Every year Learning & Development professionals seek to better enable their organizations’ learning, and development of talent by evaluating, developing and leveraging new strategies, technologies, and other modalities. As we embark on 2020, we want to share our top 5 considerations that you, as a learning professional, should be considering to help your organization enhance its L&D strategy.
The top 5 considerations for 2020 are Adaptive Learning, Learning Analytics, Learning Experience Platforms, Content Delivery Modalities, and integrating Coaching and Performance Support into Learning. We believe each of these elements if properly implemented, will have a positive effect on your development of talent and your L&D capabilities.
1. Adaptive Learning
Adaptive Learning continues to rise and gain traction amongst those in the L&D community. It’s the usage of brain science to ensure mastery of a topic, and the usage of technology to deliver each learner with their own personalized training. Adaptive learning provides assurance of learning and ultimately better results, time-savings, and lower costs. Adaptive Learning will adapt to each user’s learning style by using a data-driven approach that finds the gaps in the learner’s abilities.
The methodology behind brain science and adaptive learning has proven results that drive a measurable ROI with payback in a relatively short window of time, that being months rather than years. Not only will the process help your organization, but the learners will also enjoy the benefits of Adaptive because it will eliminate numerous frustrations they have with typical learning. They will no longer have to relearn topics they already excel in, which allows them to continue moving through their learning path at their own pace.
The bottom line is that people learn significantly faster, retain content in long term memory, and strengthen the neuron paths to make a dramatic impact on the learning process.
2. Learning Analytics
Every year organizations face the challenges of having to retrain or hire new employees with limited data to back up the decisions being made. But, with new software being developed, having the data and analytics to back up decision-making will continue to become more common within organizations.
Now you might be asking yourself, how can you get meaningful analytics from learning? New analytics technology provides organizations with easy-to-use, advanced assessment software that will save organizations money, time and develop better talent. It helps produce the questions needed to access the data needed to effectively interpret analytics for decision making. The software helps by validating your questions through an algorithm that lets you know if the questions being asked are fair, reliable, and effective. Finally, output data will help organizations understand who is learning and who is not.
3. Learning Experience Platforms
Traditionally, when an organization wants to provide content to its learners, they almost always leverage a Learning Management System (LMS). But, with new technologies, this may no longer be the case. Introducing our next element that may enhance learning in your organization, Learning Experience Platforms (LXP). These platforms focus more on the learner experience and journey the learner takes, as opposed to serving as a database for launching courses and housing assessment scores.
LxPs, like an LMS, were built with the ability to track completions, manage and serve up courses, but they can do much more. They not only enable a seemingly infinite search capability by tracking curated and third party content, but they also serve up learning experiences that are relevant to the learner’s role and experiences that are based on topics they have selected, as well as experiences that are being recommended by managers, peers, or leadership to build specific skills for success within their organization. Some LxPs also recommend learning based on what you are consuming. We like to call this the Amazon approach; ‘others who purchased this, also viewed or purchased this’.
With Learning Experience Platforms continuing to grow, you will find more and more options for learning systems to choose from including Fuse, Degreed, and EdCast. Each platform has its own advantages but before you select one, you need to understand if your organization can effectively implement and utilize them. Check out this blog that helps you understand if an LXP would be good for your organization.
4. Content Delivery Modalities: Delivering Learning through Voice, Audio, Video
If your organization is creating content that is not connecting well with your audience, try incorporating new modalities that align with today’s learners, in the form of content on the go. With technology continuing to improve, the use of Voice, Audio, and Video is becoming extremely important in how you deliver content to your learners.
Voice is steadily rising within the training industry. It is changing the way that individuals are interacting with technology. Many of you have likely purchased or were gifted a ‘smart speaker’ for your home in recent months. These include products such as Amazon Echo or Dot, Google Home, or Apple HomePod. Whichever product you received, you’ll likely know that this is not anything new, but the ability to interact in a simple and just-in-time way will change how learners access and engage with learning content. While many started out using them for basic commands the types of questions and interactions are growing, and many organizations are starting to implement them in everyday work.
