corporate learning and development (L&D) teams may no longer be able to rely solely on the LMS, LCMS or CMS systems to meet organizational needs. Innovation and technology disruption can drive rapid evolution of the learning profession. These core systems, while likely essential to facilitating registration and tracking learning content, represent a narrow slice of the broader L&D ecosystem likely needed to be successful with today’s learners.
L&D teams should consider thinking beyond instructional design and reposition themselves as “experience designers” to keep pace with the needs of the businesses they support. This may mean taking a data-driven view of the needs of the workforce, rethinking how content is created and delivered, and embracing the development technologies needed to operate in this new paradigm. As CLOs build or refine their learning and development organizations and infrastructure, here are 3 components to consider.
1. Analytics Informed Workforce Development
Preparing a workforce to deliver in an environment of accelerating change and disruption may require early insights into where the demands for knowledge and skills are heading. Waiting for business leaders to request a new course will likely leave L&D hopelessly lagging. Instead, L&D teams should harness data analytics to identify what risks and skill gaps may exist in the workforce. Connecting hiring data to on-the-job skills, understanding market changes seen by sales teams, and gaining early insight into new industry regulations are a few examples of data sources that L&D teams can tap today. As a result, L&D organizations can proactively generate recommendations and drive impact in alignment with business objectives.
2. Content Curation
Increasingly, L&D teams will likely struggle to design content fast enough to keep pace with changes in the market. Furthermore, most modern learners won’t sit patiently through lengthy e-learning courses. L&D teams should think about what learning looks like for most of today’s learners: blogs, nano-learning, how-to videos, adaptive learning, virtual reality, and performance support systems are a few of the learning modalities available. Curating available content in a meaningful, data-driven way may be necessary to help learners navigate the vast amount of content available. By encouraging consumption of these ‘pull’ resources, L&D teams will likely foster a continuous learning culture.
3. Re-thinking Development Technology
The technology ecosystem likely needed to support today’s workforce and drive business impact should be integrated across talent channels. A talent technology strategy and vision supported by appropriate governance processes may be necessary. While organizations likely have enterprise technology plans for large-scale systems like the LMS, they are typically targeted toward a single department/function. It’s important to try to look beyond the defined scope of the technical asset and imagine ways to adapt the asset to advance how learning reaches learners. For example, simple tools like PoliteMail, typically leveraged by internal communication and marketing teams, can be applied to learning communications to analyze and maximize L&D efforts. Many large scale technology implementations are high cost and may need lots of lead time—taking a fresh look at existing assets may have immediate impact with a low investment.
Business model innovation and disruption can make L&D essential to any business. L&D organizations prepared to embrace the new paradigm and operate at the speed of business by taking full advantage of advanced analytics and technology enablers will likely be poised for success.