How technology can enhance L&D

by L&D02 Nov 2016
A recent article published in HPPY outlined some of the trends helping companies create a sustainable workforce and motivating them to become more innovative, adaptable, and client-oriented.

Ilie Ghiciuc – founder of cloud learning software company Teamfluent – told HPPY that it is the job of employers to “keep up with technology in order to provide continuous learning best practices”.

Ghiciuc pointed to research from Deloitte, which states:

‘Employees at all levels expect dynamic, self-directed, continuous learning opportunities from their employers.’

In this report by Deloitte, fourteen Dutch-based multinationals participated in survey and interview research.

The results from this research show that organisations vary a lot in which trends they practice, but that there are some main trends that most multinationals have in common.

Mobile learning
A big part of learning happens in the mobile space. Online learning using tablets, phones, and laptops allows learning to happen anywhere, at any time. This type of learning can be very important for companies and employees who use freelance employees. In a more gig-based economy, employees could live anywhere in the world, making mobile learning an important aspect of an organisation’s L&D strategy.

Microlearning is similar to mobile learning, but microlearning is primarily done on phones and tablets. It also strays from the course model and delivers very small amounts of information like very short how-to videos or text-based instructions. Primer by Google is a good example of using small amounts of information to teach employees about marketing through a phone app.

In learning systems, gamification is the process of adding game elements to learning software. It uses research from neuroscience, motivation, and learning to create a learning environment with game elements such as story and immediate feedback. These elements can improve retention of information and improve engagement. Many employees from more recent generations have grown up with video games and mobile technologies. They will gravitate to this form or learning environment as opposed to more traditional ones.

Digital knowledge sharing
Part of the new learning landscape is that employees can help teach other employees through social media and other technologies. Encouraging employees to use forums and social media will help reinforce learning and help others find valuable learning opportunities.

Informal learning technologies
Employers can support continuous learning through the incorporation of informal learning technologies like blogs, YouTube videos, wikis, and podcasts. These technologies can make learning an everyday aspect of the workplace. Video-based learning can also be useful for companies with limited L&D budgets. Videos are fairly inexpensive to make as HD cameras are on a variety of computers and mobile devices.

Content management systems
Companies can help make learning more accessible by creating management systems where learning content can be curated. These systems allow employees to find relevant information quicker and easier. Many companies are turning to cloud technologies in order to curate content and make it accessible everywhere.

Self-directed learning
In the old L&D system, HR and management gave limited learning options at specific times. With changes in technology, learning has become more employee-centric. This means that employees want to learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it.

Individualized learning
Similar to self-directed learning, individualized learning means that employers need to offer a wide range of learning options as not all employees will need or have an interest in a few select topics. Individualized learning also takes into account an individual user’s skill level. Online learning systems are now designed to assess a learner’s strengths and weaknesses in order to provide the most accurate and pertinent information to them.

Immersive learning
One of the most recent trends in learning is immersive technologies. Some of these technologies are virtual reality (VR), like Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift. These allow learners to immerse themselves in any environment in real time. They could help teach employees how to react in dangerous or high-risk situations.

Creating continuous learning through technology
When searching for ways to incorporate technology into a continuous learning culture, the task can be daunting as there are so many options. Before looking at the next trend or the latest software, there are some basics that leaders can start thinking about to help them decide what types of technology would be best for their organisations.

Self – assessment
When preparing employees for continuous learning, employers can ask them to assess their skills. Self-assessments are a vital part in creating a culture or learning as they help employees see where they are in their skill development and motivates them to develop their skills.