The corporate world is rapidly changing, and the pace of change will only become faster. In such a rapidly changing world, employees have to evolve and incorporate skills to stay relevant. Hence, learning has become an integral and continuous process for all the employees in their career lifecycle. Similarly, organizations have also come to realize that traditional approaches to learning are not enough anymore. A more personalized and technology-enabled learning has become the need of the hour not just for employees but also for organizations to accelerate the growth. Hence, a lot of employers and their organizations have spent time identifying the new skills so that they could design new learning areas for their employees.
To understand the process of learning, let’s start with understanding the three categories in which learners are classified into:
Types of Learners
- Digital natives (Comfortable): Digital natives are learners who prefer to learn only on their digital devices. They don’t like to go to a physical classroom and do not need a teacher to explain them everything. Mostly they prefer to take up online courses and learn on the go. Digital natives are learners who are well-acquainted to technological learning and are incredibly comfortable with it. This kind of learners prefers bite-sized learning modules.
- Migrants: Migrant learners oscillate between being digital learners and digital exiles. Their preferences depend on the subject they are learning, or the time they require to master the skill they are learning. Whether they choose the digital or the offline format also depends on the type of content they want to access. Most migrant learners are partially comfortable with the digital devices for learning and don’t mind walking into a classroom if the course requires them to do so.
- Digital exile: Learners in this category prefer the old school way of learning. They don’t like to be surrounded by digital devices when they are learning and want to learn individually from teachers or in groups with their peers. They don’t like to consume content, and an exclusive classroom experience or learning lessons from a textbook is a must for them.
New trends in learning
- Evading the status quo: Learners are challenging the status quo, and it’s no longer just students who learn but also teachers who are continually learning in the process. Hence, the process of learning has become two-way wherein both the teachers and the students learn from each other.
- The rise of the gig economy: More and more millennials are taking up freelance jobs. This trend is passing on to the earlier generations as well, and more and more people are opting for early retirement and staying in the workforce by offering freelance services.
- More experiential: The modern learner does not want to learn but experience. Hence, learning has become a more experiential process. With audio and video content, and integrating AI and VR, the learning process is becoming more and more interactive.
- Teaching the knowledgeable minds: Employees in organizations are already being exposed to real-time situations in the corporate world. They are already learning and have knowledge about the workings of their respective industries. Hence, it is important to remember that all the learners come with knowledge and experience. This makes it incredibly important to design a learning module that adds value over and above what they know.
Opportunities for improvement
As much as employees and organizations are required to learn and grow so is the need for a process to improvise. A centralized or versatile system needs to be in place to eliminate all the discrepancies and the errors. For example, if there are 16 systems for assessing the career paths, deciding succession and for talent management, then the rate of error and the time consumed is higher. However, if you have one system that can do everything, such discrepancies are reduced.
Another critical factor that needs to be evaluated by all the processes that are being used for learning is behavioural patterns of the learner. This will help to provide a more personalized version of lessons and modules to the learner. AI and ML can be used to trace behavioural patterns and learning habits. One of the newest factors that is being evaluated and incorporated in learning systems is the gratification process. Technologies like AI and ML must be used not just to personalize the learning but also the reward process. As one size fits all is not true for the gratification process too.
As learning is becoming more and more critical for organizations to achieve the competitive edge and match the fast-paced growth, the learning process is also undergoing massive change. Corporate learning is also changing the shape of academics which will further influence how our educational institutions teach.
(The article is based on a panel discussion on Relevance and shape of corporate academics between Raghavendra K, SVP and Global Huda-HRD, Infosys BPO, Rituraj Sar, Vice President and Head-Global Learning & Organization Development, Lupin, Dr. Yogesh Bhat, Vice President and Director, MANIPAL Prolearn, and Inigo Pravin, Business Unit Head-Collaboration & Communications-India, LogMeIn at the People Matters L&D Conference 2018)