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The digital revolution is over, and the digital won

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It is strange to look back on the last few months, years even, and the emphasis we placed on readying ourselves for the 4th Industrial Revolution, only for COVID -19 to enter like a wrecking ball. As the masked crusaders (at least from a South African perspective) trying to resuscitate a world we once knew, we are moving stealthily forward reimagining our new normal. As we look back on the world, we once knew it seems a lot more predictable than the uncertainty we face. In addition to reimagining a new world, we also need to reimagine ourselves. The relentless pursuit of personal transformation is the most critical thing we can do right now.  – No one is coming!

Learning will be the cornerstone of our success in both a personal and professional capacity. With the current pace of change set to ‘overnight’ in the wake of the Pandemic, our ability to develop several core competencies rapidly should be our focus during re-entry. These competencies include those typically associated with coping with change such as emotional resilience, interpersonal relationships and extend to include critical future skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking and digital affinity.

An increased reliance on technology to develop soft skills

Taking a fresh approach to developing these competencies is the key differentiator. Not only is the one size fits all learning model outdated, but the Pandemic put the debate on facilitator-led vs self-directed digital learning to rest, especially in the case of soft skill development.

We have seen a significant uptake of digital learning, especially in the area of soft-skill development. This is mainly due to necessity, not preference; however, it has allowed us to demonstrate that we can effectively develop soft skills through digital means, which is a game-changer.

What we will see in future is a heavier reliance or pull on digital technology to develop soft skills, which will continue as we step into our reimagined world. Developing these soft skills and augmenting them to be effectively applied in a virtual world is critical.

Offices, which over the past few years were converted to embrace collaboration and innovation trends by creating open plan spaces, collaboration pods, and hot-desking, are now a thing of the past. Compliance with social distancing practices means reverting to lower occupancy offices – if returning at all. Virtual teaming will thus be the new normal and brings with it the complexity we avoided when we still had a choice. Now it is a necessity, to grapple with this heavier reliance on digital tools and the need to collaborate virtually. The questions we need to ask is, how do we foster collaboration, drive innovation, and build the same level of interpersonal relationships across this complex virtual environment? 

Competencies required for a digital world

Our research shows that developing a specific mix of Intrapersonal, Interpersonal and core Inter-digital skills will improve our performance in this virtual world. These are highlighted in the 4thQuadrant Competency Framework below.

The following competencies will predict success in this new world of work landscape. These include Critical Thinking; Complex Problem Solving; Emotional Resilience; Interpersonal Relationships; Communication; Digital Affinity; and Interdigital relationships. 

These competencies enable us to navigate the massive change that we have been through but will allow us to cope better with the multiple shock waves set to come after. Placing increased emphasis on developing an affinity for working within a digital environment provides the cornerstone to virtual collaboration.

In this digital world, it is no longer enough just knowing about the digital tools available and which to use when instead it is more important that we develop our digital affinity for collaboratively using multiple digital tools. This goes far beyond the high-level digital savviness we thought would be enough, primarily when we only interacted virtually by choice.

The digital revolution is over, and the digital won. There is no time left to prepare. Instead, we need to direct our energy and effort toward learning to pace this change and preparing for future (r)evolutions.

Many will be challenged by forcibly having to step into the virtual world; therefore, we bring an online Hyper-Personal Learning offering aimed at increasing your resilience, ability to manage and lead and thrive during this time of crisis and beyond. The 4thLearner platform will recommend specially curated high-quality content based on your unique learning gap against the competencies required to work collaboratively and productively within a virtual environment, manage virtual teams effectively, build resilience and develop the digital affinity and familiarity skills that will drive the future.

  • This specially curated module will provide you with the best available content to build the critical skills needed to effectively lead and ensure performance through building resilience and developing the digital skills necessary to succeed in a virtual environment.
  • Delivering this module through our 4thLearner™ Platform, we provide a hyper-personal approach to learning. The Platform enables you to determine your current learning gap, through completing a digital evaluation against those competencies shown to be core predictors of performance for thriving in a virtual world. Based on your unique learning gaps, the 4thLearner™ Platform recommends a hyper-personalised learning journey to assist you in closing these. Therefore, you will have access to a personalised unique 12-month learning journey, designed to close your specific learning gaps.
  • The 4thLearner™ Platform will help you to keep track of the progress you make over your learning journey.

You will earn badges along the way so that you can display your increase in proficiency over the length of your journey.

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