The rapid development of Technology is not only disrupting the existing business models and is also posing a new question, “where is the competition going to come from”? In an era where knowledge is easily and almost equally accessible to all, the one who converts the knowledge to bring about the competitive advantage and disrupts the market becomes the clear winner. This is not the era to play game but to change the rules of the game. This is probably one of the reasons why the CEO’s have put learning in the top of their agenda.
“There was a time when the training budgets were the first one to be cut during challenging times, but now, the CEO’s are exercising prudence and investing where the outcomes will impact their business”
Let us look this situation from the lens of the employees. While many of us are employed, the question is how many who are employed are employable? The pace at which the skills are getting obsolete is putting an unprecedented demand on the professionals to constantly keep learning. Perhaps, there was a time when training was a means to grow or to bridge the gap in the current role. With rapid advancement of Technology, professionals have to learn to keep pace or rather be prepared to lead in the era of change. Many research articles corroborate this as Learning Agility becomes the key indicator of potential. This phenomena is creating a pull towards learning.
At the same time, advent in technology and digitalization is rapidly creating redundancies in the existing jobs while also creating new jobs. This is adding to the pressure on today’s professionals to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn to remain employable. In a HBR *article titled “Your Workplace is more Adaptable than you think”, the authors have mentioned that the professionals are more adaptive about the future but they need support from their organizations. It is in this context that I share some of the perspectives on the above topic.
Future Of Learning & Development
I would like to compare this phenomena of change and learning to “Tom & Jerry Cartoon” where each of them is trying to outsmart each other. The advancement of Technology and the increasing craving to learn will hit a sweet spot in the future.
Learning Will Follow “Jobs-To-Be Done-Approach”
Jobs to be done theory was introduced by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Chrstensen. According to this theory, when a person “hires” or uses a product or service, they are doing so in a situational context. Hence, the L&D teams have to understand the context and tailor make the programs that will help the employees acquire the necessary skills and deliver on their roles.
E-Learning May Be A Thing Of The Past
The comfort of using mobile platforms will make the m-Learning more popular. Technology has developed for the content to be created the mobile compatible format while also enabling interactive features, gamification, etc. This combination of users habit of watching vidoes, playing games or simply reading articles and Technology will enable a faster reach of content to the professionals thereby making Anytime Anywhere Learning a reality.
Gamification will create an element of fun and competition around learning, thus will make it more engaging. Today, there are leading Consultants who are widely using Gamification for Assessments. I myself have gone through one. It was as if I was playing video game for about an hour and the results were accurate. Besides providing the users the status about their progress and how they compare with other learners, the future could see gamification as a strategic management tool which will be backed up with scientific research and framework.
Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs)
LXP’s will really enable the jobs to be done approach. Imagine a situation where one is stuck with a problem and needs immediate solution. With Technologies such as Machine Learning, the LXP can customize the content based on the Usage patterns.**
AI and Future of Learning
The rapid advancement of technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, has impacted all industries, including education. A recent report from IBM, Burning Glass and Business Higher Education Forum shows that the number of job opportunities for data and analytics skills will increase by 364,000 to 2,720,000 in 2020.5 That means that the gap between supply and demand of people with AI skills is growing, with one report showing a worldwide base of 300,000 AI professionals, but with millions of opportunities available, and this gap is resulting in even higher salaries for those in this field.
Further, these technologies will also provide the learner with the facility to personalize and customize their learning paths thus providing hyper personalization. Further, virtual counsellors could observe the learning pattern and advise the learner to take break when they observe the attentiveness going low. Today, there are a number of Virtual Assistant Applications that customize the contents based the learner’s needs and provide them in patterns that can be easily consumed.
Advancements in AR / VR will only create the excitement around learning while at the sametime reducing the training costs significantly, yet providing the users the experience of real workplace training like simulation. This will also enable imparting certain critical technical trainings such as Servicing of complex machines by simulating an artificial one on VR / AR platform and having the users conduct the repair as if on the real machine, which if has to be done would have involved cost, time and infrastructure constraints.
In conclusion, this “Tom and Jerry” game between Technology and Professionals will continue to create the fun and excitement for years to come, but if professional don’t learn fast, machines will, machines are. The future, most certainly belongs to L&D professionals but they have their task cut out.
Views expressed are personal, nothing to do with present or past organization.