Trend 4: Scalable Learning

After hours of searching, days of reading, and weeks of digesting, I have identified thirteen global trends impacting the world of work in 2017 and beyond. This is part 4 in a series of 13 articles.

The half-life of learned skills continues to fall.

(photo credit: Jennifer Williams)

Individuals adapt faster to new technologies than businesses do. Instead of companies planning to train workers to do certain pre-defined jobs, employees will seek out skills on their own terms. The corporate learning experience needs to be transformed from a push system to a pull system, helping people at all levels with self-directed microlearning, every day of their work-lives. And they will be assisted by peer-to-peer, digital mentorship arrangements.

There are plenty of materials available in the world to choose from. The ongoing commoditization of courseware, books, and videos is highly disruptive to learning & development specialists. While they were often hired to be content creators, they are now expected to be content curators. Almost everything employees need already exists in some form somewhere on the Internet. Thousands of sources produce expert-authored, high-quality learning materials, augmented with interaction and assessments. And much of it is free. The job of L&D specialists is to help people find, rate, tag, and consume information.

This new approach to learning is of particular importance for the newest generations of employees, who often mention that the ability to learn is for them the principal driver for selecting an employer. These new workers aren’t too happy using arcane, proprietary learning management systems full of slides and documents when they have plenty of experience using MOOCs, social networks, and online video.

The key to organizational success is scalable learning. This means that people must be able to experiment, make prototypes, fail fast, and iterate all the time. Competitive advantage means being the fastest learner. The entire organization has to become an accelerated learning system, and this is only possible when people can decide for themselves what to learn, at what moment, and in which form.

The entire organization has to become an accelerated learning system.

One important consequence is that the idea of “planning a career” is quickly becoming outdated. Traditional job descriptions are going out the window. Dynamic career paths will be the key to dealing with faster-changing environments. Online tools will be needed to foster skills such as creativity, leadership, and adaptability, which are hard to teach in a traditional way. People will learn how to handle computers, robots, and AI. And peer-to-peer coaching will happen across several generations of workers, from old to young, and young to old. The entire workforce will be involved in a massive, continuous skills development program.

The Agility Scales team is developing a platform to aid workers with self-chosen learning paths. If you want to know more, join our community.

This major trend was derived from the insightful results offered by the authors and publishers of the following reports:

2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends
Accenture Technology Vision 2017
Boston Consulting Group 12 Forces 2017
Bersin-Deloitte — Predictions for 2017
Mercer Talent Trends 2017 Global Study
PWC CEO 20th Survey Report 2017
Randstad Sourceright 2017 Talent Trends Report
Sodexo 2017 Workplace Trends Report

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