The L&D function has been at crossroads considering the recent changes in the way the world works and learns. As a host of traditional learning methods made way for newer ones, L&D teams found themselves in the precarious situation of having to adopt rather fast with a new business strategy.
Pre-Covid, as per a study, 42% of respondents reported that their corporate training programs were done through face-to-face mode while only 26% used eLearning modules. A year later, things changed and how!
After the pandemic hit, in-person instructor classroom training plunged to just 9%, and virtual ascended to 53%. The shift was remarkably tough with myriad challenges related to digital training like technology, design, and delivery. And yet, it was imperative to focus on virtual as the primary method of learning delivery.
But the hard times have shown the way on how L&D teams can continue to future-proof their learning strategy and how they can optimize learning programs to boost capability development.
Here are a few key ways that can bring about a mindset shift towards capability development in 2021 and beyond:
- Adopting a Digital-First Learning Strategy
While recent times have made it amply clear that a digital learning strategy is not just a choice, but a must-have, an important take-away has also been that it’s not enough to simply take old face-to-face training sessions and move them online. That’s definitely not what a digital-first approach to learning is!
As Josh Bersin right says, “Today’s “digital learning” does not simply mean producing videos that are easy to view on your phone, it means “bringing learning to where employees are.” In order to harbour more learner engagement and results, you will have to go beyond just sending out a simple PowerPoint or arranging a webinar instead of your old training.
So, how can you design a digital-first learning strategy?
There are multiple things you can consider, including,
- Examining your current content and identifying impactful resources from the existing pool.
- Curating content and putting together knowledge resources that are easy-to-digest for learners.
- Taking a look at your basic learning strategy and checking its alignment with your business objectives while reconsidering the purpose and delivery platform.
- Bringing interactivity in the learning sessions to engage learners better by making it a two-way communication street rather than a one-way lecture.
- Leveraging newer tech tools to make your sessions more and more interesting.
- Making the sessions crisp and short, so you can hold learner attention for longer.
- In the end, giving learners what they need the most: a ‘what’s in it for me’ element – something that will hook them on to the session right at the beginning.
- Including Social Learning and Collaboration
While Social Learning and Collaboration are important elements in the learning strategy, their inclusion has become all the more seminal in the recent past due to the lack of a physical space in which learners can freely interact. However, the dynamics of Social Learning and Collaboration are something that L&D teams need to give some thought to. You cannot expect learners to collaborate and learn just because you have created a space for them.
There has to be a proper system to encourage Social Learning. You can do so through polls, chat rooms, and other external channels and there are a number of ways to encourage participation in these events, even in the era of remote learning.
User-generated content is an impactful tool when it comes to Social and Collaborative learning. It’s an effective way to get people engaged and invested in the learning journey. With user-generated content, more and more people are likely to get involved slowly as the whole idea picks up.
- Focusing on Behavioural Change
Bringing in a behavioural change has been a significant focus of L&D since long, but in a remote working environment, checking its impact can be a challenge. L&D teams have always looked at capability gaps to ensure the right application of employee skills at the workplace, but now the ecosystem has changed and it’s important to consider how behavioural change may translate in this environment.
It’s crucial that building capabilities are focussed on supporting a more self-directed and continuous learning model. It’s time to give learners better control over their own learning so that they can make the most of the coaching and mentoring to align their learning to performance goals.
As changes in the world of work continue unabated, it is natural for organizations and L&D to feel a certain amount of trepidation while moving forward. However, as L&D professionals, this is your chance to reinvent yourself and become more consultants, problem-solvers, and enabler of business.