How to select the right technology for enabling a learning cultureby
The key to the success of an agile workforce is the continual development of its staff brought on by a strong learning culture - and that is where technology comes in. Here are seven golden rules for effectively integrating tech and reaping the rewards.
For the past 18 months learning culture has understandably been given a focus in L&D, organisations have gone through massive upheavals, restructures, and many have embraced remote working. It has become apparent that for an organisation to successfully adapt to our ever-changing environment that it must have an agile workforce.
Choose your technology
The key to the success of an agile workforce is the continual development of its staff brought on by a strong learning culture. To many this is a ‘people’ activity, that a learning culture can be built on good management and communication to its staff. The reality is that you need a strong foundation of learning and communication technologies to build a learning culture from. Otherwise, it’s just a nice thing that people say to attract you to an organisation. So how do you select the right technology?
1. One size does not fit all
It is very easy to be persuaded into using a technology seen as a case study at a conference or webinar and thinking it will work exactly the same way for you. No two organisations are built alike so it is important to research a variety of technologies prior to agreeing on a licence to ensure that you really are selecting the one most suited to you.
Communication is the foundation of learning culture
2. One technology in isolation may not be the answer
Whilst there are a plethora of platforms out there that have a wide range of features you may not find everything you need in one technology. And that is perfectly fine. In recent years there has been a rise in ecosystems of technologies that work together to deliver everything that you need. The key is careful mapping and signposting so that learners know how to access all the content and communications, and to work with IT to produce a seamless sign on and navigation experience.
3. Don’t just focus on content
Communication is the foundation of learning culture and so communication technologies are needed alongside content to help broadcast and engage with the learning culture vision that you have. Without it, you just have a content repository, which may be full of important and engaging content, but without communication it’s just a library without any knowledge of opening times and membership.
4. Devolve power
This may be an uncomfortable one for some, but a learning culture cannot come from just one person/team/department. It needs to be embedded throughout an organisation for it to be successful. Technologies have evolved to encourage this, with platforms giving manager’s access to updates on their staffs learning progress, admin rights to enrol their teams onto content, and even admin rights to approve any content that is submitted by their team. In making learning the responsibility and activity of all members of staff within an organisation you embed a culture that becomes part of day-to-day life and not just a staff development discussion as part of their annual appraisal.
5. Ensure it works remotely
The eventual ending of the pandemic does not ensure that all staff will return to a 100% in office working environment, some may remain completely remote or adopt a hybrid working environment, so the technologies selected must be fully accessible remotely and on a range of devices.
This shift in technology enabled culture allows staff and teams to access development whenever they need it, which in turn produces a more agile workforce. Organisations that operate a more flexible just in time approach will be more responsive to the needs of the organisation in light of any changes to their industry’s environment.
Don’t shy away from difficult data or conversations, these can actually be the catalyst you need to implement a technology enhanced learning culture
Learning should not be seen as an event, a quota that needs to be completed each year to meet the criteria of their staff development allowance, but instead as part of their everyday working environment. As a result of harnessing such technology to aid in the delivery of learning culture it is crucial that you also reflect on how the content and communications are being delivered in terms of size and structure.
6. Think bitesize
To really benefit from an agile learning culture, the content and communications that you are delivering need to be made available in manageable bitesize chunks. Think of your L&D technologies as an internal Google for the company, easy to access, search, select, digest, and apply.
Agile workforces can’t thrive if they are sitting in full or half day workshops/webinars, or attempting to complete 3+ hour online courses. Instead harness the technologies available to run a diagnostic or self-assessment tool to identify what staff actually need to learn. Not what you wish for them to learn for sake of ease or vanity metrics. Staff can become easily demotivated if they are forced to ‘learn’ what they already know.
Think of your L&D technologies as an internal Google for the company, easy to access, search, select, digest, and apply
7. Metrics are your friend
Finally, ensure that the technologies selected help you to identify the ROI of the learning. Happy sheets and courses completed are simply vanity metrics. At the heart of every successful learning culture is the understanding and measurement of how learning directly impacts the success of the organisation. Many L&D professionals who have not previously collated such data before may be fearful of it ‘what happens if it is bad?’ If it is then you have a benchmark to work from and rise above.
Organisations that hide such data or don’t address it when it be analysed don’t stay successful for lot, if at all. So don’t shy away from difficult data or conversations, these can actually be the catalyst you need to implement a technology enhanced learning culture.