When it comes to Talent Management and specifically learning and development in the digital age, we need to acknowledge that different Generations will ultimately respond differently to technology enabled learning. However, the purpose of a Digital learning environment is to create equal opportunity for learning regardless of age cohort.
It is becoming essential that each of us develop our personal Digital Quotient or DQ. DQ is a term McKinsey coined specifically referencing an organisations digital maturity. However, developing our personal set of digital skills or our personal DQ is fast becoming an important skill, and quickly outpacing both IQ and EQ.
As Organisations surge forward in their quest to become digital we need to shift our perspective from seeing digital as a thing to seeing it from the perspective of a way of being.
Therefore, as learners, to shift into “Being Digital” means having to develop our DQ. This means spending time and effort on building our interdigital and intradigital competencies.
The two most important competencies to develop within these quadrants right now is
- Digital Familiarity, understanding the digital world and the tools and technologies that exist, and
- Digital Affinity, which refers to the individual preferring to work in the digital world as opposed to reverting back to the physical world. Some examples of this reverting back to the physical is someone that owns a tablet, yet takes meetings notes down with pen and paper, or receiving pre-meeting information packs and printing them off to review them ahead of the meeting.
Developing digital skills is core to our survival in future, when everything is (and it almost is) digital!
With the increase in automation it is critical that as organisations we provide our people with as many opportunities as possible to develop their digital skill repertoire.
The digital skills gap is growing and we cannot solely rely on the Millennials or what Prensky and Tapscott refer to as the Digital Natives to close this gap. We need to start empowering ourselves regardless of our “generation” or our “Digital Immigrancy” to embrace the digital world.
Organisations also have to take on some of the responsibility for the development of Digital skills this is because it is critical if we want to achieve our organisational digital goals.
Organisations don’t shift if people don’t shift!
This is highlighted in the McKinsey Quarterly article in which they recognise that to raise your organisations Digital Quotient requires four things:
- Firstly, careful and deep thinking around the Digital strategy. Not all of our organisations are going to morph into an Uber or a Spotify. So we have to be aware of what we are and what we can realistically grow into when crafting our Digital strategy.
- Secondly, they point out the need to strategically invest in right technology to support their digital maturity journey.
In their third and fourth points we see that people still lie at the heart of a successful digital transformation.
- “Third, while technical capabilities—such as big data analytics, digital content management, and search-engine optimization—are crucial, a strong and adaptive culture can help make up for a lack of them.
- Fourth, companies need to align their organizational structures, talent development, funding mechanisms, and key performance indicators (KPIs) with the digital strategy they’ve chosen” (McKinsey, 2015)
Think about it…
After all it is still people that drive organisations and if their digital skills are low I’m not sure how successful your organisations digital transformation will be.
The most poignant question for me now is, how can we enable and empower this digital learner in order for them to realise the full potential of this Digital learning revolution?
So how do we then embrace the Digital Learning Revolution?
We may be digital immigrants, but the use of technology in our daily lives has in fact become native to us. We have embraced the information age, we are adaptively learning how to deal with our hyperlinked society, and are continuously looking for creative ways to set boundaries around the way in which we expose ourselves and take in all of the information around us.
We are becoming skilled multitaskers able to work with a multitude of content within the connected global village; balancing this with the practice of Mindfulness and Presencing.
We are re-proving the importance of experiential learning through our personal transformation.
This brave new information age we entered did not come with a training guide, no facilitation notes and certainly no e-learning module. But what there has been is the unknown, the openness to asking “big” questions, the willingness to explore and experience a variety of answers.
More content is now being written on how we need to shift into creating learning experiences for learners, crafting learning journeys for them composed of knowledge nuggets. We are suddenly talking about this “New breed of Learner” with shorter attention spans, who like bite sized knowledge delivered just in time. But I contest this, haven’t we always been this way? Is it not that before this exponential growth in technology we were forced into an unnatural learning environment?
Sticking people into classrooms and feeding them information almost intravenously is not learning! This unnatural learning system is one that was set up out of convenience driven by metrics like bums on seats, previously unquestioned by the status quo, in which we were too afraid to try, too afraid to be curious, too afraid to question, too afraid to step out of our comfort zone. But, our comfort zone is not where learning takes place!
Learning happens at the edge of chaos, when we grapple with information in order to regain equilibrium! It is this through this rubbing of old against new world views that new neural pathways are developed, this is literally how we “Change our Minds”- through changing our neural networks!
We believe that what is being reflected in the current literature on learning reflects what we have always known: We watch and we learn – we try and we learn – we fail and we learn!
As organisations what we need to equip our learners with are intelligent platforms that allow learners to take the guess work out of learning.
We need to provide a way for learners to be able to accurately and reliably measure their learning gaps against a pre-defined set of competencies. They need to understand what competencies they are working towards developing, they need to know the extent of their learning gap and they need to have access to quality content accurately curated against those competencies. It is in this domain of hyper-personalised learning that AI will have the biggest role to play.