If it is really true that we live in a VUCA world then technology change is one of the key forces that has produced it. Digital technology is a major driver of change in the workforce – not just through the new tools and affordances it provides, which people need to be trained to get the best from, but also though the way it disrupts markets, collapses time and geography, reshaping organisations in the process and challenging established ways of doing things.
Luckily, digital technology doesn’t just cause problems for L&D. It also provides powerful tools to help solve those problems. But doing digital learning effectively is hard – as we discovered in the first of our reports from this Think Tank. Part of the reason why it is hard is that when you start using digital to do a job, it seems to have an inbuilt tendency to change the nature of that job. Which itself throws up problems.
So is technology more of an enabler for L&D or a problem? We asked the question two ways. Firstly, we put it to a wide sample of L&D professionals at the Learning Technologies Exhibition.
The vast majority, it is clear, see technology in a positive light. Which raises the question of why, according to Towards Maturity’s research, such a relatively small number of L&D people seem to be really expert in deploying it effectively?
To drill into this question further, we posed it to an invited group of L&D leaders in a ‘Think Tank’ facilitated discussion conducted under Chatham House rules.
Delegates were from organisations including Lloyds Banking Group, Mærsk, MOD, Pragma, Towards Maturity, Trafigura, TUI, and Vodafone.
The result was up a frank, no-holds-barred discussion from which one point emerged very clearly. When you bring digital technology to bear on learning challenges, it changes the way you have to think about learning – and this is not a change that happened in 1998 and has remained fixed in stone ever since, though certain themes have persistent. Change is constant in this space, and liable to remain so for the foreseeable future. Here’s what they had to say.