Fast forward to ‘Learning’ in the
world of the future

Meenalochani Kumar
Meenalochani Kumar November 18, 2020

I have been at the cusp of what used to be organizations with an intense dependency on its people, and it has been a learning journey for me to embrace and experience today’s world where we live and work alongside technology and the immense promise it holds. With automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data having all but conquered our traditional approaches to life and work, it’s safe to say that technology is taking us by the horns for certain.

I am sometimes overcome with curiosity and wonder if we have begun to crystal-gaze the near future world of work where fluidity of organizations, roles, teams as well as learning would be redefined in all shapes and forms.

Suffice to say that in the future, organizations with a deeper focus on talent development and change agility will take the largest pie of the business, competition or sought-after talent in a very natural way, all due to their first-mover advantage on having taken the very first step to understanding the shifts, and proactively upskilling their people and tightening their lens on the future.

Did you ever imagine there would be a need for HR to be Wellness Experts or act as mediators between the human workforce and the robots? Or that driverless cars and space journeys will become a part of life or even how intelligent homes could bring in a combination of ease and discomfort at the same time.

Likewise, in the future world of ours, where time will be crunched even further and every thought and decision will be backed by big data, our ability to leverage scenario-planning and intelligent decision-making will become a must for business survival.

Be it digital transformation, embracing emerging technologies or attracting top talent and achieving competitive advantage, there’s little doubt that continuous learning has emerged as a major priority for global organizations in today’s day and age. Driven by both employees and organizations, continuous learning stands to build more space and alignment to the borderless and amoebic ways of work.

Organizational learning will spread in breadth, while understanding the forces that shape organizations from the outside will occupy significance in businesses. Continuity of jobs or workers will be proportional to their ability to learn in-the-flow of work, and borderless organizations will promote borderless learning, which today we understand and accept as digital learning.

Furthermore, innovative learning approaches like immersive learning and gig learners will push employees out of their comfort zones and lead L&D to rethink the way learning is delivered and to the learners on what and how they learn in a business context.

On the other hand, businesses continue to and will experience a steep rise in the adoption of soft skills training, as humaneness in the age of machines will retain much value. People who make a difference at this level will be sought after and human aspects like kindness, emotional intelligence, compassion, happiness, and well-being will get an intense dose of attention.

Just like climate, nature and its evolution drive us to focus on learning newer survival skills, a similar albeit strategized approach (in lesser time!) is required for the evolving business world. The interconnectedness of the new world shall stun us, leave us baffled and push us to stay relevant and contextual in all walks of life.

Going ahead, here are some questions we need to pose:

  • As organizations, have we started redefining our purpose, the talent lens and the future leadership?
  • Are we prepared and gearing up for an agile learning workforce?
  • Have we delved on the skills required and the shortest learning curve to adopt to gain the desired competitive advantage?

The corporate learning and development, eLearning and learning technology sector is on a growth trajectory given the need for digital transformation, not only in HR and L&D but also throughout the organization. Advanced AI-powered learning platforms are facilitating ease of learning delivery and consumption effectively than before, while the availability of curated and ready-to-use online training courses continues to empower learners with flexibility, choice and a plethora of knowledge pertaining to a specific skill or a whole business function.

Upskilling and reskilling the workforce has already become a natural order, and it will only get more interwoven with our daily work; while the pride that organizations boast of today when it comes to conversations on upskilling will become an extended natural and nothing unique.

All said and done the one question that we as L&D professionals and employees alike need to ask is, given the ubiquitous need for learning, are we ready for digital being the only way of life?