Recently I had the pleasure of assisting a client in developing a digital learning path for their operations area. The learning path kicks off with an Orientation session in which we deliver some hard messages about the future and how we can be ready to embrace industry 4.0. Honestly, I don’t even know if I am fully ready for this!
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is not going to be able to do everything as well as humans especially when it comes to complex decision making; however, machines are becoming increasingly capable of learning. As such they are set to transform our lives, and at this point, we have no idea to what extent our world of work is going to change, nor how quickly this will happen!
In my view, the only way we can stay ahead of machine learning is to become “Learning Machines” ourselves! We have to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn at pace if we want to stay relevant.
Our ability to adapt at pace is what will determine our survival in this new world. We are living through and co-creating the 4th Industrial revolution and our ability to learn lies at the heart of this revolution. This revolution is about how we as a species will adapt. If you haven’t yet seen the World Economic Forum’s documentary on the 4th Industrial Revolution, please do yourself a favour and watch it now, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpW9JcWxKq0
Biologically adaptation is a natural learning process, and we do it instinctively. The question I am now asking is if we can do this naturally on an individual basis how can we use our learning teams to mimic this natural human ability to learn at scale within our organizations?
We are already seeing the rise of the new breed of learner, we (and I am speaking from the vantage point of the X generation) are ourselves already transforming into this new breed of learner, we are supreme multitaskers (often to the point of adrenal fatigue), we are “always on” we expect feedback and service to be immediate, we want our learning to be on demand and just in time – everything we need to know needs to be one click away!
When we think about how to enable our learners and their learning at scale within our organisations we need to consider that there will always be three groups of learners that we will encounter. The first group refers to those that don’t want to learn. They are comfortable with the status quo, and nothing we do will shift them, I do not know what future lies ahead for them.
The second group of learners are the minority who just get it. These are the high flyers. They know what they need to do to stay ahead of the pack and find a way to do so regardless of barriers. The third group of learners, the majority, sit somewhere in the middle of these two groups. To enable these two groups, we need to drive a culture of self-directed learning.
In our future world of work, defined by sudden and continuous disruption, multiple careers, and fast-paced advancements, we need unlimited, unrestricted access to learning. However, before we can embrace and benefit from unrestricted learning at either an organisational or individual level, we need to develop our ‘self-directedness,’ and we need to be empowered to do so.
You see, the potential to be self-directed exists within us. However, the capability must be developed and enabled. Self – Direction is a skill and a learned behaviour. However, its development is often stifled within organisations, especially hierarchical ones.
We must focus on allowing learners us to develop their self-directedness, and enable it through true empowerment practices. This is easier said than done.
In the 2015 Towards Maturity Annual Benchmarking report we see that 76% of learners learn online to do their jobs faster and better 75% for personal development. However, this seems to be a great balancing act as 63% lack the time for self-study! I see this as our biggest stumbling block especially when it comes to operational environments.
Thus to build self-directed learning capability we need a shift. We need to realise that people need time to learn, and yes learning happens at work. It should not be seen as a separate external event, instead learning should be seen as a continuous journey delivered through crafting sexy Accelerated Learning paths driven by digital platforms that offer hyper- individualisation, just in time and on-demand learning.
Using Accelerated Learning Methodology overlaid with a digital learning platform is a key enabler for learners.
An Accelerated Learning methodology is about adopting a systemic approach that speeds up and enhances both the design process and the learning process. It is effective because it assumes that we are natural learners and taps into this natural way of learning.
Our potential as natural learners is unlocked through this Whole Brain; Whole Person; Whole system approach. This Methodology maximises the four R’s of learning – Repetition…Recall…Review…Reinforcement. One small caveat here is that Repetition needs to be varied to promote deep learning with understanding.
When you overlay Accelerated Learning methodology with a digital learning platform and include predictive analytics, the learning becomes supercharged and hyper-individualised, because by its nature digital learning reinforces our natural learning ability. It gives us as learners control over what we learn, how fast we learn, when and where we learn. In essence, Digital Learning overlays the 4 R’s mentioned above with the 4 P’s Preference…Pace…Place…Path. This together unlocks our potential as natural learners because it encourages Autonomy, Curiosity, and Self – Paced learning! All characteristics or our new breed of learner!