Reetu Raina, Global OD Practice Lead, Amdocs
In the knowledge era which differs drastically from industrial era in terms of dependency on human intellect. In this new era one of the fields which will be pivotal in determining organizational success will be Learning and Development.
The assets which make organizations to be innovative and creative are knowledge and implementation ability of their employees. So focus is on the education of the employees to help them not only to perform their current job but to make them future ready as well. It is not only about increasing importance of learning and development but it is about the scope as well which is equally changing. The turnaround between the knowing and execution has shortened.
With the changing context learning and development industry will have to redefine the way it operates today to the way it will operate in future. It has to move away from the dogmatic ways of yearly calendar, classroom training and secluded time for training. Yearly plans will need to be replaced by agile adaptable plan for here and now. With world becoming globalized more and more learners in the organizations will be dispersed across geographies spreading across different time-zones of organizations. No one place will have critical mass of learners at one point in time.
Learning will have to move from production to quality. The current terms of consumption based on man-hours of learning and feedback of the program will be replaced by relevance and timeliness. The scope of the learning will move from the efficiency to value. And to bring this shift learning has to be connected to day to day job and the scope of future responsibility. The concept of nice-to-have has to be replaced by must-to-have. When the shift happens it will lead to new methodology of learning from classroom to the real world practice.
One of the learning methods which will bring value to the organization will be allowing people to fail to finally win. This may not look tangible at times and will impact the way we organize, plan and execute our logistics budgets and methodologies to the process.
It may even mean that it is not a standalone function or department but philosophy ingrained in the DNA of organization where learning is given priority and happens by design but not by default.
It could even mean the change in the way we position these roles of Learning and Development in organizations today, the boundaries will be fluid even roles and responsibilities may not be clear. So organizations have to be mature to look at the integrated outcome from learning along with business objectives.
When the boundaries get blurred and it no more remains a technical challenge it becomes an adaptive challenge. The differential competitive edge which the future organization may face will be the organizations which are able to create learning organization with long term but agile plan for the development of their people.
3 facets of learning which will make the Learning and Development imperative in future:
Relevance and learning integrated with their Job
Learning will not be a standalone activity where we will have to take out participants from their day job. Learning will have to be integrated to day jobs where it expedites the learner performance while delivering their tasks. When the integration of learning will happen with the day to day, the real world practice will happen on real day to today. This will not only help the learner to see the value of learning instantly but also help them learn faster. But to provide such learning infrastructure would be a challenge for the learning and development departments as they are used to convenient and traditional way today.
Mode of learning:
Learners will need to learn anywhere anytime and with advancement of technology it has started becoming possible. MOOC’s (Massive open online courses) have shortened the distance from experts and learner. You can learn anywhere anytime and interact with community of learners. This makes learning faster and less dependent on resources like money, location etc.
Peer learning through communities of learners will also lessen the dependency on experts. Based on interest levels learners can form groups and create virtual learning infrastructure for themselves. The way organizations react to these forward looking thoughts and leverage them will be the key for success of Learning and development. Bureaucracy will be replaced by democracy so learning and development departments should ease out the processes by being proactive in such forward looking thought processes.
Topics of learning:
There will be shift in the learning from top down to bottom up. The subjects and topics of learning will be more real. Learning topics will be connected to the aspirations and need of the learners. It will not be a handful of department heads who will be deciding what people in their organizations need to learn.