As organizations embark on digital transformation to rev up their growth, they need to transform their talent to thrive in the new and build a mindset for lifelong learning. Leaders and employees across businesses have realized that learning is the most critical capability to unlock potential for the future. To cater to the rapidly changing demands of business and the new reality of work, learning needs to be intentional, personal, and immersive.
In her keynote at People Matters L&D Conference 2020, Lakshmi C, Managing Director – Human Resources Lead, Accenture, India, shared, “To design an immersive, intentional, and personal learning experience, L&D leaders need to look from three lenses: Learner, Content, and Enablers.
Accenture has invested in a lot of research to see how learning is evolving. There are several factors influencing and shaping how we learn. These factors include new discoveries in brain science on how people learn, trends such as human and machine interaction, and advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The L&D leaders have to be mindful of all the factors and look at redesigning learning from three lenses: Learner, Content, and Enablers.
Designing for the foraging learner
Today’s professionals are more independent and want to forge their own career paths. They derive more from their own personal curiosity and passion. They will forage for three things: Knowledge, experience, and connection. And while seeking these, they will not necessarily be constrained by any institutional boundaries, policies, or technologies. They will rather have access to a plethora of content available 24*7, with the flexibility to choose when and how they want to learn.
It will be the organizations’ responsibility to feed their curiosity and encourage their self-directed lifelong learning, by making sure they have access to content, experiences, and expert interactions, internal or external.
Reinventing immersive experiences
Learning that is entertaining is long-lasting and can be applied more easily. Approaches like storytelling and game-based mechanics and technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) can be used. “At Accenture for the last couple of years, we have been running a game-based new joiner initiative leveraging VR. And the feedback shared by the participants has been truly phenomenal,” shared Lakshmi.
Organizations need to invest in building storytelling and game-based techniques among their L&D team to enable them to create immersive learning experiences.
Designing personal learning that fits
While technologies and people analytics will help in identifying the capability gaps, the leaders also have to invest in knowing a lot more about the learner. They need to be aware of the learner’s previous learning patterns, know what are the skills and proficiencies they bring, what are their aspirations, and what kind of assignments have they taken up before. When this research is done right, personal learning will not only benefit the individual but also the business.
“Personal learning will help the individuals in their career aspirations and benefit the organizations financially, as it would lead to less wasted training,” shared Lakshmi.
Designing for intelligent curation
The human attention span is shrinking rapidly and with the rise of on-demand content, there is even less tolerance for irrelevant training. So how should L&D leaders set out on a conquest of intelligent curation? Lakshmi suggests three things: Keep the learner at the center, curate before you create, and when you do create design for reusability and discoverability.
Look for what is already out there, the available content that fits the needs of the learners and their unique ways of learning. If you create, be careful how you design the program, how you market it, and how you tag it. This is what entails deliberately designing for intelligent curation.
Brain friendly learning
When you trigger the emotions of the learner, that's when they are engaged. Lakshmi shared that what they have seen work is, “getting learners to solve real authentic problems.” Besides providing context, relevance, and applicability of the job, solving authentic challenges stimulates the learners' brains. It triggers emotions and makes the entire learning experience more memorable.
Further, when the brain is stressed, it is not in a state to learn. It needs time to reflect & assimilate all the information. When learning is spaced out it increases retention and helps learners to relate it with the real world.
As Lakshmi, rightly said, “Look at learning as a journey and not just an event.”
With this perspective, L&D leaders must focus on creating more immersive, intentional, and personal learning journeys for learners, such that learning is stickier and impactful.