Covid set the wheels in motion for an en masse move away from classroom L&D. Arguably though, the real catalyst for long-term corporate learning change, alongside digital transformation, is the rise of hybrid work.
But what does this mean for learning tech?
Business leaders are certainly keeping a watchful eye on the capabilities of their technology as the pandemic continues to throw up new developments in how we learn at work. One thing is abundantly clear, though. Course-centric learning has come to represent a square peg in an industry where demand now centres around real-time learning.
What we do know is that the 2020 knee-jerk shift to virtual learning was never going to last (who doesn’t have Zoom fatigue?). The demand for learning tech that enables people to instantly access and apply knowledge in the flow of work is growing too. Why? Because with 72% of the workforce stating a preference for hybrid work, technology is now essential to connecting learners with subject matter experts (SMEs) for learning and performance continuity.
How does one decide what the best L&D technology is? Here are four questions to put top of your learning tech checklist in the hybrid working world:
1. Does it support learning in the here and now?
Consider this: is your learning system (or the solution you’re interested in) architectured for the here and now? Does it cater to the macro shift to hybrid work while also playing to all the microlearning needs within it? In other words, does it enable remote – and immediate – access to SME knowledge, at the same time aligning with the individual’s preference for formal, informal, social, or in-flow learning?
That’s a lot to factor in, yes. But these are the demands we must now place on technology to help us navigate the new world of work and ensure continuing opportunities for upskilling and reskilling.
To put this into context, I am a “freedom” learner who loves bite-sized learning and tapping into expert tacit knowledge when I need to solve a problem at work. In contrast, millions of other people prefer to learn in a more formal and structured way. Learning tech must therefore cater to both ends of this spectrum (and everything in between) to ensure employees can learn in a way that works for them.
2. Can it create a corporate brain?
In today’s fast-changing environment where the speed of knowledge change is ever-increasing, even that’s not enough. Learning systems must be future-proofed for the corporate learning needs of today and tomorrow.
But what does that actually mean?
Having the capability to capture, pool, and categorise knowledge in a way that creates and builds a ‘corporate brain’ (your company’s very own Google) is a major factor here. And, by enabling employees to access the knowledge held within this brain instantly, businesses can expect to see rapid performance uplift.
But as if that wasn’t enough, here comes the real ‘next level’ thinking: leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate a deep understanding of the learner’s situation and intent as well as all the content stored within the corporate brain. The result? Learners are guided directly to the part of a video or digital training session that holds the exact answer or information they need, dramatically reducing search time and increasing productivity. This is Knowledge Intelligence (KI) – and it’s the next big thing in L&D tech.
3. Does it support consumer-like learning?
Of course, even the best and most innovative learning tech will only drive performance if people are actively using it for learning at work. There are two major success factors here:
- Learners must derive continuous value from engaging with their learning platform
- They must enjoy consistently great learning experiences that make it easy to consume share, and create content in the world of hybrid work.
What we’re talking about here is learning tech that can replicate consumer-like learning experiences in the corporate world. Having easy and instant access to Google-like knowledge that supports problem-solving at the point of need. Also, crucially, it builds that all-important habit for learning in the flow of work.
Case in point: almost everyone turns to Google or YouTube when they need to source the answer to a question in their consumer life. So, why would we not replicate this effective model in the world of corporate L&D?
4. Is it future-proofed for open integration?
When it comes to L&D success, experience is everything. First and foremost, the technology must deliver a simple and seamless front-door user experience. It also needs to support back-end open integration so that learners – and other extended audiences – can easily surface knowledge within multiple third-party business systems.
However, in today’s rapidly-changing environment, learning leaders need to be thinking beyond even this. They must question whether a technology solution is future-proofed for the many emerging technologies we can expect to see over the coming years. Is there functionality to plug these innovations, whether from a niche provider or one of the tech giants, into your learning platform down the line?
In the new world of work, these are all vital questions to ask when assessing the capabilities of any learning tech product.
Fuse is the learning and knowledge platform that sparks active engagement and ignites people performance. It is used by more than 120 enterprises around the world, including Vodafone, Panasonic, Scandic, Avon, Mazda and BAe, and connects people with the knowledge and expertise they need to acquire new skills and achieve high performance at work.