The New Era of Learning and Development Is Here


We are living in the knowledge economy, where knowledge is power. Helping people learn, innovate and share knowledge is one of the building blocks of organizational success in a competitive world. Learning and Development (L&D) Opens a new window is, thus, not merely an HR agenda but a key priority for business leaders, including the CEO. The top management is concerned about what and how their people learn, in a bid to ensure they surpass productivity expectations like never before. We therefore see CEOs investing heavily in the latest technologies to make learning more “available” and “accessible”, anywhere and anytime. 
It is not just the top management, the everyday employee too is looking at learning differently. Rather than just another classroom training, learning is being taken seriously, and employees want to learn the way they engage in the personal lives—at the tap of a button on their smartphones. User-friendly and intuitive learning interfaces, personalized content that truly benefits each learner, and everywhere learning are just some of the new-age learning trends, driven by employee expectations. Here is a closer look at some of these:
1. Simple and intuitive: No one has the time to invest hours in skill upgradation at a time when work deliverables take priority. Learning should be such that the employee logs in quickly, learns quickly and can refresh his or her knowledge just as quickly and effectively. Simple, intuitive user interfaces where the employee can figure out navigations himself or herself, are the norm today. Attention spans are low and employees want instant gratification even when they learn. The answer is to create beautiful and seamless experiences without glitches. 

2. Customised content: Role-based learning is in vogue, as employees wish to learn what helps propel their careers. Learning is becoming more self-directed, with the choice of what and how to learn shifting to the employee. Accordingly, the content too must be personalized to the role, locations, career aspirations, personal interests and so on. Only then will employees take interest in learning. 

3. Social and collaborative: The age when individual employees logged into their system to gain knowledge individually is slowly dwindling. We can see the rise of knowledge management as a core learning and development area, with social learning platforms and portals helping employees share and express their learnings. Learning communities, peer-to-peer learning sessions, social media-like learning platforms are some of the ways to make this happen. 

4. Everywhere learning: People today are used to communicating on many devices at once—smartphones, desktops, tablets, smart wearables etc. Naturally they expect the same degree of flexibility and accessibility in their professional endeavors. Learning and development departments must therefore develop content that is viable across all devices and communication channels. We already see instances of employees completing an online course while on the treadmill. Learning anywhere and anytime is a prerequisite to creating a learning culture for people. 
New-age learning is not just about knowledge dissemination, it is about creating an engaging and immersive learning experience. L&D professionals must turn to the latest technology to be able to deliver on this learning need. Innovation in learning is what will help create a “learning organization”, as proposed years before by management guru Peter Senge.