When covid-19 took the world by surprise, it did more than alter our
way of thinking, living and working. It presented us with a massive
change order and no one told us the secret.
That change is easier said than done!
Which is why for
some businesses, inspite of robust investments in learn-tech, getting learner
adoption in virtual learning is still a bumpy road ahead. It’s not just the
acceptance of the new training modality that is challenging, it’s our fixed
mindset that stops us from adapting to the changing times.
Change is difficult
A part of that is
evolutionary. You see, our brain is designed to stay in the known, the familiar.
It cannot discern good or bad. It just understands habits and routines – our habits and routines; a mechanism it
learnt to keep us safe from danger (read: unknown). Which is why we find
excuses to snooze the early morning alarm (if you are not an early riser),
ditch the gym (if you are not the exercising kind), reach for slice of pie when
you are dieting (if you don’t value nutrition). Which is also why when our classroom
training gave way to virtual
instructor led training, we couldn’t grapple with the new modality. Or when
our skills started becoming outdated and obsolete faster, we didn’t know the
way forward to upskill
ourselves. And even we did know, finding learning time in our already packed
schedule was impossible due to the digital fatigue we were under.
Here’s a useful representation of
the Comfort Zone that helps us understand:
we are at currently
the road ahead looks for us
Most of us, unfortunately, stay in
the red zone all our lives. Because we are too afraid, too unsure, too anxious
about the future (speaks into the brain story). But if you were to plot people
who have taken the leap and are successful today, those who have pushed past
and overcome their fears, acquired new skills, found their purpose – Elon Musk,
Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Priyanka Chopra – almost all of them will
feature in the Growth zone.
Resetting yourself with Digital Learning
The first Q you need to ask is –
how do you get from the red zone to the green zone? A single line answer is by
getting into the driver’s seat of your learning journey. It’s not just the new
skills you will add to your arsenal, but the byproduct of this is an enhanced
life that’s fulfilling and rewarding.
The ‘how’ to the above question
lies in ‘Digital Learning’.
a must-have for today’s digital world
available on demand
goes where you go
aligns to real-world changes in real-time
reduces your time-to-productivity
you in charge
Upskilling & taking ownership of your growth
Knowing the ‘what’
and the ‘why’ of learning and development is half the battle one. Unless you
know HOW to achieve it, you will not be able to truly take ownership of your
growth. Fortunately, the secret mantra to achieving it is no farther than
A – Agility
B – Be Responsible
C – Continuous
D – Digital
In his book,
‘Thank You for Being Late’, Thomas L. Friedman says that, the technological
growth and change has really overtaken the speed of the human brain’s
adaptability to change. There was a time when human adaptability was higher
than the pace of technological changes but today the technological changes have
significantly overtaken the ability for us to adapt.
adaptability of human beings itself is lagging, the adaptability of Businesses
is even slower than that.
How to bring about Agility through
Digital learning experts suggest that
learning agility is in itself a combination of skills including but not limited
to flexibility, speed, experimentation, risk-taking, collaborating, information
gathering, seeking feedback and reflection. The first step to developing
learning agility in your employees using digital learning is to first assess
them for the above-mentioned skills. Based on the results of the assessment,
relevant training on the identified competencies/ skills, through befitting
modalities, should be made available to the learners.
For learners in the pursuit of agility, it’s
about looking back (self-reflection), looking around (collaborative learning
with a senior, formal training, webinars) and looking ahead (staying in sync
with industry trends).
something I have learnt about taking ownership, especially of learning, is
If you don’t take
ownership of your own growth and development, you show that you, yourself, are
not invested and committed. So why will anyone else be? Or what if there is
someone else who has the momentum already. Before you know it, you will get
passed over for the next promotion, the new assignment, the new role and in a
full circle moment of things, you will blame your boss, your company for being
stuck, while it was actually YOU who was not being responsible for yourself.
