Article: The Past vs the Future of learning - A perspective

Learning & Development

The Past vs the Future of learning - A perspective

As people are multifaceted and multipotentialites they come with strengths and weaknesses in different aspects of their life. How do you deal with this diversity while creating L&D programs?
The Past vs the Future of learning - A perspective

In the People Matters L&D conference 2021, a key topic was “learning with the duality of the past and future of organisations and its workforce.” This is all the more significant due to pandemic times and how the skills and abilities landscape has evolved in the last 18 months. 

John Cherian, Co-Founder at Enparadigm, a learning solutions and sales intelligence company shared how he has tackled the future of learning, the differences in people and their capabilities and how the past comes into developing it.

Value based learner segmentation is key to developing a learning organisation

Cherian’s main subject of the session was to address the duality which exists within people towards the future, especially between millennials and perennials. As people are multifaceted and multipotentialites they come with strengths and weaknesses in different aspects of their life. This can be used to potentially segment them within the workforce unlike in the past which used strict workforce demographics. This segmentation is more fluid so to speak. It is those differences that are celebrated today which bring in benefits to organisations. The future holds hope and he questioned whether segmenting the workforce through work, personal, organisational and employment demographics created a doorway to future learning, or value based segmentation through personalities, work and personal behaviours was a more effective option.

What kind of learning will hold weight in the future? 

This led to the question of whether there will be a significant change in the way companies build on people's capabilities. Cherian introduced two models: the T-Model and the Z-model, where the former required people to carry a broad set of skills across various areas and the latter to be a combination of creativity and business & digital literacy and also many other “hard/soft” skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and such. 

The “how” of learning was also addressed across these avenues - 

  • career graph - where one gains different skills at different roles (to borrow from Sheryl Sandberg - a jungle gym so to speak) vs career path - where one follows a mostly linear progression
  • skills with 2-year half life vs skills with 10-year half life
  • instructional learning vs self-corrective learning
  • context first learning vs content first learning
  • one-off event based learning vs learning journeys
  • macro-based vs micro & macro learning
  • traditional learning vs scenario learning
  • generic vs individual
  • outcome vs expertise driven

Learner segmentation plays a key role in figuring out the kind of learning that will take your organization forward. 

For instance, earlier business strategy informed the creation of skill inventories. Now it is the exact opposite with available skill informing and aiding business strategy. In point is the formation of AWS from Amazon. 

Touching upon  the effectiveness of unilateral learning approaches for perennials, Cherian stated: “A definite no. We all learn from many different styles. We learn in very different ways...So, you still try out many different approaches and eventually something or the other sticks and it clicks.”

In conclusion, when understanding and addressing the scope for the future of learning and work, companies need to figure out their core objectives and what they want to achieve as a whole.

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Topics: Learning & Development, #PMLnDIN

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