Digitization Requires Soul-Searching for L&D

To be effective in 2017, a business as usual approach just won’t do for the learning function.

Businessman with digital partner standing back-to-back on dark backgroundIf the new year promises anything, it’s that the behavior of current companies just won’t cut it. To compete in today’s transforming economy, businesses cannot afford to get stuck mired in what worked in the past, suggests a new forecast by Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. That’s especially true for traditional corporate learning and development strategies threatened by an onslaught of MOOCs and learning experience providers.

According to the report, Predictions for 2017: Everything is Becoming Digital, as talent management works with business leaders to reenvision organizational structure, jobs and work itself, improving the employee experience and ensuring workers are equipped for their roles and empowered in their careers will be key.

The report’s predictions offer some direct and indirect implications for chief learning officers:

Organizational design will be challenged at every point. To compete in today’s economy, companies should consider breaking functional groups into smaller teams, customer-centric learning and time-to-market, the report said.

A new generation of performance management tools will continue to emerge. Learning leaders will continue to see this trend unfold as firms create tools centered around a more transparent, agile, continuous feedback-based approach.

Employee experience will be king (and queen) in HR. Talent management leaders, including learning executives, must play closer attention to employee journeys and interactions with products, services and initiatives across the organization to deliver better informed, high-value experiences to excite, inspire and engage workers.

Digital solutions will enable transformation of traditional learning and development systems. The digital learning products at learning leaders’ disposal will inspire new approaches to develop and deliver customer-centric learning and development. It also will mean taking a minimal viable products approach to get new products out the door quickly and increase transparency by making learning more accessible across organizations.

Leadership development will undergo some changes. Companies would do well to move away from traditional leadership training and focus more on culture, learning through interactions and relationships and continuous feedback and coaching.

Learning and development leaders will continue to examine their work and what success means in the digital age. Not only do digital learning and development products offer corporate learning leaders the opportunity to think more strategically and creatively about how they develop and deliver learning and development to drive business performance, they also challenge leaders to think about learning — and therefore their roles — in a new light. With companies like Degreed and Pathgather creating more integrated and compelling learning experiences, the learning and development organization will have to reinvent itself.

Bravetta Hassell is a Chief Learning Officer associate editor. Comment below, or email editor@humancapitalmedia.com.