The L&D industry is really good at predictions – take your pick – there are many of them being shared across the usual channels.
Last year we saw predictions around new models for learning – with a move away from centralised learning provision to a more learner-driven approach. And it’s been interesting to watch the gravitational pull towards “self-directed learning” as the data-driven realities around the need for learning enablement rather than learning creation hit home.
At Lumesse we have been extremely fascinated at the feedback on our me:time platform – a platform that enables self-directed learning, putting learners in control. It’s also interesting to hear from the organisations who are reviewing me:time who don’t just see this as an alternative approach to learning enablement but as an employee benefit.
So on reading the latest Bersin predictions, it occurred to me that the first six anticipated trends have already been influencing our thinking around the design of me:time and the reasons why we feel that now is the right time for a different approach to learning.
The first prediction talks about Agile organisation models starting to go mainstream (1). As organisations focus more on the skills they have rather than the structures and roles they operate within, a self-directed learning approach makes a lot more sense. Platforms that allow learners right across the organisation to rapidly upskill, reskill and cross skill without any friction (e.g. line manager sign off) are going to be key in enabling agile workforces. Learning that is aligned to role-based requirements is, as a focus, too narrow as it’s not just about role-based competencies anymore – learners need to seek out the learning they need for their current and future careers and even for life.
Digital transformation is already having a significant influence on organisations – this is not just a prediction it is reality. Organisations we talk to have been reviewing and in some cases even removing levels within their management structures. Less hierarchy and more autonomy are seen as key drivers for innovation and individuals within those organisations will need to adjust and learn new skills. Automation is also having an impact – yes role displacement may be one aspect but new opportunities arise too as the pace of innovation continues to increase and new roles/skills (not yet heard of) are created.
Bersin also predicts the impact of Digital Transformation forcing new leadership models (2). A new focus for leaders to co-create with their teams requires a different (and less directive) set of leadership skills e.g. listening, synthesising and rapidly reformulating ideas at any point. Agile business leaders will benefit less from the longer term planning and goal setting approaches and will have far more success focusing on softer skills such as inclusive leadership.
The need to treat employees as consumers is also mentioned (3). The “new employee” is the new consumer and needs to be treated as such. This means the new employee/learner needs to be trusted and even enabled to self-direct their own learning experiences. In fact, this concept of the “new learner” has played a big part in shaping the me:time product. It is, by design, a consumer product but offered and funded through the learner’s own organisation – a bit like a benefit. Speaking of benefits and that is another prediction (4) – that is exactly what we are doing with me:time, encouraging organisations to offer learning as a benefit.
Seamless integration between work and learning is an interesting prediction (5). For many it happens anyway i.e. those with a learning habit will naturally seek to learn the new skills they need without being told using a variety of learning programmes, resources, social networks, information hubs (and so on). For L&D it’s about recognising that learning is an ongoing journey not a destination and point solutions will not deliver long term results. Learning just needs to be there, when needed and accessible without any friction.
With me:time the content market place provides the variety needed to support the journey and we are also aiming to create a seamless integration between learning required for work and learning required for life. We believe if learning becomes a habit, we just keep learning and that is going to be key for future proofing skills. The World economic forum talks about the need for individuals to skill, reskill and skill again in order to prepare for the future of work but we also believe it is personal too.