The first of the learning trends predicted for 2018 by Training Industry Magazine was “mass customization is driving learner experience.” Learners of today no longer want one-size-fits-all training. With millennials becoming a significant force in the talent pool, engaging them uniquely might well be the differentiator for employers. It is common knowledge that technology today can deliver it – but is it easy for L&D to do so?
In L&D, trade-offs between scale and stickiness are inevitable. With limited resources (time, money and people), it is almost impossible to reach everybody with great, personalized and sticky content on time, every time.
Readers who have been in the trenches supporting a new product rollout or a new software update will agree that getting the training ready and rolled out to thousands of employees in time is challenging. As content keeps evolving in these situations, getting the base version ready and out is stressful, let alone personalizing the content.
On the other hand, such contingencies have also resulted in thousands of hours of level-one content in organizations’ libraries. Many big organizations struggle to categorize, archive and search this database. Even if they spend the money to create engines to do this task, does the content really have many takers?
In the past few years, organizations have been leveraging managed learning services (MLS) to solve the scale problem effectively. MLS has been a great way to increase span without increasing cost. There are many other added benefits, such as standardizing content; centralizing training spends; addressing underserved segments of the target audience; and relieving the enterprise L&D teams from doing tactical work, helping them to focus on more strategic initiatives.
However, even as the MLS industry has been burgeoning, supporting training in the “factory mode,” a few exciting technologies have emerged. Augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), gamification, collaboration engines, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and big data are all geared toward making learning immersive and intelligent as never before.
The truth is that these technologies are still expensive, and creating a truly immersive experience takes time. The traditional models of web-based training or instructor-led training just don’t hold in these modes.
So, whither L&D?
These technologies are evolving at a fast pace. New devices, platforms and commercial models are emerging every quarter. It’s difficult to see exactly how the future is going to shape up. However, L&D can do a few things to keep them on course.
Here are a few “dos” for the L&D community:
Here are a few “don’ts”:
These are exciting times to be a learning professional, because our aspirations and technology are finally converging. Let’s lead the change from the front.
By Priya Thiagarajan, Head – Simulations and Serious Games