Taking a cue from the adage ‘Culture eats strategy’ and if one were to extend this meaning, then in today’s 4th IR, sans a learning culture, strategy ends up eating its humble pie. The ubiquity of learning resources, the proximity that one has to learning resources is actually the very reason why L&D must ensure that there is a ‘method in this madness’, else it will be the proverbial cat and mouse chase story.
Building flexible learning infrastructure, that is truly agile and purely customer-centric is a big ask from the learning function.
The ask is not the problem, the bigger problem is what can L&D do if there is already an influx of learning options in myriad formats, and learners are particularly inclined towards those options where learning and technology meet.
The first challenge in building a flexible learning infrastructure is to do a good dip stick to figure out the preferred ‘learning styles’, going beyond the Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic. The one common style to be added on to this is ‘Digital’, and hence ensuring that the learning options that we choose has to be the ‘Perfect Blend’ of all the options available. At OLX India, we ensure that learning need goes through three ‘touch-points’, as we call them. And each of these touch-points addresses the same learning through different senses, digital being one of them for sure.
The next step towards building a flexible learning structure is to offer ‘empowerment to learners’. The freedom to learn when one wants to learn, what one wants to learn and how one wants to learn is the success mantra. There is much more ownership when the learning structure is flexible and not ‘timetable’ based. At OLX, access to ‘My Academy’, our internal learning portal is one of the big perks as I call it. ‘My Academy’ offers the best in class online courses from the likes of Udemy, Big Think, Code Academy etc. One is free to choose courses ranging from app development to Big Data, and then meander towards storytelling or yoga and fitness. This ‘freedom to learn’ is a big ‘pull’ towards creating a flexible learning structure.
The third and final step that I recommend is to build a learning infra that is ‘Involving’. The moment we involve our learners in this entire journey, there is a sort of magic that gets created. Dale Carnegie said ‘Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely’. Here is a generation who can teach us a thing or two, who know some things more than we do, so why not make it a win-win by involving them as Subject Matter Experts, and build in a culture of ‘reverse mentoring’ as well. Very recently, we organized a series of workshops ranging from monetization at one end to Behavioral Event interview techniques at the other end, and both these were taken by our in-house experts.
As learning professionals, if we don’t learn, unlearn, and reinvent the wheel ourselves, we will never see the change we want to see in the L&D domain.