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If we build it - will they come?

In today’s organisational world, there is a shift towards more social and collaborative learning. But there lies a precipice with this territory…  When moving from “traditional eLearning”, in a mandated environment to a self-service ‘buffet’, Learning and Development faces a potentially significant falloff in uptake. (That’s democracy for you).

The fact of the matter is that you have to work harder with content to make it engaging, easy to access and relevant to the workspace, in order to manage and drive uptake. Overall ‘self-service’ represents a more ‘grownup’ environment; for example, there is an increasing desire for colleagues to take responsibility for their own learning and career pathways. However, colleagues are under a lot of pressure to deliver – often  reeling underneath a barrage of information – receiving hundreds of emails every day, viewing long slide decks, attending extended meeting sessions, working within a changing environment and so on (and that’s when things are going well!).

A recent client we are engaging with estimated that their consultancy workforce was averaging 80-90 hours per week (that’s double the normal average). As a result, employees’ energy levels, as well as physical time, for discretionary self-betterment may well be tempered. This means we need to have a midway point between the mandated (‘you must go through this learning’) and the passive ‘buffet’ of content. Along with this, L&D professionals need to recognise and adjust to their new role from knowledge curator/broker to guide or Sherpa – helping employees take responsibility for their own learning. There needs to be self-service material that is designed in a way that is easy for the trigger user to find and access.

Some things to avoid (and we know this!) are:

  • Long
  • Dull
  • Block style
  • Clunky
  • Low utility modules  
  • Slow access between mobile devices and learning management systems
  • Learning objects with poorly identified occasions of application (i.e. ‘where can I actually use this?’)

We, at Skill Pill, are looking at ways in which we can create more active interaction and engagement between the learning content and the user on his or her device – this includes:

  • Digital intelligence; for example, the learning app on your mobile device can connect with your LinkedIn account, so that it can take account of your status (for example - on holiday; in business meetings in Asia); as well as other considerations – so that the learning objects can take account of your overall work/life contexts
  • Implementing a system to send prompts or reminders (in a non-invasive way) so that there is a continual pepping up of content that’s ‘seeded across’ your work day and work week

These are just a few examples of innovations that we're making to an ever evolving learning approach – constantly making sure that when we build it, employees will come!