In order to build a conducive environment for learning, it is important to align business strategy and employees must have access to a wide variety or learning channels including e-learning, mobile apps and live training.
What does learning and development for professionals within learning and development entail? What are the best practices of organizations when it comes to cross-cultural learning in an increasingly globalized world? What are some problems related with the use of technology and what mediums are organizations using in order to tackle them?
These are some of the questions that organizations are grappling with in learning and development today. In this article, we explore five of these challenges and examine what the best practices look like from the perspectives of professionals within the function, across different sectors. We also identify trends in solutions.
1) L&D for L&D
The challenge within L&D is principally rooted in the mindset that the personal experience within the function is the best education. The function has also seen a lack of investment by businesses, lack of mentors and lack of a comprehensive framework. While the best practices across industries include shadowing, use of online and offline training, access to business publications, building in-house libraries, capacity building through diplomas/workshops and building personal networks and communities through forums and conferences etc, there has not been a coherent strategy to deal with the problem. Thus there is a need within the community to build its own platform for both awareness and for road map building. L&D professionals also need to ask deep diving questions to understand the ‘whys’ of the efforts undertaken. They can also make use of simulations as a way to improve their understanding of the business and ensure that they get feedback from business leaders. This will help them understand the business context and enrich their own learning experience.
2) Contextual learning challenges
In an increasingly globalized world where businesses are constantly expanding beyond borders, there are problems of training cost, infrastructure and standardization across the industry. Indian leaders find it hard to deal with multicultural clients and that can be a setback for the organizations. Although the use of existing practice of digital asset management system plays a vital role in making leaders ready to take up global roles, there is an urgent need to bring in other interactive platforms which can enable learning to be delivered without too much cost. While some organizations have experimented moving employees across global offices, it is technology that can play a key enabler role in supporting and making the whole process of learning much faster and efficient.
3) Technology in learning
When it comes to learning, technology has been a major aid for organizations. However, the pace at which technology is developing poses a challenge. Today, there is a need to design software that can be integrated into multiple platforms like iOS, Android, Windows etc., and create new digital content that is both scaleable and integrated socially. While companies are using learning kiosks, different learning management platforms and programs, the value that the product gives must be more than freely available content online. The benefits of technology in learning include easy access, saved time, scalability and on demand learning facility. In order to make technology implementation successful for a mobile first generation, professionals must focus on making programs meaningful and fun by focusing more on gamification and social learning.
4) Efficacy of Behavioral training
Behavioral trainings have not had the desired impact; the challenges as a result can be mapped right from pre-intervention stage to the mode of delivery followed by monitoring and measurement. Best practices across industries include assessing learning needs by including them as a part of RFP to clients, learning from others in peer groups, use of educational reimbursements and use of assessments etc. Despite the already existing practices, there is a need of multiple approaches to make sure that these trainings are impactful and meaningful to the organizations. One method companies can use is to reverse engineer (by stopping training temporarily) in order to assess where training is required. Since motivation is the key to behavioural learning, organizations should align the programs with the learner’s interests. Companies should also introduce learning models where learning from each other is encouraged.
5) Building the right learning culture
A learning culture is about both, formal and informal learning. In order to build a conducive environment for learning, it is important to align business strategy and employees must have access to a wide variety or learning channels including e-learning, mobile apps and live training. While organizations have experimented with mentoring within the company and by focusing on capability based learning and evaluation, there is a need for better parameters to screen employees and give more choice to infuse a spirit of innovation. Some organizations are taking the need to build the right environment a priority by making it a cost centre, this helps better manage training as a function.