First coined by industry analyst and Bersin by Deloitte founder Josh Bersin, the term “learning in the flow of work” is taking shape as arguably the most disruptive change that learning and development has ever experienced. We have all to some degree seen it in action, and to a larger extent, are living it in our personal lives. The question is: What does this mean for corporate L&D? Simply put, we have an exciting opportunity to change the very nature of our role in corporate learning.
Consider trailblazing digital innovations such as YouTube, Lynda.com, microlearning, AR, VR, MOOCs of every kind and how they’ve radically altered how people learn. Today, learning is truly ubiquitous. Powerful tools like the internet and smartphones give learners a new-found control over how and when they learn for knowledge, skill building and career development, independent from traditional training. Now exceeding $200 billion worldwide, learning has become a big business, incontrovertibly regarded a critical success factor for individuals and companies alike.
From my vantage point, this means our evolutionary journey is accelerating. When you look at the tapestry of corporate learning, it is not hard to see the many variations and levels of maturity. Nonetheless, we have the same end goal in sight: to fortify the workforce with market-informed skills and capabilities that fulfill our organizations’ mission, vision and strategy.
The bottom line is that learning is changing at a dizzying pace and we have an opportunity to reinvent
our role in ways to increase the value of corporate learning. While there is no silver bullet, there are some imperatives to consider:
The new learner: With higher demands on their time, and more information than they can easily assimilate, their tolerance for content that isn’t easily consumed and applied is limited. Adjusting to LFW requires both micro (“I need to know something now”) and macro (“I need to develop”) assets that are presented in a variety of ways.
AI-enabled learner experiences: Tools like learner experience platforms and content curation platforms play an important role in LFW by integrating disparate learning paths into a learner-centric environment. That subsequent data opens endless doors for learning leaders to continuously improve learning’s impact. This learner-centric environment helps today’s learners easily access and consume relevant content in the flow of work and immediately apply the necessary new skills.
Continuous learning: It’s essential to have a market-informed line of sight on the pivotal skills of the future and approach them with an eye toward innovation. We know competition is stiffer as the workforce populates with higher-skilled, knowledgeable workers. Coupling this with ongoing process automation advancements, it’s estimated the shelf life for skills is about five years. With people staying in the workforce longer, there’s a growing need for dynamic solutions that target the right skills at the right time. This requires more than just content, but, rather, engaging opportunities that provide the experiences, education, exposure and environments to improve workforce performance.
Strategic partnerships: Focus on what you do best and let the experts do the rest. As LFW becomes more integrated, development pathways will become more complex. This increases the importance of cultivating strong vendor partnerships that can help you along your journey. Start first with a plan of action, and then build or refine an ecosystem that will help you execute your strategy while realizing a respectable ROI.
LFW is the future and we have a collective opportunity to engage the workforce in a way that will
forever change the value proposition of corporate L&D.