Nick Gidwani

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Why Businesses Must Not Wait for Their Learning Management Systems to Evolve

L&D

It’s a question business leaders ask frequently. After investing in and using a Learning Management System (LMS) for years, can they simply wait for it to evolve and offer new features that today’s employees need?

The short answer is no. In this era, new technology — a talent development platform — is needed.

Companies that have realized this are already reaping rewards.

Top companies are embracing new learning technology

Businesses making active efforts to revolutionize corporate training — including through new technology — are the ones catapulting to the forefronts of their fields.

“High-performing companies are seizing the opportunity to promote a new culture of learning, upending traditional models and transforming how employees learn,” Deloitte reports.

Even systems that may have been sufficient a decade ago are no longer equipped to meet today’s needs, the company said In its 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report:

“The way high-performing organizations operate today is radically different from how they operated 10 years ago. Yet many other organizations continue to operate according to industrial-age models that are 100 years old or more, weighed down by legacy practices, systems, and behaviors that must be confronted and discarded before true change can take hold. As organizations become more digital, they face a growing imperative to redesign themselves to move faster, adapt more quickly, facilitate rapid learning, and embrace the dynamic career demands of their people.”

The importance of agility

Why are companies pulling ahead by revamping their learning processes?

“Technology is changing how business is done. And the pace of change is faster than ever. Businesses need workers who are well versed in the latest technologies and ready to learn quickly.

When workers get the chance to learn consistently, their companies are the first to take advantage of new and emerging tools, and first to seize new opportunities.

This is why in today’s economy, agility is everything. As we explain in our guide to Mastering Talent Agility, it’s the “most important factor that determines whether your business will succeed or get wiped out by competition in the years ahead.”

Why a talent development platform is needed

Learning Management Systems are, by design, closed systems. They allow top brass to input information and courses for employee learning.

“An LMS does not give everyone the opportunity to teach skills, add externally available content, and go seeking education in a wide variety of skills.

A talent development platform, meanwhile, is open. It allows anyone to add content, share expertise, and seek knowledge in a wide variety of areas, while learning in the most convenient ways possible, even on mobile.

“I’d rather have a talent platform that actively shares what people are learning online and from each other than use an antiquated LMS,” said Tamar Elkeles, who led Qualcomm to be named Learning & Development Organization of the Year by Chief Learning Officer magazine. She calls for an overhaul in the learning industry, including through new technologies.

A group of four experts at Deloitte wrote that corporate learning departments are “developing innovative platforms that turn employee learning and development into a self-driven pursuit.”  The learning environment managed by an LMS Is giving way to what “feels like a consumer website that provides videos, courses, content and access to experts — as well as recommendation engines that help people find precisely what they need.”

Corporate success stories

This is why AT&T began its Personal Learning Experience, a platform aggregating development initiatives in a wide variety of areas. It allows employees to explore, learn and move in different directions.

People are “learning at a high rate, in a new way, and showing accomplishment, motivation, involvement, and excitement,” said Robert Koehler, the company’s lead consultant in HR Technology.   “It’s a new distribution of power and responsibility, and an investment in the learning process and the learner that is daring, insightful, and empowering. I find it spine-tingling.”

HP Inc. made a similar switch, starting what it calls Brain Candy.

“We connected with all of the employees in our different regions to figure out what learning and development would look like,” said Mike Jordan, HP’s global head of talent and learning. Four main themes arose, showing the need for new technology: to make it easier for employees to find and share content; allow employees to share their own expertise; allow them to curate their own learning experiences, and make it all accessible via mobile.

The pace of learning

Certainly, some of the things taught via a talent development platform could be taught through courses within an LMS. But, especially when it comes to teaching emerging technologies, there’s a time delay before someone figures out how to incorporate that skill into the LMS.

“There isn’t time to waste. These days, new technologies and niche skills can become crucial to a company virtually overnight.

Businesses are discovering that their competitors are light years ahead, and need to ramp up quickly.  With an open talent development platform, employees may already be learning those skills and sharing knowledge.

The numbers make this need clear. MIT Sloan Management Review found that nearly 90 percent of managers and executives expect their industries will be disrupted by digital trends. But less than half said their organizations are adequately preparing. And only 11 percent said their company’s current talent base can compete effectively in the digital economy.

Yes, taking on a talent development platform can mean a bit of an adjustment. But a good platform will make it painless, offering a smooth transition.

And it’s a change for the better.

After all, you can’t expect to build the workforce of tomorrow using the technology of yesterday.

Categories: L&D
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