Adult Learning & Development – A Smarter Methodology and Approach

2019 brings much promise to the world of Human Capital.  With machine learning, predictive analytics, and AI coming more to the forefront, the future looks promising. Forward-thinking HR leaders will begin to harness the power of information, both macro, and micro, to drive more individualized developmental paths for their employee base.  It is a hopeful and exciting time for the individual learners within corporate organizations.

The big question mark is how to effectively harness all the opportunity to make for meaningful developmental experiences. The reality is as we embark on 2019, that much of learning & development is still being conducted in the manner it has been for decades, linear, one-size-fits-all, and provided in large chunks, with little chance for reinforcement. But given the advent of the emerging workforce of Millennials and Gen Z, the old way of thinking is gradually being pushed out to accommodate the brave new world.

That brave new world incorporates what all adult workers – regardless of age, white collar or blue collar, senior level or entry level, all know – that is we all best learn in shorter doses, ideally at the point of real need, and easily reinforced on a consistent basis over time. Bringing learning closer to the learner, i.e. making it extremely easy to receive learning, in short, learning experiences will truly start to move the needle from training to learning. Think of cramming for a test and how much information we retained once that test was completed.  Not very much – but that is the way learning & development has been conducted.

For those of us who are practitioners of the L&D space, we see the opportunity. In the Sirius Solutions Human Capital practice, we are bringing learning closer to the learner via providing learning experiences in short bursts, accessible via handheld devices – by texting out the learning in a sequential basis, enabling the learning to be logged in the LMS – without the learner having to log into the LMS….  Underneath this micro-learning, we provide 45-second point of need snippets, to accentuate reinforcement and just-in-time learning. Our learning methodology spaces out the learning experiences to enable the learner to retrieve the information at the point of need, easily accessible and readily reinforced.  Breaking up learning into smaller reference points will move training into learning transfer.

We also have entered a realm where being able to measure the results – sustain the development – is now within our reach.  Systems providers are able to provide real-time calculations of key measurement components from disparate systems and display those measurements seamlessly.  These same providers provide predictive analytics and AI, which will enable CHRO’s to determine if a program is working today down to an individual level, and then predict the “stickiness” to that individual or group over a period.  My hope is to use a sustainment methodology and platform to measure ROI for L&D programs well after the life of an engagement – and drive away the “soft” label that has long surrounded human capital programs.

The premise of this new journey into L&D is the importance of the methodology that will be effective regardless of the content that is being used for the program. The methodology will drive the approach to learning and to sustainment of the human capital program. We will leverage all different kinds of content to make for an effective program with a thought for the long-term viability of sustaining change.  Systems will provide real-time feedback and predictive feedback for the future. Armed with this information, the CHRO can tailor specific programs to specific groups and individuals.  In this manner, L&D will be relevant to the learner, the key attribute to learning transfer and resulting behavioral change.  It will be an exciting journey. Let us begin.

 

Alan Brush

Director, Human Capital Services