How technology is solving L&D
problems in organizations today

Increasing employee engagement in the learning process is becoming a key challenge many organizations face with regards to eLearning in the workplace. The year 2020 toppled the way organizations worked, with the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown dictating an accelerated adoption of technology, to quickly realign with the new normal. As remote work picked up at a rapid pace, the Learning and Development (L&D) industry was faced with newer set of challenges.

In the changing environment, on the one hand, upskilling and reskilling are the need of the hour with additional requirement to make learning seamless and intuitive for employees in the workplace. On the other, organizations need to be proactive to identify these gaps while investing time, effort, and money to use the appropriate L&D strategies.

According to a LinkedIn survey report, 64% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D shifted from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” in 2021.

Yet another challenge revolves around millennials who have grown up during the changing face of technology. Labeled as a ‘distracted generation’, lengthy eLearning classroom training sessions pose a struggle for the employee who is juggling a work-life balance. Online programs need to be developed to tailor to modern needs and offer a learning motive for professionals with a shorter attention span. Organizations also face the difficulty of the creation of new courses with additional costs incurred to modernize legacy but instructionally sound content. Besides, long formats of content are often viewed as an “optional” activity by employees.

Driving Technology to Enhance Learning Methods

So, how can technology support to deliver content that addresses these issues? Let us find out!

AI-Powered Learning Systems

Learning experience platforms (LXP) powered by AI are a preferred solution when weighed against the traditional Learning Management System (LMS). LXPs support business firms to identify skill gaps, offer personalization, display analytics to determine human behaviors, preferences, and performance. As LXPs support predicting the learners’ style and patterns, it goes beyond the offerings of a traditional LMS. The flexibility of LXPs, thus powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), plays a vital role in changing the learning style.

Microlearning Formats

Employees often do not show preference to consuming lengthy training formats. Implementation of learning in the flow of work resolves the issue.

Adoption of microlearning formats such as text, images, short videos and audios, games, quizzes, and more are useful for bite-sized learning modules. Microlearning programs are cost-effective and cater to the busy employees of today by offering them engaging content without the weight of a lengthy course. This format may not be suitable for all types of certification programs that may include longer content formats. However, Harbinger’s xSmart framework supports organizations to identify the key learning areas and present lengthy content in a smarter framework within no time!

Responsive Learning Design

According to the eLearning industry, 70% of learners experience greater motivation to access training on a mobile device.

Responsive eLearning designs create an improved learning experience while generating higher engagement. As smartphones have taken over as a preferred platform for a majority of online activities, responsive learning designs that are mobile-friendly offer complete flexibility. Mobile learning thus gives access to education anytime.

Immersive Learning Experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) offer highly immersive learning experiences to employees, supporting to retain attention in a remote-working age. Technology has evolved with VR headsets while simulating real-world scenarios in the digital space. The application of AR/VR technology breaks down the complexities of a subject to provide greater interaction while allowing employees to learn at their own pace.

Modern-day employees require the learning process to be tailored to their needs. Technology in itself has undergone multiple transformational processes to change the way learning is delivered, perceived, and consumed. Organizations need to leverage technology to meet the need of the hour. If you’re looking to scale up your digital programs and modernize content in no time, write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com to discuss more.

Does L&D Have a Seat at the C-Suite Table?

The role of L&D expanded during the pandemic and is becoming even more crucial now. Despite all the challenges organizations have faced last year, there has never been a more exciting time for learning and development. Infact, there has never been a better time to ask this question – “Does L&D have a seat at the C-Suite table?” I’m sure most of us would answer this in an affirmative “Yes”. That’s what LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2021[1] states too. According to the report, 63% of L&D pros believe that the L&D seat at the C-suite table is secure in 2021, which is a huge jump compared to just 24% respondents who felt the same in March 2020.

