While the business landscape in the past decade has been challenging, the pandemic has been the real pressure test for the resilience of organisations and their ability to adapt. Learning and Development (L&D) functions in large, global organisations were at the forefront of this disruption – while in-person training programs came to an abrupt halt, L&D was also expected to lead the way in ensuring that there was minimal business disruption. The pandemic also shone a spotlight on why L&D needs to be the most resilient and proactive function in an organisation.
Adaptive Learning Organisations that can respond to an ever evolving and disruptive business landscape with agility and a forward-thinking approach are the future of learning. In November 2020, NIIT released the Adaptive Learning Organisation Research Report in association with Josh Bersin Academy. The research involved in-depth conversations and surveys with more than 100 large, global companies and found that companies with adaptive learning teams spend 27 per cent less on L&D and deliver far greater business outcomes. In fact, highly adaptive companies are high performers and 53 per cent more likely to have experienced growth during the last year.
Overall, Adaptive Learning Organisations have significantly better parameters on the human capital front. They have 14 per cent higher reported career opportunities, their senior leaders are rated 15 per cent higher by their employees, and their overall Glassdoor ratings are 13 per cent higher.
The research found that Adaptive Learning Organisations lead in three critical areas - the ability to sense and analyse external and internal market changes; decide and lead quickly on the right programmes, direction, and resources; and evolve and transform their ability to deliver advanced business-centric and personalised learning solutions.
Sense – Forecast Future Needs
Adaptive Learning Organisations have developed the ability to harvest, measure, analyze, and draw actionable insights from multiple data sources to create forward looking internal and external views. This characteristic allows them to predict the learning needs of a business or team, even before the business sees it coming. The ability to sense allows L&D to forecast future needs more quantitatively and in a way that makes it easier to build a business case and align stakeholders.
Decide - from being Reactive to Proactive
Next, is the ability of Adaptive Learning Organisations to make highly relevant decisions quickly and plan accordingly with the knowledge that initial plans can change over time. Having a continual flow of meaningful and insightful data at hand allows these learning organisations to make proactive decisions and escape being reactive. As a result, these organisations can make accurate short-term and long-term transformative decisions based on known information, collaboration, and with built-in pivot points that allow for quick and efficient course correction.
Evolve – for a Sustainable Future
The key to long-term success is an Adaptive Learning Organisation’s ability to evolve and sustainably transform its existing ecosystem. These organisations continually seek innovation and test new technologies and practices. To do this well, ALOs build highly efficient, agile, and scalable operating models that anticipate and enable shifts in priorities and learning needs.
When the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly disrupted businesses, most organisations were caught off guard while Adaptive Learning Organisations were noticeably more prepared to adjust to the drastic changes required for learning during the pandemic. While the pandemic has been an extreme challenge, the external world will continue to change, and new challenges will emerge. Businesses will have to continuously overcome these challenges and adapt to change. L&D will need to lead that change and build the ability to sense, decide and evolve for future readiness.