The checklist of questions that learning leaders ask themselves before deciding which learning technology best fits their organization is long; which vendor is the best? What kind of platforms are available? What kind of content is most appropriate? What are the organization’s most important needs now and in the future?
But CLOs often forget to ask one very important question: “Does the learning technology work cohesively with an employee’s everyday workflow?”
Learning technology is becoming more mobile, more accessible, and more collaborative, and learning leaders must know how to incorporate learning into employees’ work days — not take them out of it. Iain Scholnick, CEO of Braidio, a collaborative learning platform that recently partnered with Kandy, a communications platform service, to help make learning more accessible, talked to Chief Learning Officer about the importance of incorporating learning into an employee’s everyday workflow.
Kuzel: Why is it so important for learning leaders to consider learning technology delivery systems with regard to everyday workflow?
Scholnick: How we deliver learning today in the organization is an artifact of our K-12 experience. We went physically to a building, and we learned from a teacher. That model has impacted our LMS design and how we approach learning. It’s not in the workflow. You have a workflow inside your organization — the crowd learning within your organization and how you structure that based on a day-to-day: What projects am I working on? What information do I need? Who has that information or can give me some guidance? Now, think about what you’re doing with the LMS. You’re going to that K-12 experience. You’re going to that laptop with a very long-winded instructor to lead content. It’s driven from the top down to all their employees who then take a timeout from their workflow to learn. That’s not exactly the most productive model.
Kuzel: What happens if learning leaders don’t consider that everyday workflow?
Scholnick: Employees are doing it themselves. They’re constructing the learning model that works with their own daily workflow. You have a set of websites you visit, articles you read, and people you follow. You pull it from multiple different workplaces outside of your organization, and then you pull from inside your organization. You’ve constructed your own narrative for learning, your own workflow. That has nothing to do with the organization. Then there’s a separate instance called your organization’s learning model. There is some important content for what you do, for brushing up on technology and learning — what I would call anchor content. Then there’s different types of responses to that anchor content that you could learn from and a general discussion. If you don’t take advantage of what people are organically constructing, you’re going to end up losing that audience.
Kuzel: What are the perks of eliminating all of the additional, top down learning technology features?
Scholnick: We’re not trying to eliminate core content the organization needs you to learn from. We’re just trying to put it into the context of how you learn and how you learn with your coworkers. So it’s not such a forced, isolated experience. It’s an experience that works with how you do your day to day. It becomes much more meaningful. Kandy offers the ability to deepen that organic framework. It gives us what we call webRTC, or unified communication — things like group chat, video chat, texting, storage of data in particular against a thread. Something that’s very popular that always gets underappreciated is presence. Presence tells you who’s online. In the context of learning that’s very powerful. You can get online in a Braidio learning environment and say, “Danny’s online. I’m going to ping Danny because I see he’s taken the same course or he’s dealt with some of the same key issues.” It’s very easy to start getting [people] to collaborate together.
Kuzel: Can you describe what the contextual, streaming learning model is, and the broadcast learning model? Which is best, and how should organizations determine which they need to deliver the business results they require?
Scholnick: The broadcast model is the organization’s requirements, or just the general conceptual old model. Have you ever taken courses in your organization around compliance, whether it’s disability, diversity inclusion, unconscious bias, team training? That’s broadcast to you on a laptop. You have to sign off; you click through; you do a questionnaire. It has no real context to what you’re doing in your day-to-day. You’re learning from me. You’re learning from yourself. That’s your contextual framework. However, there’s one caveat; some of those courses your organization requires you to take are really critical. You want to integrate them into your contextual day-to-day in a meaningful manner, so you can pull from it when you need it. [An organization] needs to acknowledge that most of us have developed our own model for learning that’s very contextual. People use their own devices. That’s not going to stop because there’s an efficient, contextual model for learning, collaborating and for reaching out to people.
Kuzel: What’s in store for learning and development?
Scholnick: I don’t like this term because people think of that thing in the back of your pocket; it’s mobile and unified communications. When you think about learning and mobile, the content is designed to be much more agile, smaller, soundbites. It’s going to be accessible in many different forms, very quickly, in a way that’s blended with other types of content. It’s going to be part of your day-to-day experience. We’re going to chat. We’re going to have presence. We’re going to have text, and you’re going to be able to use key-wording. All of that is going to be part of your day. The alternative is that we buy a very expensive LMS focused on the enterprise, and they’re very static. You go to them on your laptop, you learn, and then you leave. It doesn’t have any context with how you’re doing your day-to-day.
AnnMarie Kuzel is a former Chief Learning Officer editorial intern. Comment below, or email email@example.com.