In the 2020 Global Human Capital Trends survey by Deloitte, 53 percent of respondents said that between half and all of their workforce will need to change their skills and capabilities in the next three years. Market research firm Gartner highlights that just 20 percent of employees currently have the abilities required to succeed in their current and future job roles. As uncertain as it could get, the entire world of work has taken a hit with COVID-19 pandemic. And it has become absolutely critical that talent leaders now invest their time and effort in identifying the critical roles, mapping the skill requirements, and preparing the workforce for the now and future of work.
As lifelong learning becomes inevitable and a way of life, organizations and the workforce both look out for diverse ways to learn and build their skills. When they venture into the talent development space, there are a plethora of learning solutions available, but with the world moving so rapidly, they look for the ones which enable them to learn effectively at convenience.
“We need to acknowledge that for most organizations, learning will always be secondary to business imperatives and hence needs to be flexbile and outcome-oriented in a short time frame” said Nikhil Chandra, Founder, MyLearn.
To help organizations and workforce bring lifelong learning into practice myLearn has put together short format courses covering three broad areas: Regulation & Compliance, Business Knowledge and Professional Skills. This is augmeneted by continuous testing to ensure learning coutcomes and an easy to use Dashboard that any team lead can use to assign and track learning across their team.
The challenges in the current professional learning space
Chandra shares that there are three broad challenges in the professional learning space, especially for organizations:
Most solutions in the professional learning space are geared towards long-format, career-switch based learning where one is picking up a new skill or seeking to shift careers.
What is needed is also non-expertise driven “horizontal” learning which familiarises an employee with necessary knowledge and skills that are needed to grow in their current roles and advance within an organization. Professional learning and development also has a “continuous” learning aspect and this needs to be done without a large investment of time or resources. Further, these shorter formats need to be learning outcome focussed as many short term interventions tend to be difficult to track and thus land up in the “tick the box” learning category. The reality is that professionals increasingly need to know “more about more” and cannot operate in silos of single expertise or practice any longer.
Organisztional learning has typically been the prerogative of large organizations with well settled business models and additional resources at their disposal.
But organizations of all shapes, sizes and successes have learning needs – whether it be compliance driven or team efficacy driven. Importantly, any such solution needs to be affordable to ensure that even smaller organizations, SMEs ,startups and organizations that have not experienced many learning solutions earlier can get on board without hesitation. The reality is that many organisations will never have the resources to spend tens of thousands of rupees (or more) per employee to ensure that they are trained to do, and grow in, their job and that should not be a barrier.
Enabling contextual learning where an organization can use its internal collective intelligence and knowledge to create content and ensure learning, hasn’t been focussed on much yet.
What organizations need is more contextual learning whereas most learning solutions tend to be “one size fits all” or tweaked in a superficial manner. Most professional learning has focussed on the individual professional, providing “learned” professionals to organizations or providing technology to organizations. What is also needed is allowing an organisation to utilise content and technology to create learning solutions using internal knowledge and expertise.
Hence, Chandra and his team at myLearn believe that “The professional learning space needs a “SAAS like” product that can be deployed in all kinds of organizations.” A tool that provides access to a wide variety of affordable content and technology, and can be deployed as per requirement i.e. increased or decreased as per business demand. With courses priced between Rs. 1500 – Rs. 3000, “the myLearn platform provides just this ability,” says Chandra.
Learning needs of employees across an organization will be varied and hence you need content and testing that covers a wide gamut of areas. Currently, myLearn’s focus is on “horizontal learning” i.e. areas that are relevant for all professionals across sectors and functions and which they will probably need to know something about at some point of time - from understanding the GST regime to commercial contracts, acquiring project management skills or just gaining an idea about accounting & finance. What is critical is to test continuously and correctly in these areas so as to ensure that learning outcomes can be tracked and are objective in nature – merely because a course is short format or affordable does not mean it should not have measurable learning outcomes.
“Professionals increasingly need to know ‘more about more’ and the real aim is to move towards building a contextual learning platform, where an organization can be enabled to take care of its learning needs directly.” shared Chandra.
So, how does it work? Let’s explore:
“Organizations can sign up on www.mylearn.co for a trial account (which comes with preloaded courses) and test out our Dashboard feature and the content/courses on the platform,” said Chandra.
The Dashboard allows a team lead or a designated person within an organization to assign a specific course to any team member or employee, determine the time period for learning and track the learning on a continuous basis. The account can then be upgraded as per requirement and deployed for the entire team. In addition, the myLearn team extends support and helps to (i) customize a specific pathway for an organization or a team on the platform; and (ii) create content for any gaps that they feel need to be filled.
Once the course is assigned, the learner will receive access to all the online learning materials, which can be typically completed in five to seven hours along with a unique set of printed reading materials. “Though our customer focus is on the B2B space, individual professionals can also sign up to take courses on the platform,” Chandra clarified.
myLearn has spent six months beta-testing the platform with over 400 employees, across a few corporates including Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, with a higher than 90 percent completion rate.
Chandra thanked them and said, “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for being patient and allowing us to build out the platform based on actual on ground requirements and testing feedback.”
Farida Desai, Senior General Manager – Group Legal, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited shared her feedback on the beta testing and said, “Continuous learning is important for every professional and digital/online learning has never been more critical than in current times. MyLearn forayed into this area, way ahead of its time with its easily accessible unique course offerings. The varied courses offered on the MyLearn platform have been immensely useful to the in-house lawyers at Mahindra‘s legal department and in extending compliance training to our colleagues in other departments.”
“MyLearn’s format of courses with a combination of short videos and easy to understand reading material have been very effective in obtaining learning outcomes and its technology platform has ensured smooth and seamless implementation across the board,” added Desai.
Way Forward: Preparing the workforce for the future of work
myLearn counts on its organization-focussed product thinking as its USP. What may help it stand out is being a scalable and affordable solution that is easy to use and the quality content in its specific format. Multiple languages is the next step - “Most organizations, including very large ones, don’t do business only in one language so why should they learn in one?” asks Chandra and points out the fact that they are already starting to make their content available in multiple languages, starting with Hindi.
With a plethora of learning solutions and platforms available in the talent market, how myLearn ensures the learning content is relevant and useful and the entire learning experience is impactful will be to look forward to.
Given the pandemic and its wide spread effects, business cycles will further shorten and existing competitive moats will erode quickly – this could mean comparatively leaner and quicker organizations will be better positioned to bounce back from crisis. Remote working will likely be driven by financial discipline, if not for an entire organization then at least for a significant part of it. And ensuring efficiency and efficacy as a team (of which learning is a big part) will require various products catering to it. “Digital adoption is a mountain behind us now – the way forward is building out affordable, flexible and outcomes-based solutions. This is where myLearn aims to make a difference in the professional learning space,” added Chandra.
As the new reality of work becomes more digital, the demand for solutions like myLearn is sure to rise. To make the most of this opportunity the New Delhi based Edtech company has to focus on value creation and consistent innovation.
“We believe that as more and more of professional life goes digital, managing learning for organizations or teams offers tremendous growth potential and poses an interesting challenge to build out and innovate for,” said Chandra.