The new digital learning is not universal

Technology and digitization are changing our society from an industrial to a knowledge and network society. Machines are taking over more and more tasks from us. Work changes, functions change, and employees need 21st century skills to be prepared for this. And then came corona. 

The Financieele Dagblad recently headlined that corona accelerates this change process enormously. It is up to organizations to prepare employees for these 21st century skills. How do you support employees to get the best out of themselves and to learn continuously, in a way that suits the employee? During the 21st Century webinar attention was paid to this by experts Frans van der Pluijm from Conclusion Implementation, Maik van Rossum from Bright Alley and Jessica Heeren from Conclusion Learning Centers.

New skills and jobs
The changes have been so rapid, yet gradual, in recent years that we don't always realize how much has changed. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first applied in 1952. Within a few years, AI will match and surpass our intelligence. It makes little sense to encourage employees to become smarter than AI. It takes over from us remembering, understanding and applying.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, 53 million jobs will disappear in Europe in the next ten years due to automation. As an organization, transparency about automation and the discussion with employees about the future of their own function is crucial.

Old jobs disappear, but new ones replace those that require different skills. Important skills for the employee of the 21st century are in any case critical thinking, creative thinking, problem-solving ability, cooperation, communication, social and ICT (basic) skills. But what new skills do employees think they need themselves? And what do they need to make it their own?

Different learning wishes and needs
As technology takes over more and more of our tasks and our skills change, the way of learning also changes. When employees understand the skills, they want and need to develop and that match the needs of the organization, it is time for a learning journey. But how employees learn is not universal.

Where generation X still reads the instruction booklet before assembling a cabinet, Generation Z prefers to watch a YouTube tutorial. That is why the employee must be central to his own learning process. Currently, formal classroom learning is shifting to webinars and e-learning. Partly due to corona this is gaining momentum. But that is not the outcome for every employee and the best method for learning new skills.

The learning ecosystem Employees each learn in their own way. Organizations must facilitate this. At present, a large number of organizations already work with Learning Management Systems (LMS). Having this is often an end in itself, but not enough to meet the needs of employees. This requires insight. It is important to see how individual employees learn.

While the current learning management systems (LMSs) are mainly focused on formal learning and the organization determines the content, the employee is central to the learning ecosystem. The learning ecosystem is an integration of different systems, tools and content. In addition to the offerings such as classroom and online training, micro-learning and articles, collaboration and sharing content with colleagues are important elements for a learning ecosystem. Employees have one place for all their learning and development questions.

By linking a learning record store to the learning ecosystem, you as an organization gain insight into the learning behavior of employees. For example, a video can often be viewed, but if you are not aware of the fact that employees drop out halfway, it will still not yield the desired result. A learning ecosystem makes it possible to improve the quality of content and to better meet the wishes and needs of individual employees. This allows the employee to be even better facilitated in taking control of his or her development.

Organizations are rapidly adapting to the new normal. Employees can work remotely, collaborate digitally using tools and give webinars. The corona crisis has forced HR and employees to embrace these developments. In addition, we are taking major steps in digital collaboration, an important skill for the 21st Century. It is now up to organizations not to create a universal digital learning route, but to facilitate employees in their own unique learning process.

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Source: Management Impact
July 2, 2020