A key element in navigating change is through learning.

When we look at the role of human capital within an enterprise, we understand and believe that it is human capital which is our greatest asset. Consequently, the key to meeting our strategic business goals and making progress lies in how we manage, inspire and bring out the best in our people.


As an enterprise, training seems to be the obvious answer to the questions of what and how. Training gives us the confidence that we are doing something, that we are addressing issues and taking charge. But this leaves us with one problem – training is a top-down approach.

Are your employees really fully engaged when it comes to training? Think about how you can
improve your programs from a fully top-down approach.


Shifting the focus

Yes, we can help to prepare our people to perform better and be more engaged but wouldn’t it help if we looked at ways where we put the learner in the driver’s seat as well? The idea here is that we continue to provide training in areas required but simultaneously, we create a culture where organisational learning is fostered, and one where the people themselves chart their path. This combination is significantly more exciting.


Take a look at Unilever. Betty Lau, Unilever’s Global Learning Director, Leadership and Business Skills has long been working on a move away from conventional learning towards persona-designed thinking. Why? To craft a user-focused personalised learning journey. It is a major shift in thinking but at the same time, she says it also provides a key point of differentiation.


Some key words to explore in that phrase – user-focused personalised learning journey. User-focused so that the emphasis is on the user, not the training provider. Personalised so that it makes sense to individual circumstances and is need-driven. Lastly, reference to the journey because it’s part of a bigger picture and not simply standalone, unstructured pieces.


Adopting a learner-centric approach

Alejandro Rivas writes about this (being learner-centric) as one of the 10 L&D trends for this year in his ATD article in January. He says, “instead of thinking about the content first, we think about the learner first: performance, experience, workplace, digital fluency… then, we can create an effective training with more collaboration and social activities in order to share experiences….”.  The experience is also so rich in today’s environment as we pick between MOOCs (massive open online course) or classroom training, YouTube videos or shared social environments.
In today’s world, everything and everywhere presents a learning experience. The quicker we can get to a point where we foster more collaboration between IT and HR to work together and develop organisational plans that put the learner at the centre, the more we foster a culture of learning that works. It’s personalised, it’s driven by the user, it takes into account all kinds of environments and formats, which makes it more real, more dynamic and exciting.


Where to begin?

But any learning technology used needs to start with a plan which means asking the right sort of questions. What are my organisation’s learning and development goals? What is the role tech will play in this? What choices do I want to make? How much do I want to spend? What ROI will I be looking for?


Many of the L&D trends this year show how fast-paced these changes in our environment really are. While this can be dramatically unnerving in many ways and puts us in a situation of constantly playing catch-up, we can embrace the changes that make our lives, our workplaces and our people significantly better.