The world is pacing and evolving in almost every other aspect, be it business models, strategy planning, learning or skill enhancements. Evidently, the coronavirus pandemic is gradually re-shaping the idea of learning, training, recruitment and up-skilling.
In an exclusive session at People Matters L&D Conference 2021, Srikrishnan V, Vice President at Hero Vired | Vired for Business, shared his insights on the role of Hi-Tech in revolutionizing conventional learning.
Evolution of L&D in recent years
According to Srikrishnan, the concept of continuous learning has received significant interest over the last few years. In the last couple of years, primarily driven by the pandemic, one major aspect that has tremendously transformed the learning landscape is - ‘Technology’. He believes that we have witnessed digital transformation in its true sense in recent times, as almost every company is a tech company in some capacity, owing to the pandemic.
Consequently, such technological disruptions have led to two major shifts - the way knowledge is being consumed, and the growing importance of employers on developing employees' soft skills such as communication, resourcefulness, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, problem solving, etc.
Srikrishnan also mentioned a LinkedIn report on ‘how L&D today has a seat in the C-Suite’, emphasizing the fact that up-skilling and career growth are paramount to employee retention, especially in times where the market for talent is quite competitive and geography is not a constraint.
He indicated that over the last few years, technology has become the backbone of organizations in almost every respect, especially when it comes to up-skilling of employees and dissemination of information, including relevant and engaging content, in virtual work environments.
Transition from conventional learning methods to technology enabled learning
In the last 18-24 months, the importance of disseminating knowledge across borders has gained a lot of traction across organizations. Conventional learning methods need tweaking to remain relevant in today's environment. Emphasizing the need to evolve from conventional education to tech-enabled learning, Srikrishnan drew from Yuval Noah Harari’s book - 21 lessons from the 21st century, suggesting, "schools are still focusing on traditional academic skills and rote learning, rather than skills such as critical thinking, adaptability, which will become more imperative in the future”.
In India, as revealed by numerous reports, there is a massive employability paradox that suggests a huge talent shortage across sectors, while most young professionals struggle to find work. He attributed the above paradox to classroom education not being in sync with the real world skills required by organizations and employers. He admitted that ed-tech players like Hero Vired among many others, with the benefit of the technology, are taking an active role in bridging this gap, by creating programs in collaboration with industry leaders and academia. Organizations are stressing on a blended learning model with hybrid learning via a mix of instructor-led and self-learning training techniques, with the backbone of technology.
Speaking of evolving learning models, two major models have come up: train and hire model, and the hire and train model.
The train and hire model typically focuses on getting students upskilled even before they join a workplace, where companies collaborate with universities and ed-tech players to identify the curriculum. This ensures that students are actually ready for the job, by the time they are ready to step into the corporate world.
While the hire and train model is the standard model where companies hire students across various institutions, and they are made to go through a two months long onboarding program, conducted online supported by ed-tech players that are playing a massive role in upskilling employees.
Conventional methods, Srikrishnan admitted, are going through a massive revamp especially today, with the way organizations are leveraging technology including next-gen tools like the AR, VR, etc. to drive higher engagement.
Role of hi-tech learning methods in creating impact
Tech giants are leveraging next-gen technologies to create an experiential learning process for the new-age workforce, including AR and VR. Speaking of the education system today, gamification in ed-tech has made the possibilities limitless. Artificial intelligence, machine learning are becoming mainstream for hyper personalized learning and hyper contextualized learning. In fact, augmented reality, virtual reality, extended reality have the potential to truly disrupt higher education across the world.
He indicated that universities and organizations are able to impart knowledge online, in a controlled and safe environment today, given disruptions in the tech space. Moreover, these hi-tech learning methodologies are becoming more cost effective and more stable in recent times, and their applicability across segments of education have great usage.
Technology has changed how we function across all areas of business. It has provided us the ability to personalize, contextualize and create individual learning paths for each learner. For example, any activity on any social media platform by an individual leaves a digital footprint. Those insights are used to create personas of employees, learners, users, and accordingly, relevant content is delivered to them in different formats.
Such contextualised learning programs ties to individual career progression. Ed-Tech companies partner with organizations to complement their learning goals.
Role of technology in enhancing engagement rate
Ed-tech players partner with organizations to create curated learning programs in alignment with shared business context and learning goals, customised to every learner's needs. Personalized and contextualized learning programs ultimately help drive engagement and create considerable and measurable impact.