Be creative – How to break free from traditional learning
Asia’s workplaces are changing. Recent research from PwC has shown that only 57% of employees are satisfied with their jobs and at least a third of employees are intending to ask for a promotion or a raise in the next 12 months. Employees also associate diverse learning opportunities with attractive employers, and they are interested in reskilling with tech skills, given the emerging and dramatic shortfall in tech talent across Asia.
However, workplace learning is still dominated by traditional, face-to-face education, and traditional certification systems. The pandemic taught us all that remote working was not only possible, but it could also be productive. It is interesting that comparatively few organisations have shifted their learning strategy to reflect the changes in attitude among employees, and to future-proof their organisations.
There is nothing wrong with traditional, face-to-face learning. But in a world where resilience and agility are crucial to competitive advantage, traditional learning may be too slow and too cumbersome to meet the immediate needs of both businesses and employees alike.
Probably the most logical transition from traditional workplace learning is the blended learning opportunity, where self-paced online training is combined with peer-to-peer learning in formal seminars. While learning managers may be underprepared for blended learning, there is an opportunity for companies to grow their L&D teams with experienced blended learning practitioners.
Blended learning takes advantage of technology-based solutions to facilitate “learning in the flow of work”. Learning takes place in the context of everyday tasks, using technology-mediated collaboration and communication. This kind of embedded learning into workplace practice can reinforce formal training sessions and help speed up decision making and skills development.
The advantage of blended learning is not just the speed of delivery of learning, but also the opportunity for companies to customise problem-solving activities offered in workplaces. Employees, too, can customise their own learning experiences and because they engage with business problem solving, they become more invested in the interests of their employer.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the emerging trend of social learning is best conducted remotely. Not only does it improve employee communication and improve the visibility of remote work, but it can be conducted in an asynchronous fashion and can act as a team building tool for remote workers.
Gamified learning, remote events, and coaching and mentoring all act as mechanisms to improve a sense of connection and cohesion in increasingly distributed and divided workplaces. People-to-people interactions enable a more personalised and less formal learning experience, and they encourage employees to try new skills.
Many microcredentials are offered as remote learning programmes, with assessment being conducted through more traditional exams and assignments, or increasingly through a combination of project development and peer review. The advantage of microcredentials is speed of delivery of skilled workers and the opportunity to combine different microcredentials into a formal certification or traditional qualification over time.
A workforce that is often on the move, or is focused on customer engagement or manual labour, can be limited by desktop-bound online learning experiences and face-to-face training programmes. Mobile learning that takes advantage of the social and communication attributes of mobile devices offers employees a more flexible and adaptable learning experience.
Mobile learning is instantaneous, and the preferred option among people trying to solve a problem in place. From YouTube videos to social posting, the opportunity to learn on the fly is much more powerful through portable connected devices. Mobile learning expands access to learning for employees that might not generally work before a computer screen, as well as tapping into natural curiosity and employee interest.
Summing it up
As alternatives to traditional learning programmes, technology-based learning management systems are commonly used, but it is important not to assume that the technology alone delivers a modern learning experience.
“This is the time to break free of traditional learning experiences and to help deliver the workforce of the future.” – Gavin Russell, General Manager, APAC, Docebo.
Learning managers need to think about how they can facilitate social engagement and performance tracking to ensure that learning experiences meet the needs of employees. Learning managers should be pairing content in the online learning platform with company strategy, and with the way that employees interact.
Employees are seeking high engagement experiences, and development of a full scope ecosystem of learning, career development and strategic purpose can help them understand how they are valued, and how they contribute to the future of any company.
We have an opportunity to lead the world with learning experiences that drive employee loyalty and improve company performance. This is the time to break free of traditional learning experiences and to help deliver the workforce of the future. All it takes is a little creativity.
About the author: Gavin Russell is General Manager, APAC, Docebo