Musing about technology and the future of learning

August 2016
The report "explores the factors that set top performing learning companies apart, in order to provide not only a vision for the future of workplace learning, but also provide everyone in L&D with a route map to take the next step towards embracing change and implementing a more effective modernised learning strategy".

I recently attended a one day conference with seminars by Domino's Pizza Group L&D team as well as Towards Maturity. Domino's Pizza Group chose Digits and their innovative glo visual learning journeys as their LMS provider with great success. Towards Maturity unpacked their 2015-16 L&D Industry Benchmark Report, with valuable information including how "top deck" companies have been able to deliver increased revenue, productivity and employee engagement.

Technology matters!
There is so much juicy, blog-worthy information to muse about, but having spent all of my L&D career in learning technology, I perked up when this area was mentioned. And it was pleasing to hear that the data shows that the use of learning technology is one of the factors to the success of the top deck organisations.

It is pretty much redundant to say that we live in a technology-driven, communication age. At a Gallup event for strengths coaches a few days ago I learned that the hot-off-the-press Gallup study: How Millennials Want to Work and Live confirms what we all have observed: Millennials are incredibly connected. Their preference is for interacting via technology versus Baby Boomers, many of whom rue the decline of face-to-face communication. There is a bend towards accessibility, openness, responsiveness and connectedness NOW, not rigidity and silos.

"wirearchy is about the power and effectiveness of people working together through connection and collaboration … taking responsibility individually and collectively rather than relying on traditional hierarchical status"

Similar themes were presented by Jon Husband in his keynote speech at the 2016 Learning Technologies Summer Forum Conference earlier this month. His was a thought-provoking exposition about the shift the world has taken towards “wirearchy” (which I would describe as dynamic, responsive, customised networks) versus than hierarchy (fixed, predictable, traditional structures).

So of course technology needs to play a part in how we embrace change and set the course for the future of learning as more Millennials join the workforce and GenX, Y, Zers and Baby Boomers embrace the technology of the day. As learning professionals, the challenge is finding ways to provide learning that is connected and responsive, not structured and limiting.

A snapshot of learning today

Doing technology well matters!
So how do we respond? While it is no surprise that pretty much everyone is on, or is getting on, the learning technology bandwagon, looking at the Towards Maturity comparative data, it is clear that you can deploy learning technology badly or well, and that just having technology does not guarantee great employee engagement or great business results.

Towards Maturity’ Snapshot of Learning Today (see the Benchmark Study’s Executive Summary) demonstrates how much technology plays a part in the learning landscape today. It is obvious that we all recognise that we need to invest in online learning.

The top deck companies that participated in the study use traditional technology in the traditional way, i.e., to deliver learning. In addition to this, their L&D teams do much more than this and are confident and successful in using new media technologies in learning design to apply learning and to influence the learning culture.

Top Deck are digitally transforming the learning process

Learning technology and the future
So what does all this mean for learning technology and the future? I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are a few questions that we will need to consider:

  • How do you engage the connected learner? How connected is your learning provision to the employee? How connected is it to business? How can you make business and learning integral or more interconnected?
  • How can learning facilitate your people connecting to learning and business goals?
  • What new media technology will best support your people development goals?
  • What new media technology expertise does your L&D team need?
  • Does your LMS provide enough flexibility to allow you to deploy new media seamlessly and easily?
  • How can your current LMS provider support you in achieving your learning goals?

To view the full presentation Dionne attended from Learning Technologies Summer Forum on Domino’s & Digits "Creating a bespoke induction journey - rapid Implementation & lessons learned" click the image below.

"…the Top Deck focus on technology to improve communications and access, ensuring that staff can connect with each other and with content that does the right job, at the right time".

About the author
Dionne Hamilton Smith

Dionne Hamilton Smith is an L&D Consultant and LMS Implementation expert who hates the use of the word “expert”, as beauty (or expert) is in the eye of the beholder. Her learning technology expertise comes from great experiences within teams at AkzoNobel UK for many years and Domino’s Pizza Group (current). As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach who believes that relationship is king. Digits has worked with Dionne on two successful glo™ LMS implementations for both AkzoNobel UK and Domino’s Pizza Group.

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Dionne Hamilton Smith
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