How to breed Responsibility through
The key here is to start with the low
hanging fruits. You need to provide high quality, relevant and meaningful
content on key competencies, either mapped to your IDP or CPD, to your
learners. This content should be available just in time of need, indicating the
need of anytime, anywhere learning through mobile apps (even offline mLearning) and integrations with other
tools and software. Also, just providing a plethora of content is not
sufficient. You need to carve out user journeys aligned to organizational goals
and individual aspirations. An AI-LMS is great help in enabling this as it constantly learns from learner
behavior and recommends content. Further, using a Competency Management Module
that shows the learner his/ her career path and skill-gaps that need addressing,
and Gamification Module that infuses a competitive spirit in
L&D serve as a validation in being a ‘responsible’ learner.
For learners, it’s about taking the reins of
learning in your own hands. It’s about investing the time, energy, and focus to
develop understanding. They have to learn to leverage the available resources
on their own merit and self-drive.
Carol Dweck is a
researcher at Stanford University. Well–known for her work on “the fixed
mindset vs. the growth mindset”, she describes the difference between these two
mindsets and how they impact your performance as this:
“In a fixed
mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their
talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and
then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a
growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be
developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily
think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone
can get smarter if they work at it.” —Carol Dweck, Stanford University
You see, when we
were young we were told a lie. That education is about schooling, graduation
and for some of us, post-graduation. But that it was finite. That after one
fine day of doing it all, we would be ‘learned’.
The truth is the
shelf life of skills is dwindling. The seismic changes in technology are
changing the face of work. That today’s best will not meet the challenges of
And the only way
to keep going, and going strong, is sharpen your skill set, both depth and
breadth, as that’s the only thing that will set you apart from your
How to make Continuous Learning a
Creating a supportive environment that
encourages employees to engage in continuous learning takes commitment, resources,
and coaching. So along with investing in a comprehensive learning management system and digital
learning content, you need to
identify Learning Champions who can be torchbearers of the initiative and
foster a learning culture that encourages and rewards knowledge acquisition.
For aspiring continuous learners, you need
to start with a goal and from there use your network (social included) and
sources to gain diverse information on topics (ideally aligned to goal
achievement). The idea is not to get overwhelmed with the barrage of
information out there (it’s called ‘paradox of choice’) but to be selective and
space out the learning so it’s easily digestible.
We have already
covered this in the previous section – the advantages of digital learning. But
to make it more practical, here are some tips for you:
Learning in the
flow of work: Did you ever have a situation wherein you were doing your job
but stumbled upon something you weren’t 100% clear on, got help from a trusted
colleague/ internet search, and voila – it was a job well done. This is an
everyday example of ‘learning in the flow of work’. Digital learning makes it
easier as you don’t have to ‘physically’ go to someone/ something for an answer
but rather use a digital tool as a bridge to get to the solution.
If I were to teach you an authentic Hyderabadi biryani recipe today, it would
take me hours to demonstrate the elaborate preparation and cooking. But if made
a video of it, edited it to make it concise – just covering the essential
to-dos , it would have the same, or rather a positive effect as your brain
would be able to process it better cognitively due to its short length. This is
the beauty of microlearning.
In today’s times of increased distractions and shrinking attention spans, a
knowledge nugget goes a long way than hour-long courses.
Learning: How many of you have done group study with friends during your
graduation or post-graduation? During my Engineering, me and my group of 6
friends used to get together at someone’s place and study through the night ‘together’
– each sharing his/ her know-how and findings on that subject. I am not
recommending you to pull an all nighter, but it does capture the essence of
Collaborative Learning well. Sometimes you will find that doing a Google search
or looking for a relevant course may take more time investment than seeking a
colleague’s or a senior’s guidance. This is social learning at play and studies
have shown the importance of social learning in knowledge assimilation and
productivity improvement. Most LMSs have in-built Social
Learning and Knowledge Collab tools that not only enable conversion of
tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge, but bring about information learning.
How to embed Digital Learning in your
from Josh Bersin’s article, ‘Begin by taking a hard look at all
segments of your workforce to identify one challenge you can address. For
example, new-hire training might be a good place to start. Consider retaining a
consultant or building a small team and then pulling together your
organization’s resources to deliver a compelling digital experience for the
group you have decided to focus on. You’ll be able to gain a lot of insight and
position yourself for the explosive digital transformation ahead.’