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Addressing the need to build critical Future Skills

The impact of automation has meant that the nature of work has become increasingly complex, requiring increased cognitive and emotive ability. This has led to the need for building critical skills to rise to the top of the agenda for CHRO’s (1). However, most organisations are finding themselves inadequately poised to address this need, trying to tackle this challenge with only slight adjustments being made to the way they conduct learning and development. It is only through offering Intelligent, Hyper-Personalised Learning that we will be able to address the learning crisis.

To adequately solve this critical skills development crisis, we need a complete overhaul in the way we think about, design, and deliver workplace learning. We cannot solve for today’s learning challenges with outdated methods, that to date have shown very little return on investment. Research by Gartner, shows that learning needs to be a connected process. Organisations should focus on building what they call connected learners, as they have shown to develop skills 25% faster. (Source: Gartner 2018 Shifting Skills Survey)

The key to building connected learners is to overhaul our current methods. We need to get back to:

  • building learning that is centred around the learner, puts adult learning principles back into practice,
  • taking the organisation into account by means of situating learning within the context of a future fit competency framework, and
  • providing a mechanism through which learners can orient and evaluate themselves.

To do this we need to look at the learning continuum, and how we can use technology to enhance the learners experience and facilitate learning at each stage. Any Learning Platform needs to address the following key things for the learner:

  • What I know vs what I need to know (unique learning gap against a future fit competency model)?
  • How do I get there (what content is available) and who can help me (connect into experts)?
  • How am I progressing, which learning events are supporting my progress, how can I improve and what’s holding me back (combination of analytics and reflection)?

In other words, organisational learning to address the challenge of developing critical skills needs to be learner centric and organisation centric. It needs to orient and provide the opportunity for intelligent self-direction, as well as providing a mechanism for continuous measurement, reflection and feedback. When we designed our 4thLearner Platform these were our key considerations.

We built our 4thLearner platform to be learner centric in that it takes the needs of our adult learner in this fast-paced world into account situating these in context of the organisation to which the individual belongs. By using our predictive task taxonomy as the basis, we are able to ensure that the learner understands and focuses on developing those critical future skills, predictive of performance for their current and future roles. What we have found, is that if learning content is not linked directly to the competency framework it leads to the challenges we are seeing with some of the digital self-directed learning platforms currently out there. The learner is self – directing but is often unsure of the direction they need to take, leading them to learn down only familiar paths and stay well within their comfort zone. When learners do decide to venture outside of their comfort zone they often are unaware or unsure of their proficiency level and therein start learning something new at the wrong level. This leads to the high dropout rates we have seen with the rise of MOOCS.

This brings me to the next most important element, providing a mechanism through which the learner can orient themselves. Through the use of our bespoke designed evaluations we provide a way for the learners to understand their unique learning gap against these competencies or skills. We enable learners to assess on a personal level what they know (Proficiency Level) against what they need to know (Unique Learning Gap) and then determine how to close these gaps (Hyper-personalised, intelligently curated content). This is so important when building connected learners as they need to be intelligently connected into quality content that can address their unique gaps as well as be able to identify and connect into experts within the organisation who can further assist at a collaborative and experiential level.

Finally, we encourage continuous reflection and measurement therein providing a rich analysis of the progress made and offering each learner insight into how they may need to adjust their trajectory and keeping them motivated and engaged.

It is therefore only through offering Intelligent, Hyper-Personalised Learning that we will be able to address the learning crisis and Rapidly Reskill our workforce at Scale.

(1) Source: Gartner Top 3 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2019

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