You’ve likely already noticed, but there’s a digital transformation afoot that is changing how work is done across industries. Online learning is on the rise, and forward-thinking learning leaders are considering significant digital investments in leadership development for C-suite executives in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Lee Arthur, managing director of the New York Institute of Finance and ExecSense, an executive training company, shared his thoughts with Chief Learning Officer on the digital disruption and how an on-demand learning approach can help learning leaders keep up with increasing demands for executive education, professional development and digital learning.
How significant is the current digital transformation in the learning industry?
We are at the end of the start. We’re now approaching the next stage of disruption, which is going to be a true storm of change. We will see any education establishment that does not have a clear proposition, niche, qualification or brand advantage removed from the market, be that academic or professional training. These establishments will be replaced with technology-enabled competitors that do things better, at lower costs and with more useful results.
What are some of the more prominent learning delivery vehicles picking up speed in the executive education portion of corporate learning?
Microlearning is leading the charge, where lessons are reduced down to specific skills, and in shorter timeframes — 1 to 15 minutes — depending on the form of delivery. This optimizes convenience and increases mobility and ‘good-use-of-time’ for the learner.
At ExecSense, we are seeing interesting usage patterns with our CEO educators where they will first focus on the concluding chapter of a lesson, and if they find those useful, they work backwards. We chapter lessons into distinct units of learning value. With education for senior executives, time is short and at a premium. We are seeing more blended requirements where domain-language or key concepts are delivered on-demand via digital training. Then only the deeper real-world problem solving is delivered in-person to meld the knowledge and skill together.
Lessons are also moving outside into the available environment. For example, that might mean into the salesforce as an accompanying app or data feed. Lessons are being freed from typical learning environments and delivered when they are most relevant to executives. Learning is becoming more pull than push. Think of on-demand services like Netflix vs. TV channels. As a corporate CLO, I would ask ‘how do we enable learning to be pulled quickly and easily for our teams — anytime and any relevant skill?’
What direction and scope will mobile and social learning take?
Mobile and social learning is moving towards metrics. Data analytics on student usage of learning assets is incredibly powerful when you use it as insights for the student. For example, ‘you are in the top or bottom 10 percent of learners.’
In digital learning, everything can be measured. Learning is a service, and it must be convenient. The services that will win are those most convenient to executives … without waiting on internal LMS systems or formal processes … on mobile, tablet or laptop devices. In seconds, they can find a lesson that matches the problem they have identified, and push it to their teams. They are able to effortlessly track their teams’ engagement.
Social learning techniques have enabled senior leaders to act on problems and support employee development in an interactive way. Teams can see each other taking the same lesson, commenting, supporting and competing together. This behavior mirrors real life. It binds the team around solving the same problem as they learn best practices and decide on the solution. Feedback loops from usage allow teams and leaders to co-learn and issue lessons quickly, as the business needs them. Learning is part of everyday business when it’s needed, conveniently.
Kellye Whitney is the associate editorial director for Chief Learning Officer. Comment below or email editor@CLOmedia.com.