For example, KFC has begun testing a new voice training system in the U.S. that cuts back-of-house employee training time down from four to five weeks total to about one week. Here’s how it works, “Imagine if you were one of our cooks and you were in the back-of-the-house with your hands in flour, making our hand-breaded chicken. Then, all the sudden you have a quick question to ask, like, “How do I rack the chicken or put it in the fryer?” Now, with voice training, that cook can ask that question, and the device will not only answer with audio but visually show the solution as well.
So, now you can understand why more organizations are adapting to this age-old option that now seems new again, given new technology and devices. If you would like to learn more about using voice, check out, “The Promise of Voice”, where we further dive into this topic.
Audio has risen in usage due to younger workers who have grown up with the ability to stream content with simply a touch on their device. With the popularity of on-demand streaming and podcasting, organizations are rapidly including more audio within their learning strategies. It’s an inexpensive and effective way to deliver on-demand content and increase learner retention. According to Podcast Insights, 51% of the US population have listened to a podcast, and out of that, 80% listen to all or most of each podcast episode. That means over 166 million people have listened to a podcast over the last year. Which is significantly higher than it has been over the past few years. It’s a trend that will continue to grow and will become an effective way to deliver content to your learners. We recommend starting to explore how your organization can utilize it for learning if you haven’t already.
If you’re already apart of the podcast trend and are looking for a new podcast or would just like to learn about the upcoming trends in the L&D industry, be sure to check out The HIVE. St. Charles’ on-demand podcast dedicated to helping Talent Executives and Practitioners better develop their talent and support organization’s business strategies. Listen today.
Video continues to be one of the most popular ways to learn and train employees. Just think about how many Netflix, YouTube, and Disney+ videos you have watched in the last year. More and more organizations are moving away from face-to-face training due to costs and logistics and moving to incorporate video into Virtual Based training (ViLT) sessions. This is because data has shown that individuals are more likely to retain the information from a video, than from in-person training. Visuals help increase brain activity which allows for better retention. It is also an effective and easy way to produce on-demand learning. Giving the learner the option to choose when they want to digest the information will help significantly in this fast-paced world.
5. Integrate Coaching and Performance Support into Learning
L&D professionals are increasingly recognizing the significant impact that coaching skills can have on the performance of individual workers and their teams. In its simplest form, a coach uses powerful, open-ended questions to help another person (the coachee) identify their goals, identify the options they might take to move toward those goals, and then identify the specific actions they will take.
Developing the coaching skills of an organization’s leaders and managers produces several benefits. First, by learning how to ask powerful questions of others, the coaching skill actually helps the coach become more aware of their goals, options, and actions to take. Second, if done well over time, coaching can develop in the coachee the ability to take greater independent and productive action – action that aligns with the team’s and organization’s goals without the moment-by-moment involvement of the coach – which ultimately leads to greater productivity for both the coach and coachee. We suggest that L&D organizations implement a coaching skills training program for their senior and mid-level leaders.
In his book, “The Checklist Manifesto,” Atul Gawande demonstrates the incredible power that simple checklists can have on the most complicated and risky procedures, including flying a plane and conducting a surgical operation. In a sense, a checklist is a performance support tool, which is another mechanism we suggest L&D professionals use to enhance the learning and development of their personnel.
Performance support tools are any type of job aid or other learning artifacts that a learner can use to refresh their prior learning. Such tools can include posters, checklists, wallet cards, videos, online help resources, and a wide variety of other resources. Performance support tools can help workers:
- Improve their ability to retain and use their learning after they leave a learning or training event and return to the job.
- Accelerate their movement up the learning curve towards competency.
- Read, hear, observe, and learn how an “expert would do it.”
- Reduce anxiety, stress, and the direct and indirect costs of mistakes.
As with any change to your L&D strategy, it is important to take a step back and understand your organizational needs. One of these elements might work better for your situation than it does for another organization. It’s important to take your time, evaluate your needs, and implement it properly. In today’s world, it seems that every organization is implementing a litany of new elements into learning; however, much of what you see on LinkedIn and other communications are often hype that organizations want to tout at conferences. It can be more harmful to your organization if you rush in without a thoughtful approach for what can work within your organization. For those who are interested in learning more or would like to speak to St. Charles about incorporating one of these elements into your organization, feel free to contact us here.
Outlook and Trends Impacting Learning & Development
On today’s episode, we look at Part 2 of the current business landscape for L&D, what are the trends that are driving change, and what are the implications on Learning within organizations.