Learning and Development is one of the critical areas of our companies. It is the one who accompanies our employees through their working life, the one who brings them closer and helps them to become a better version of themselves. It guides them while changes within the organisation are taking place, and orientates them to transform efficiently. It’s a crucial part, and, as everything in the digital age, is changing. L&D is evolving, and this affects from who is responsible for the learning and development, to the different tools and methodologies.
Do you remember when training sessions were similar to master classes and the instructor just gave the lecture without receiving feedback from their students? Now, when the main objective is to learn or develop, the user experience is the most important thing during the learning cycle. Moreover, we are using and applying a few concepts that we have been talking about, like creating a better engagement; and the urgency and need of creating development plans that are attractive and motivate our employees is a must. Besides, we cannot forget the new generations that are joining the workforce. Generations that have lower spans of attention and that are consumers of new technologies, which is why we have to adapt to their reality.
Constant technological innovations are helping us to create new trends in the field of learning which allow keeping the employee and pupil in our centre of attention, without sacrificing fun. That is how gamification, mobile learning, microlearning, and that string of acronyms like SPOCs or MOOCs and reverse mentoring, offer us a range of possibilities to engage our employees in learning. And indeed, they are responsible for their development, because since there is no instructor on a given day, each employee can decide when and where their learning journey will start.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know that in Vodafone, reverse mentoring has helped us to learn, in a simple and fun way, the digital tools that we need. However, another of the methodologies we have been exploring is one that is quite similar to SPOCs (Small Private Open Courses). But, instead of a training course, what we are implementing are TED Talks-style talks within the company, where employees with a profile of reference teach us things about their field of expertise. After the speech, they can answer questions and doubts of interested employees through Yammer channels, creating a learning community in which everybody collaborates by sharing and creating content that helps them in their development. In a nutshell, they create their own wiki, but within the Yammer channels.
To sum things up, we have moved from the instructor to the facilitator. The responsibility of acquiring knowledge and learning is no longer for the trainer, but for the learner. At the same time, we have given more strength and power to the experiences that each user could have during the learning process, and less to the tool or product —e-learning—, so now, we are focusing on the user. Perhaps, in the future, we will even be able to implement visual thinking in our training and development programs, when the wave of generation Z and generation Touch join our companies. It will be a new challenge and, again, we will be happy to face it.