Transforming the technological ethos of a company demands a mindset change. It requires a design thinking approach, wherein organizations are able to mold new behaviors among their employees. With many emerging technologies, organizations may need to pick and choose which areas to place their biggest bets on. It is this need that is compelling organizations like ITC Infotech to get their employees to embrace virtual learning which is both continuous learning and self-directed learning.
The need for a learning revolution
Up until five years ago, ITC Infotech was polling its business stakeholders monthly to capture their training needs and would implement them in the next 6 months. Now, the lead time to prepare for any skill has crunched from 6 months to around 3 weeks. Employees want to learn anytime and anywhere, at their own pace. As a result training programs are changing from 2-3 day interventions to something like 30 minutes a day of online learning. ITC Infotech launched its learning with an intent to create a “habit of learning”. The company has about 10-12% of the workforce focused on emerging technologies. This is expected to grow exponentially to 40-50% in the next 2 years. With new technology, the focus of learning is shifting from the organization to the individual.
E-learning serves as a kind of sandbox for people to experiment but it also needs to be seeded with problems, code, and data that is challenging to the individual.
Adopting new systems
Speaking about the reason for adopting a digital learning platform, Sanjay Kumar, Head of capability building at the company says “I am able to unlock the value of continuous learning while maintaining the balance between legacy and emerging technologies. The company wanted to bring about a sustained behavioral change to cater to the complex business decision matrix. The challenge was to weave together the different learning preferences and career paths with the learning objective”. Pluralsight, with its intuitively designed “Skill Paths”, solved this by:
• Generating interest in users by creating a “pull” for self-directed learning.
• Providing sequential guidance to learners through the inbuilt certification based learning paths.
• Catering to the learner’s and organization’s need for constantly evolving content.
Using features like “learning channels” and “mentors” are becoming key to driving a learning culture. At the L&D end, it is optimizing learning budgets and efforts.
Enabling people participation
A key step in creating a culture of learning was to move away from a clustered generic approach to make learning personalized. This approach needed employees to share their learning needs. Individuals are expected to raise learning requests which are vetted by their supervisors. This connects the business requirements with people requirements.
To boost people participation, ITC Infotech launched a hackathon contest, inviting talent from organizations and colleges to solve an emerging-tech challenge non-stop for 36 hours. It was a great opportunity for upcoming tech talent to demonstrate their creativity, while it also served as a talent scouting ground for the company.
E-learning serves as a kind of sandbox for people to experiment but it also needs to be seeded with problems, code, and data that is challenging to the individual. While the younger tech-savvy generation takes to these learning tools more quickly, we also need seniors to help understand how to structure solutions. The behavioral change would take a long time since it requires an overhaul of the traditional mindset.
“The change in learning outcomes is evident, people are more excited to learn on an ongoing basis, to upgrade themselves to stay relevant. Yet, this learning experiment is currently just that— an experiment” says Sanjay. The company is balancing between legacy and emerging technologies and aiming to deliver the right skill at the right time. One key metric is the number of people that have moved into newer technologies and newer learning– the initial 5 weeks of saw 700-800 learning hours being logged in. The Company is continually evaluating the response, scouting for new features, and seeking user feedback to enhance the learning experience and outcomes.
“At ITC Infotech, we strive to continuously learn about learning. We plan to map the ‘Skill paths’ to the business roles” says Sanjay. “We leverage our innovation team to bring in new perspectives to make this experiment better. These are our hardcore innovators who focus solely on a cutting-edge future. They represent the very essence of our learning ethos— cutting edge!”