Automation needed for L&D to thrive

The power of automation and its central role in learning and development

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Chibeza Agley discusses how automation and incorporating effective learning strategies will be paramount in ensuring that learning and development has an impact on future business outcomes.

12th Jan 2022
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Catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital revolution has arrived. It’s bringing with it an unparalleled level of change across industries – and the need for businesses to adapt has never been more obvious. 

These huge shifts that are driving the future of work, need to be addressed by learning & development (L&D) to ensure staff find their place in this brave new world – but the rate of change is currently too much for traditional learning systems to bear. 

According to research, the time we will spend on learning and upskilling will have tripled by the year 2050. In response, the corporate training market as a whole is set to grow by $52.7 billion from 2020 to 2024. The demand for learning is evident, but the way it is effectively delivered is not. 

The corporate training market as a whole is set to grow by $52.7 billion from 2020 to 2024.

As one of the most important sectors in supporting organisations through the digital revolution, L&D needs to prioritise automation, especially in the building, organising, and curating of learning, if it’s to meet its continued demand over the coming years. 

The future of learning without automation 

One thing is abundantly clear: without automation, traditional catalogue learning systems will eventually collapse. It’s not just more learning that is needed – the workforce is demanding personalised, contextualised content too. 

On top of this, it needs to be able to be delivered virtually. A recent study by Deloitte showed that 98% of organisations have used virtual learning during the pandemic. 

More than 380 million people enrolled in online learning courses in the last year alone, and this isn’t just because of remote working. Organisations expect 40-90% of their formal learning structure to be delivered virtually going forwards too. 

Organisations expect 40-90% of their formal learning structure to be delivered virtually going forward.

These three challenges – more learning, hyper-relevant content, and digital platforms – are simply impossible for L&D to meet without automation. It’s the only way to deliver the learning required effectively, intuitively, and at speed. 

But it’s not just the workforce that is requiring L&D to utilise automation to meet their ever-changing needs. 

Meeting the C-Suite’s priorities 

When asked what their number one priority was in their learning strategy, the Deloitte study found that aligning learning to business outcomes was the most common, with 53% of organisations stating it as their number one priority. 

This may sound simple, but without automation and data, showing how learning is having an impact on business outcomes is incredibly difficult, especially at scale. 

Through automating data collection, analysis, and visualisation, L&D finally has a clear data-driven business case to present back to senior management. 

By aligning learning with business outcomes, not only does it ensure L&D is delivering on its main goal, but speaking frankly, it proves its worth to those in charge of its allocated budget. 

Analytical data will drive better decision making and position learning at the core of the business, better reflecting how the wider market views L&D. 

The power of precision personalisation 

What hasn’t been discussed in great detail so far is how important personalised content is. For the most part, when suppliers of digital learning talk about personalised learning, they are really talking about basic ‘more of the same’ recommendations.

Offering up another whole course that is broadly similar to the one you’ve just taken is certainly not the most time efficient way to build knowledge and competency. Equally, making course recommendations based only on the average behavioural trends of large heterogeneous groups of people is not any better. 

Creating technology that can deliver atomic personalisation across industries and at scale, requires disruptive new ways of approaching the challenge.

In our opinion, to create technology which can deliver atomic personalisation that works across industries and at scale, requires disruptive new ways of approaching the challenge. 

The promise of atomically adaptive digital learning is the ability to supply highly individualised and hyper-relevant content to learners at precisely the right moment, enabling them to be more effective at their roles in less time.

This is where technology has the capacity to go beyond what the average human instructor can achieve on their own.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can spot statistical relationships in high dimensions and across vast sums of resources, something that we mere mortals most often cannot. 

If we are to cater to the growing diversity of learners’ experiences, backgrounds, competencies, interests, and needs, atomic level personalisation becomes an absolute necessity. Again, this is only achievable at the size and scale of a large organisation with automation. 

Leveraging automation in 2022

The capability to learn any subject without constraints of time or space is an undeniable benefit of the digital era. However, we need highly effective learning strategies if we are to meet the monumental demand we’re seeing as a result of widespread digital transformation and the fourth industrial revolution.

Access to good quality data will become fundamental to fast and effective decision making in the workplace. The way we are able to deliver on these points is – you guessed it – automation. 

Automation will build programmes of learning using a more data-driven approach with minimal human input. This is incredibly useful for organisations and has become, in fact, crucial if L&D is to adapt to meet the changing needs that digitalisation brings.  

Using platforms that automate the otherwise painstakingly manual parts of learning design and delivery, provide granular-level adaptability, and pump out a stream of valuable data-rich analytics, is how an organisation will succeed in 2022 and beyond.

Interested in this topic? Check out our on demand session: 'Data, Learning and the LRS'.

 

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