Goodbye analogue: digital learning as a business model
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Goodbye analogue: digital learning as a business model

Learning

Goodbye analogue: digital learning as a business model

April 10, 2017 Geoffroy De Lestrange

When it comes to digitalisation, the HR industry can be likened to a football team that is already two goals down against Team Digital at half time. In the first half, the digital striker got the ball that skilfully passed the HR compliance defenders. This was followed by a first shot at the goal, which the goalie – or the head of HR in this case – saved just before the line. A second shot followed, and the ball was kicked into the corner of the net. Instead of trying to re-position themselves more flexibly after this, HR unfortunately stuck to the same old tactics as before, simply boosting their line of attack. But this only weakened their defence against Team Digital. Talent Management tried again to tackle the ball from the Cloud but the referee called a foul; Team Digital got a free kick and scored. It’s 2:0 to Team Digital at half time! Into the changing rooms for the team talk.

HR is preparing for the second half

In this scenario, you have to imagine the captain of the team is the head of HR. Team HR will lose the game if they can’t keep up with the learning and digital team. The speed of Team Digital is debatable, as the side has grown stronger at a steady pace, but HR needs to do  more than just put a little more pressure on its opponent. HR needs a new approach – it can’t win if it keeps its strategy as it is now.

In the US, corporate learning and development has been moving towards digitalisation for a long time however, some companies are still very hesitant to change. Although many offer digital learning modules, they are no more than a server where PDFs are uploaded and downloaded. Many companies are concerned that the successes from learning management systems are difficult to measure and are therefore cautious in implanting them further. However, a study on ‘A lifetime of digital learning’ from the MMB Institute for Media and Competence Research highlights that it is this lack of open-minded decision-makers that are a major obstacle to the implementation of new technologies. It notes that, in general, digital learning technologies of this type are only considered by a small number of organisations.

Blended learning as part of the integrated learning

The aforementioned lack of measurability often results in a non-uniform network of HR departments. However, corporate learning is a great way to achieve the best possible blend, so that both sides –non-digital and digital – harmonise  with each other and generate a skilled workforce. A practical solution here offers blended learning, in which the employees can choose their own content and learning platform. The decisive factor is whether the acquired learning content can also bring about a significant change and that it can be applied practically by the employees.

Recently, YouTube has been showing how this concept work. Information is available via a variety of output media, and there are many tutorials covering a range of topics. On YouTube, the like and dislike buttons, as well as the comments sections, allow the content producers to see how many users they are reaching and resonating with. A further element of YouTube's success is the "participation effect.” Everyone can collaborate and create their own tutorials and upload them for other users to watch. That is exactly why YouTube is the captain of the opposing football team, Team Digital.

How Team HR must work against Team Digital

The time is right for companies to modernise their traditional learning management systems with completely new approaches and ideas. Learning and development must re-establish and network with all important HR processes while having measurable and transparent assessment mechanisms.

This is what the captain is saying at half time. During the half-time break, he talks to the players and gives them a motivational speech. Cornerstone OnDemand works in a similar fashion, helping companies enter their Champions League of Learning.

The new Whitepaper Future People: Workplace Evolution in the Age of Digital Transformation, developed in cooperation with IDC, highlights the learning concepts of tomorrow. The survey showed that the training of employees is the second most important task after recruiting. Therefore, entrepreneurs should not ignore it any longer, because even if the game ends in a draw, it will go into extra time, and no one wants a penalty shoot-out.

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