Future of Employee Learning

I borrowed a recent post (with permission of course) from Stephen J. Gill’s The Performance Improvement Blog, a great source for insight on learning issues these days.  Definitely recommend checking out the blog.

Stephen wrote this blog back in April.  In it, he discusses the personalization of learning, mobile learning and learning agility.

Future of Employee Learning

“if anybody says to you here’s where learning will be in five years, run in the other direction.” This is what Elliott Masie, Founder & President of The MASIE Center, said this week at the beginning of his Keynote session at the Human Capital Media Symposium for Chief Learning Officer. Masie went on to talk about trends that have the potential for changing the field dramatically. I want to expand on the three trends that have the most salience for me.

One is personalization of learning. We have the technology now to individualize both the push and pull of information. Courses, books, articles, videos, and online practice groups can be accessed according to the learning needs of each employee. If a manager wants to know how to conduct a performance review session with a low-performing worker shortly before it is scheduled to happen, she can view or download instructional material that will help her with that session. If a manager wants to help a direct-report learn the new safety standards, he can send a video on the subject to the employees smartphone. Traditional, classroom-based, mass instruction is moving into the background as just one of many options for helping employees develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

Another major trend is mobile learning. Devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones are making learning possible any where at any time and with any one.  Some learning is best done in a social
collaborative environment and in-action. For example, learning how to solve a product marketing problem with a creative and innovative solution, is best done with co-workers (located, possibly, at sites around the world) and in an online environment in which participants can share and explore ideas with each other.  To maximize learning, this global team should reflect on their experiences and archive what they learned and how that learning could be applied to similar situations in the future.

A third major trend identified by Masie is learning agility. This is the ability to find and acquire the knowledge you need as you need it. It’s not about memorizing facts and figures or methods and procedures any longer. We need employees who know how to search, locate, evaluate, select, and apply information. We need employees who can take information from a wide variety of sources, not only from trainers and educators, and translate that information into knowledge and wisdom. Employees need to learn how to be curators of information.

What other major trends do you see that will shape the future of employee learning?

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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