What The Future Of Corporate Learning Looks Like

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Bersin by Deloitte, a human resources firm, has an interesting report out on the future of learning in organizations. The language in which it’s written is turgid, to put it kindly (“Our new High-Impact Learning Organization Framework® shows organizations have moved from ‘talent-driven learning’ to a focus on ‘continuous capability development’ . . . “), but there are some good insights to be had. Here, translated from corporate-speak, are its main findings and predictions:

• Companies that revisit employee performance goals each quarter are more than 30 percent more productive than those that set goals annually.

• Traditional training models—everyone trundles off to a day-long seminar that proceeds to bore them out of their minds—are being replaced by learning that takes place on mobile devices, incorporates social media, and is continuous (not a one-shot deal but happening all the time).

• The developers of corporate learning programs are paying more attention to exactly what each learner requires, identifying their needs in the same way that marketers have figured out how to pinpoint what consumers want.

• The fast-changing business climate is creating greater demand for learning and development programs, which grew 12 percent last year—the highest growth rate in more than eight years.

• Given the demand for skilled workers, many companies are focusing more on developing the talent they already have in-house. The report describes one successful technology company that lets employees change jobs within the firm after only a year in their current position, a policy that it believes tremendously improves its employee retention.

• Human resources departments are beginning to use “big data” to inform their decisions about employees, crunching large amounts of information to guide them in hiring and promoting.  Some companies have even developed  scientific models to predict the engagement of their employees. (Read more here.)

Do you see any of these trends playing out in your organization? Where do you see organizational learning heading?

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3 Responses to “What The Future Of Corporate Learning Looks Like”

  1. Joshua says:

    “Traditional training models—everyone trundles off to a day-long seminar that proceeds to bore them out of their minds—are being replaced by learning that takes place on mobile devices, incorporates social media, and is continuous (not a one-shot deal but happening all the time).”

    This is a critical point. We must recognized that when a ton of data is dropped on individuals they are not able to retain it. It just isn’t how our brains are designed to work. Spaced repetition has been studied extensively for more than 125 years now. It’s about time we put all of that research to work in schools as well as any other learning environment.

  2. I’m the Director of Learning and Development for a consulting firm that helps firm develop leaders. Yes, this research resoates with what we’re seeing.

    Two big trends we’ve embraced more explicitly in the last year are around assessment and reinforcement. Before we design any sort of curricula for a major learning project, we find it invaluable to conduct surveys–both simple online surveys as well as more detailed one-to-one interiews–in order to really understand the status quo and the needs of the learning audience. Armed with that information, we sometimes recommend programs that differ dramatically from the original request… and that are far more likely to solve a real problem at the organization.

    With reinforcement, I remember, Annie, that you cited research a while back that 90% of workshop learning is lost within one year. That’s some hard data supporting something that many of us have long suspected–that even a good workshop is just one step on a longer journey to meaningful, lasting learning.

    As a result of this realization, we’re building much more reinforcement into our programs for corporate learners. Yes, we still do those one or two-day workshops, but we often augment them with follow-up “coaching days” where we can check in on how well the learners are understanding and applying our tools. Alternatively, we do series of workshops to reinforce and build on learning over time.

    And just in the last few months, our clients are loving a new online reinforcment tool we’re using called Postwire. We can set up private web pages for individuals or groups of learners; we typically upload videos that we took of the learners when they delivered practice presentations. We also can add our own coaches offering commentary on the clients’ videos, and the web pages include various articles, templates, and reminders of our tools for future use.

    So I expect we will continue to see companies realize that there are seldom “quick fixes” with talent development. It takes ongoing effort over time, and it also requires more thought on how to best leverage the Internet and multimedia in our short-attention span, YouTube/Facebook world.

  3. Jay says:

    I believe people lose their learning trajectory after 18 months in a position, so I like the idea of moving to a different position to improve retention.

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