Article: Agility in Digital L&D: From static to adaptive

Learning & Development

Agility in Digital L&D: From static to adaptive

With new methods coming up through advancement in technologies and consistent efforts towards making learning easy, engaging, and accessible to learners, these trends will gain popularity based on their efficacy.
Agility in Digital L&D: From static to adaptive

Today, the world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Rapid change in technology, a significant surge in the number of smartphone users, and constantly evolving social media have changed the way people learn new things. Learning and development strategies of companies must change with time to address the emerging challenges.

The concept of making employees attend a dedicated training program for a stipulated duration has become a passé. Organizations need to adopt modern tools and techniques to make learning a part of their day-to-day life in order to enable the people to learn in the most efficient manner. Adopting traditional strategies such as “one size fit all” will neither help employees nor organizations in overcoming contemporary challenges. So while we sail through this roller coaster era of learning & development, human resource leaders must ensure they are one step ahead of the game. The decisions HR makes has significant impact on its organizations, especially when it comes to employee development.

If yesterday’s L&D was about instructor-led classes and web-based e-learning platforms, today’s workforce increasingly demands learning that’s engaging, personalized, mobile,  immersive and instant. 

So what’s to come in the upcoming years? Some of the most important trends that learning leaders need to keep track of are as mentioned below:

Video will continue to enable micro-learning

In the L&D world, there has always been the capability to create video learning materials, but most of it is too long or drawn out for learners to get any long-term value from this medium. Moving ahead, micro-learning is expected to go full-tilt with super-short video clips of less than a minute with the user-friendly facilities such as streaming of video learning contentby the learners, text messaging availability There has been research on how learners can better absorb learning when it’s delivered in small bits at a time. Because we’ve grown accustomed to accessing information instantly through a Google search, experts have predicted that micro learning could overtake formal training in the future as our attention spans become shorter (8.27 seconds) and we have less time to devote to training. This concept also underpins the continued popularity of short courses for providing targeted skills and knowledge precisely when your team members need them.

Millennials will continue to value learning and development as a prime benefit

The Bersin by Deloitte Future of Corporate Learning report advised that of all the benefits that employers offer, millennials value training and development benefits above all. The survey showed that 22% of millennials desired learning benefits, as compared to 19% wanting flexible work schedules and 14% wanting cash bonuses. It’s clear that this trend will continue as more millennials enter the workforce seeking training opportunities that they can leverage to climb the corporate ladder.

Mobile based learning accounts for 25% of all learning worldwide

For many of us, smartphones are the last thing we look at before we go to sleep and the first thing we see when we wake up. Mobile phones and devices are now so omnipresent in our daily lives that it’s a logical progression to deliver learning and development modules through mobile platforms. Making your training available on mobile phones makes it accessible to about 70% of learners! That’s a huge number, and we only see that going up. Mobile learning provides the opportunity for employees to learn when they want, wherever they are.

Social Learning is here to stay!

Social learning is not a newly introduced concept in learning, but it is certainly on the rise. This is because in most organizations, social learning or informal learning takes place through eLearning. This occurs based on the fact that not all individuals are solitary learners, and this is where informal learning or social learning comes into play. Collaborating and connecting with others who are taking the course benefits them while they interact.

Training companies have taken to integrating blogs, LinkedIn courses, and social media pages into their current training programs to ensure learners benefit more from these courses.

Social learning may also include social polling where learners are encouraged to give their opinions and rate something such as a video, and later reveal what everybody else thinks about the video. This way, learners also explore the grey spaces that remained untouched by eLearning in the past instead of just focusing on the black and white spaces.

The 70:20:10 model talks about 70 being on-the job training, 20 being learning from peers and 10 being formal learning. This 20peer learning is actually in part largely from social learning whether they are within the organization or outside. Now this may be done via social learning on corporate social and collaboration tools or externally on social media networks like LinkedIn, even Facebook. Hence, social learning is a trend to watch and adopt in today’s corporate learning courses.

Gamification& Simulation to make the learning an experience 

It may seem like a gimmick for engaging Gen Ys and Millennials, however, gamification in learning and development has the potential to deliver big results in embedding new knowledge. Taking the gaming concepts of new challenges along with the opportunity to experience a sense of accomplishment, gamification is tapping into 30+ years of game design to deliver engaging experiences that encourage learning. Offering incentives, certificates or badges upon completion of courses, encourages learners to complete their courses in a competitive manner. Similarly, the simulation concept creates real-life scenarios and challenges to offer a much effective practical experience of the reality while giving adrenaline rush to the learners. 

Use Blended learning for a wholesome experience 

Blended learning is a concept which will ensure reaping the unique benefits as offered by all the learning methods. Hence, instilling gamification, interaction and socialization, peer counselling (with your fellow participants to deliberate on a complex problem), coaching along with the traditional instructor-led training ensure maximum retention of the learning modules as well as boost employee engagement and job satisfaction. It’s no longer about L&D teams creating formal training courses, but blending a range of formal and informal learning experiences such as in-person training, mobile online learning, social discussion forums, or even virtual reality (VR).

Personalization of learning initiatives to make it employee specific 

Adaptive learning programs are so much more than static learning. These programs focus on learner requirements and their current understanding of the matter. This helps them progress at a faster pace in the subjects that they are familiar with. Thus, adaptive learning has been of great importance for mobilizing eLearning to its full potential as it pays attention to the points of interest of learners through a more personalized training.

While developing a course, it is understood that no two learners are the same and hence, with adaptive learning, learners can learn at their own pace. It accelerates the learning along with reducing the cost of content delivery. Adaptive learning works both ways in corporate training. Low and average performers can utilize it to improve their performance with time, while high performers can quickly sharpen their skills with it.

Innovations and experiments in the industry are responsible for the trends that emerge over time. With new methods coming up through advancement in technologies and consistent efforts towards making learning easy, engaging, and accessible to learners, these trends will gain popularity based on their efficacy. Hence, it is an absolute must to create the perfect marriage of great content and great technology amidst all the numerous options of learning. As an industry professional, you must pay attention to newer techniques being implemented and development in training on a regular basis. Thoughtfully drafted strategies can then be laid out based on these for business growth.

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Topics: Learning & Development

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