program layer that helps employees find, search for, and discover training programs
- An LXP system that organizes and tracks learning content based on paths, curricula, and recommendations.
- An access layer that allows people to find, discover, or access learning as they work.
To make the right choice, HR professionals should examine all available options considering the existing learning technology stack as well as their content strategy.
- Build the learner experience: Deliver a great learning experience that is both engaging and intuitive. Listen to learners, participate in learning conversations, and gather feedback to enable and empower employees to excel at their jobs and careers.
- Measure and showcase success: Using performance goal measures, learning analytics tools, and employee feedback, define and track metrics relevant to your business and measure the return on investment (ROI) of learning programs and digital platforms.
Ensure that learning is aligned with business strategy first and foremost. Learning must have continued buy-in from the C-suite to truly impact corporate strategy. In other words, the results of the learning technologies should be presented in a language that the C-suite understands. It is possible only if HR professionals view learning technologies as a business-forward investment rather than a personnel investment. This business-centric approach to L&D will bring about better results for both individuals and organizations.
This article was co-written with Rhucha Kulkarni.