Indian organizations are much more willing to discuss their strategy with an OD consultant to identify gaps and work on building a strategy to plug them
In the past few months, the trend for technology- based learning is actually observed to be receding in the L&D space. This is remarkable because in the recent past, technology has been the centre of focus in this space in India. As a consequence, some of the initiatives involving self-learning or web-based learning are losing steam. Organizations have realised that their investments in learning technology have not paid the right dividends and therefore they are starting to question their value.
There are two primary reasons for this decline. The first is that most companies do not invest in a community manager to customize content or optimize the learning process. As a consequence, the lack of stickiness or engagement translates into participants dropping out of learning programs or organisations not realizing the benefits they had expected from these programs when they opted for them. The second reason is that L&D technol ogy implementation comes at a cost. A large-scale L&D platform implementation, for instance, can translate into costs of more than $1 million. The adoption challenge is a primary one for any organization. Even after implementing the best technology, employees within the enterprise may not adopt the new platform, thereby making the investment useless. Also, maintenance is a large point of consideration while implementing a platform. An organization may need to employ dedicated resources for maintenance and upkeep. On the other hand, if the maintenance is done by the service provider, that too comes at a large cost. Organizations have become wary of these issues.
The trend, therefore, is now towards contextualization of learning content. Most organizations already have an ocean of learning resources in various forms, but it is important that the content is structured and delivered to the right audience in the best form. Customization and adaption of content is one of the first things organizations are looking to implement. They are also seeking the real impact of learning on behaviours and metrics and are actually looking to target specific behaviours and outcomes in collaboration with the learning consultant. These trends in combination are driving a positive change in the learning market in India. As a result, the coming months will see a real professionalization of the L&D function in the country.
Organizations in India are much more willing to discuss their strategy with an OD consultant to identify gaps and work on building a strategy to plug them. This is a positive move because the Indian market has finally moved to the stage of maturity needed for real consulting opportunities. In fact, what the market will be looking for from an OD consultant in the coming months will be its ability to bring consultative guidance to the table. Organizations will be looking to their consultant to help them find answers to questions such as how to get to the desired state or how to measure the impact of learning.
Until now the effectiveness of an L&D service provider was measured in the number of PowerPoint slides that were presented at training sessions. That has fast disappeared as organizations are looking at several other options to make learning interventions more effective. In the near future, an OD consultant will be helping an organization in two primary areas.
Role-play frameworks. Role-playing has been very effective in driving key behaviors an organization targets. OD consultants are offering organizations either readymade role-play situations or customized modules that can trigger exactly the kind of responses that an organization is looking to drive in its staff and leaders. The wave of customization has hit hard, and providers are happy to offer customized solutions to clients.
Partnership models. Organizations have stopped looking at OD consultants as vendors, which they did in the past, and are instead looking to employ them more as partners to build and execute specific strategies in future. L&D service providers are, consequently, raising their services to identify the real needs of a business and build a learning framework.