Training strategies have long since stopped being considered as ‘nice to have’ motivational activity and more and more organisations are expecting close alignment of training and business in order to make training strategies effective. Some of the key expectations of the business from training include outcome driven approach, velocity in training delivery, adaptation to the dynamic needs of the business and tuning to the millennial mindsets in the design of the programme. In this context, it is prudent to take advantage of digital capabilities and design the strategy such that role-specific competency road map is built, which in turn is matched with the training modules that the employees are supported with. The HR Information Systems, Performance Management system and the Learning Management Systems should be integrated and provide the bedrock system for talent development for the organisation. The learning paths put in place for the employees should be supported with the right learning ecosystem both offline and online and be able to switch from one world to the other in a seamless fashion.
Most talent development managers today are keen to incorporate e-learning or digital learning as part of their training strategy. What is interesting is that not only organisations employing large number of employees, but even those with smaller employee base are beginning to go digital as probably for these organisations, digital offers the advantages of lower cost and flexibility as compared to traditional classroom based training. The challenge today is not necessarily in finding the right content options or the expert trainers, but in the fundamental principles of design of the learning programme.
Talent development process also should be connected to the various digital channels the organisation has already in place which the employees frequently use. Mobile learning would continue to be the leading, frequently used mode of learning and hence, training managers should factor this as an important element of training design. Social learning which has become a necessary component of the learning design would be effective only when it is tightly coupled with other learning components and is housed within the learning space carved out for each employee. The millennial mindset of short attention span and ‘learning on the go’ should be integral to the learning design. This means that training needs to be reconfigured to be delivered in smaller chunks through microlearning modules which is best done through elearning mode. Since learners would be increasingly looking up various sites for quick understanding of a specific topic, the formal training design has to move away from the generic conceptual approach to specific performance enhancement driven approach that facilitates reflection and competence building through provocative content.
More and more content is accessed in the video format, and therefore elearning modules are expected to have a significant video component. With several free sources of high quality content available, identifying and stitching together the right content that meets the requirements is an art as well as a science. Using the feedback of the learners while they are still within the learning space, it is now feasible to provide additional inputs they require. Polls and questionnaire could also be used to seed thinking rather than just capture opinions. Thus the frequent conversation process with various stakeholders in learning should be nurtured and become the cornerstone of the learning strategy.
In order to support the learning requirements of the employees, the digital learning platform should not only tap into the knowledge and experience of experts in the organisation, but should also recognise the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning as well. The Alpha Bot built into Skills Alpha digital learning platform, for
instance, is able to suggest options and second guess what the employee’s learning style and requirements of content could be and is able to serve up the options which makes the entire learning process not only adaptive and contextualised but also makes it an enjoyable experience. AI and machine learning are powerful tools that provide super wisdom much like the gurus and they are here to stay. If integrated effectively with the learning ecosystem, they have the potential to make a dramatic impact on the learning outcomes. With digital technologies providing several exciting avenues for making learning effective and deliver to the expectations of the business needs, it is the training strategy and the learning design principles that would be the key to the success.
The writer is CEO, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company