Article: Designing learning for the future

Learning & Development

Designing learning for the future

How do L&D leaders design a learning program to prepare their workforce for an uncertain future? What are the different ways to up skill, re-skill and cross skill for the future?
Designing learning for the future

Enthusiasm for workplace learning is seen to be a game changer in all progressively innovative organizations. As per Deloitte, the Human Capital trend data of 2019 shows that 54 percent of all employees will require significant reskilling and up-skilling in just 3 years from now. Hence, the culture and ecosystem to constantly learn from everything from using employees own experiences as well the various L&D initiatives being planned by organizations for enhancing the acquired skills are equally pertinent to enhance a learning DNA in the organization. It is a must to systematically build the process of continuous learning into organization’s processes, systems, philosophy and infrastructure. Moreover, its value needs to be modeled by every employee from top to bottom of the pyramid. Hence, it is critical for L&D leaders to design a learning program that helps to prepare their workforce for an uncertain future. While designing, the three most important factors to be kept in mind are:

  • Communication - In a true learning organization, communication needs to be open and widespread when it comes to developing L&D strategies. Senior leaders need to demonstrate their learning agility in every instance. Constant communication followed by reward and recognition programs helps to create a long lasting effect for creating a culture of continuous learning.

  • Engaging Content - Today, L&D teams need to wear a marketer’s hat and tailor their learning delivery strategies as similar as social media content strategies. For non mandatory trainings, organizations need to enhance engagement of employees by creating content that learners not only want to engage with but also do not have to think twice while finding and using for filling the skills gap. 

  • A blended approach - Technology is fantastic in the space of L&D and is making huge advances. However, technology does not exist in a vacuum. A blended approach with high-caliber human skills driving the real business vision in alignment with the right use of tech tools is of paramount importance when it comes to creating the right learning program.

Now, let us see what programs organizations are creating in different ways to up-skill, re-skill and cross skill their employees for better preparedness of their employees’ future. 

  • Recently, Novartis, a leading global medicine company collaborated with Coursera to power their employees’ innovation quotient through learning. As a strategic up-skilling partner; Coursera is all set to offer a transformative learning experience to approximately 108,000 employees from more than 140 nationalities worldwide for Novartis. With the objective to deliver critical digital skills for all their employees, Novartis plans to establish a culture of learning that increases employee retention across the company.

  • A notably aggressive approach to up-skilling employees on digital skills are seen to be taken up by none other than PwC. With the help of Udacity’s ‘nano-degree program’, employees are given around two years time for acquiring new skills, with half their time spent in training and the other half working with clients for applying the newly learned skills. Mostly the skills are centered around digital, AI, analytics and automation in this learning program.

  • Walmart too has always been among the vanguard of large employers experimenting in the space of learning. With the use of Virtual Reality (VR) training to all 200 of its training centers after a successful pilot project last year, it is set to take another step forward by deploying Oculus Go headsets at each of its 5000 stores for enabling a pro climate for continuous training and learning.
  • Even Indian media and entertainment companies are pretty serious when it comes to creating L&D programs to meet the demand of future skills. Designed with the help of KPMG Learning Academy, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. is set to launch its cohort based program ‘Embark’ for up-skilling their 450 managers with more than 25,000 hours of training. This ambitious capability building exercise is specially taken up for their front line managers embedding multiple interventions that will include role plays, case studies, webinars and skill-drill.

  • Another important move in creating a progressive learning strategy is seen in The Walt Disney Company which is ready to offer to pay full tuition for its hourly workers. They will then learn a new skill or earn a college degree with Disney Aspire initiative. One of the most comprehensive programs of its kind, it would cover 100 percent of tuition upfront and additionally it will reimburse employees for application fees and required books too.

In fact, many organizations are creating ‘Mentoring programs’ as a tool to promote lifelong learning. Organizations are also setting up spaces where employees can share what they have learnt. Such dissemination of knowledge encourages enthusiasm about learning and help employees grow at a much faster pace. With skilling, re-skilling and cross-skilling mandate becoming super critical, organizations are making all efforts to support the business needs and see employees evolve to another level that the future holds for them.


(Know more about the latest trends in the learning & development landscape at the People Matters L&D Conference 2019 scheduled for 6th November in Mumbai. Click here to register.)

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Topics: Learning & Development, #PMLnD

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