The global learning and development environment has undergone a massive transformation, at a pace that many organizations have found it difficult to keep up with. This shows no sign of slowing down.
While we’re encouraged to embrace change as a sign of progression, it does bring its own set of challenges. The complexity of technology that doesn’t integrate, the lack and prioritization from stakeholders and the desperate need to show results can all lead to HR and talent burnout.
What’s more, as organizations grapple with building outcomes-based learning that has an impact. Many report that the process itself was so complex and arduous, that copious amounts of time are often spent making compliance engaging with little focus put on developing the right skills needed for the future workforce. This happens when technology is put first and business and skills objectives second
Why skills development is fundamental: skills gaps are the ‘new norm’
Part of the current environment of constant change is the increased
movement of people between roles. We’re seeing people moving into
organizations, moving up within organizations, and – especially with the current
“Great Resignation” – moving out of organizations, at a faster pace than ever
In addition to this, because the half-life of the average job description has shrunk from 2 years to 6 months, we have to rely on more creative solutions to meet emerging skills needs:
- We can’t rely on hiring the right skills, as there are simply not enough to meet the national need
- Organizations are urged to get better at training people internally
- Collaborative skills and increased communication are coming to the fore
- Hard skills require more sophisticated technology for learning
- Soft skill development requires more emotional engagement, which can present a complex challenge in today’s working and learning environment
In a recent Kineo webinar, a panel of L&D experts discussed 4 key pillars to building a successful learning ecosystem. Our webinar, hosted by Andy Costello, Head of Customer Solutions at Kineo, unpacked these fundamental pillars that businesses can adopt to build a thriving learning ecosystem.
Pillar 1: Business and learning objectives first. Technology second
One of the challenges that we’ve observed among organizations that facilitate training is that learning and development are often misaligned with business objectives, in scope, and even in timing.
We can demonstrate this through some of the most common L&D pitfalls:
- Organizations become fixated on the form of their program (IE: presentation and technology), over and above the relevant content
- Organizations over-extend themselves, attempting to achieve too much at once
- Organizations sometimes have overly prescriptive expectations and fail to collaborate with those who specialize in program development
As Stephen Foy, Kineo Solutions Consultant, pointed out in our webinar discussion: “Unless you have a target and a destination, you are not going to get there. Well-defined, aligned objectives are the map of the learning journey – without them, you can create “pretty” learning experiences that are ultimately ineffective.”
Pillar 2: Learners at the heart of skills development
Speaking about creating effective L&D programs, Preston Gales, Global Director of Learning Design & Product Innovation at Kineo, says, “One of the biggest mistakes we see is a lack of personalization. Every learner comes to the table with a distinct set of skills, various levels of competency, and now entirely new working environments – many working at home with children present or sharing office space with a partner.”
Traditionally, organizations have tried a one-size-fits-all approach – that’s not what individuals need. Organizations are urged to keep each learner at the heart of their individual skills development journeys:
- Simplicity is the answer – minimize the ‘noise’ of constant and unnecessary busy-ness to enable people to assimilate focused learning
- Get to know your learners, using data and feedback, to bridge fluid skills gaps
- Remember that people have a lot on their plate and may feel anxious about complex L&D programs
- Be cognizant of ‘digital fatigue’ and develop courses that enable recovery
- Focus on real productivity and performance, more than flashy learning interactions
- Allow learners the space to think, reflect and then contribute
Pillar 3: Embedding to modern learning experiences
If we consider the pre-pandemic learning environment, there was a strong
bias toward face-to-face learning. During the pandemic, we saw a 100% shift to
remote learning and a complete loss of socially interactive learning. Modern
learning now has a new face – blended learning is the most common solution:
- Some learning is still better-done in-person (particularly soft skills and controlled feedback models)
- Some learning is done independently and is more reflective in nature
- There’s an increased focus on soft skills to improve collaboration in remote and hybrid working conditions
- We need to go back to the basics and simplify the noise
- Close collaboration with a learning partner helps to align learning objectives with business objectives and design targeted course materials
- Building experiences that break down silos is key
We can clearly see how catering to the modern learning environment correlates closely with Pillar 2, which centers around learner needs. The most effective way to get learners from A to B – where “B” is the business’ objective – is to understand where learners are at. This is especially true where point “A” is so different from one person to the next, as is so typical in today’s day and age.
Lars Highland, Managing Director of EMEA and CLO for Totara, speaks about making these models work: “The core skill we’re all desperate for is good communication, and the ability to empathise – these are the heart of modern work and modern learning.”
Pillar 4: Using data analytics and performance management to inspire
Measuring performance has become increasingly complex. Although the bottom line is still the end goal of any commercial organization, success is no longer measured by just a number on a spreadsheet.
However, many companies investing in skills development, performance measurement and analytics may still be stuck in that bygone era, where:
- Analytics currently focuses on compliance audits, instead of performance outcomes.
- Inadequate reporting and visualization tools hinder access to real metrics.
- Limited data sheds little light on actual performance, how to understand it, and how to compare it with similar organizations.
- Learning objectives are reported as course modules ticked off, instead of learning competence achieved and demonstrated.
When it comes to skills development programs data and analytics form an integral part of the roadmap that learners and organizations use along their learning journeys:
- Personalized reporting empowers the learner and the organization to make informed decisions regarding the next steps in learning, every single step of the way.
- What’s more, it allows organizations to identify further skills gaps and emerging needs, so that they can tailor their programs to meet those needs, on time.
- Meaningful and well-visualized data equips HR and L&D Line Managers with compelling data in favor of skills development initiatives, effectively closing the gap between learning objectives and business objectives.
Contact Kineo to explore tailored learning solutions
If your organisation needs help in to embed these practices or help set up a learning culture that thrives, speak to a Kineo expert, and discover more
Link to webinar :)