Learning In The Digital Age

Learning In The Digital Age

Khevna Shah, VP - Human Resource, Incred Financial Services, 0

Khevna has brought-in effective learning & development breakthroughs by use of technology in the form of m-learning & e-learning to ensure that HR is a core and strategic partner in business environment.

The ages never end, do they? From the Stone Age to industrial age to information age and now the digital age, an age replete with data being a currency, and analytics to churn that data into actionable work items. It is an interesting time to be alive and in an active work life, the pace of change is exhilarating.

The current work force includes probably the greatest spread of generations working at the same time, from the Baby Boomer generation to the Generation Z that is now trickling in with the influx of technology to enable every sphere of life; learning is no longer limited by geographies or media.

In my work life, I have not found many people slam down learning as ‘not required’ but at the same time lack of clarity on what to learn, how to learn and how to apply. It is a conundrum for learners and learning professionals alike. We can attempt to piece this puzzle together see how learners & learning could converge with digital as key enabler.

I, Me, Myself: It is an era of hyper personalization. It is my learning, the context and the content has to add value to me it has to clearly cite out ‘what is in it for me’. Learners do not want to get lost in jargons & information they want it crisp, concise and relevant to their goals. It is like a Netflix, for instance, you have so many choices that you often want to give up; but the recommendations that flash in, help you narrow it down. And these recommendations come from analytics on what you have been flipping through for days & months.

Let the Learner Drive: Learning needs a revamp. Instead of pushing what learners have to learn, let them be in the driving seat give them the maps to choose their paths and track them to their commitments, then. Of course, it will entail use of analytics to help them see their north star, mentors to guide them when waters get rough but it creates a positive loop.
Keep it Short, Silly; This one is an age-old acronym & yet holds true now. Learners cannot be overwhelmed with stacks of worksheets and hours of content to flip through (even if it is digitized). Learning has to be easy to consume, with engaging content, interaction & quizzing to keep it live: it has to be attuned to the learners’ preference (videos, articles, discussion, forums).

Content Rules, Always!: Gamification, high-end learning platforms, content aggregation are all excellent enablers to learn and I am completely pro using them based on the audience’s need & expectation. But it is quite like that extra cheese on your burger it makes the burger tastier, more attractive however the content of the burger is the patty you cannot undermine its importance!

Learning in the digital age is not the same as digital learning it is about being holistic, with focus on wisdom as much as sheer knowledge

Building the element of social learning, leader boards & competition, and credit points & rewards is engaging, but the content has to be rich and relevant; something a learner wants to know more of & cannot just Google up.

Game-up on Analytics: Digital allows us to reach the last mile; enables learning on the go & at your pace; but the cherry on the cake is the analytics that you can work with. It allows you to get valuable insights on your learner patterns, directing the right content to the right audience, review your learning strategy, connect learning to business performance and so on.

Learning is UnDocumented: We need to keep in context that a digital learner has access to immense amount of information free, premium, fermium; and they learn in multiple ways wahtsapp groups, on the job, over the million apps in their phones, exposure to cross-functional projects, and of course the curriculum based formal learning. While learning is continuous, unlike a social media profile, we do not have Knowledge Profile or Learning Profile of individuals and we find that a large chunk of learning (experiences, project exposure, upgrading behavioral skills,) is not documented. A digitized version of learning could probably move on to creating a repository of what proficiencies an individual has gathered through these multiple learning facets.

Putting this in context, it is imperative to be aware that Knowledge which is a major portion of digitized learning is only one of the three important aspects of holistic learning the other two being skills & abilities. An integration of knowledge with skills and abilities that translate it to action is critical and how one cracks that code is their differentiator.