There could be many factors driving this change but the most pertinent one being that workers, managers, and business leaders – literally everyone is feeling the pressure to upskill and reskill today. The report by LinkedIn also identifies upskilling and reskilling as the top priority in 2021 for L&D pros globally, followed by other priorities like leadership and management, and virtual onboarding. A recent survey by Degreed reveals similar insights – Six-in-ten respondents feel that Covid-19 and the resulting economic crisis has accelerated the need to acquire new skills. Josh Bersin also highlights this challenge through his viewpoint of the rising need for internal mobility, in his recent article.[2]

In the current scheme of things, organizations have to learn how to match their crew to new roles and activities. The new-collar worker’s rise reflects the need to emphasize skills and ability over someone’s academic pedigree. On one hand, these changes have left L&D leaders thinking about strategies to reskill and upskill their workforces rapidly while on the other, they’ve also earned L&D a much-deserved seat at the C-Suite table, something that they’ve been hoping for, since long. L&D is rightfully in the driver’s seat today, as a strategic enabler of this monumental leap. Clearly, it’s their time and opportunity to play a crucial role as a change agent.

Harbinger had the privilege of hosting some of the world’s highly accomplished learning and development leaders for a recent Power Hour that touched upon the same topic. These experts gathered to talk about ‘Designing L&D for success in the post-pandemic world: The CLO Point of View.’  The session included Joti Joseph (A Seasoned L&D expert with a 26-year stint at Standard Chartered Bank) and Ken Hubbell (Sr. Vice President of Instructional Design Strategy and Innovation at Wells Fargo Bank) as panelists. The discussion was led and facilitated by Dr Vikas Joshi (CEO at Harbinger Group). The panel had an intriguing exchange of thoughts about the shift in the role of a CLO and the redesigned L&D function and corresponding change in KPIs. Some very insightful points were raised in the discussion. Vikas opened the discussion by sharing some industry statistics and ran a poll to know our audience’s top focus areas for L&D programs in 2021. (Not surprisingly, the results were in-line with what the LinkedIn report mentioned earlier, stated – Upskilling and reskilling, a clear winner with almost 60% votes). This was followed by a deliberation on the shifting role of the CLO, coupled by the new skills that L&D pros need to acquire, and concluded with a discussion of new KPIs for the redesigned L&D function.

The panelists opined that the L&D function needs to step up and take up more and different responsibilities, than they’ve been handling so far, to deliver what is expected of them in the coming times. L&D leaders are in the most powerful position to impact the culture of the organization they’re working in.

Shift in the Role of CLO and the Changing L&D KPI

Chief Learning Officer as the Bridge

In her opening thoughts, Joti shared that she feels that the role of Chief Learning Officer as someone who holds the triangle of human resources, learning, and business together has fundamentally changed in the last one year, and that’s what has probably got them the seat at the C-suite table as well. She also touched upon some skills that L&D professionals need to acquaint themselves with, to thrive. These include but are not limited to consulting, curation, personalization, and technology adoption and enablement.

Ken emphasized why it is of paramount importance for L&D pros to learn how to speak the language of business today. He feels that this will also enable them to show the impact of what learning can actually do in terms of metrics that that rest of the business stakeholders understand. Joti had similar thoughts when questioned around the changing L&D KPIs. She felt L&D KPIs need to be completely in sync with business KPIs and these two units should not function in isolation.

Talking more about metrics for measuring L&D success, the panel discussed how it is crucial for L&D to systematically move from effort measures to outcome measures. Ken shared his experience and recommendation of moving from traditional reporting and measurement via surveys and questionnaires to Net Promoter Scores as an effective measure of L&D success.

Avoiding Distractions

While talking about some new focus areas for L&D like mental health, Covid awareness, diversity and inclusivity, Joti raised a very relevant point. She feels it’s important for L&D leaders to avoid distraction and highlight ‘concept fatigue.’ She reiterated that L&D leaders need not go about implementing every new strategy they hear of and should ideally stick with chosen strategies and plans till they can prove their hypothesis, one way or the other.

The Final Word

The session had some great insights and clearly laid out how Chief Learning Officers view the world from their vantage point. L&D does have a seat at the C-Suite table provided it takes up an expanded role in the post-pandemic world, and experts have this confirmed for you.

Check out the on-demand recording of the Power Hour to hear the whole discussion. Do share your thoughts through the comments section below or reach out to us at info@harbingerelearning.com to share your feedback.

 

[1] https://learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/amp/learning-solutions/images/wlr21/pdf/LinkedIn-Learning_Workplace-Learning-Report-2021-EN-1.pdf

[2] Not Enough Workers: Rethink Recruiting In The New Economy – JOSH BERSIN