Knowledgepool Breakfast Briefing: Striking the Digital Balance for Better Learning Experiences

On Wednesday 20th March, Knowledgepool hosted a breakfast briefing at Madison in London to unveil the first in our series of L&D focused reports based on the transition from a human to hybrid workforce and the three key pillars that are fundamental to achieving the transformation; digital, data and people.

Our first report, The digital opportunity: Striking the Digital Balance for Better Learning Experiences, looks at the rise of digitisation across business functions and how L&D can utilise what automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machines offer in order to evolve and create high-value learner engagement and experiences.

The briefing was opened by Knowledgepool’s Managing Director Dan Ferrandino, who revealed key insights from the report, looking at the current L&D landscape and the issues learning professionals regularly contend with. Learner experience is notably the biggest challenge, followed by the need for learning to be fluid in order to be accessed when needed. An agile culture of learning needs to be instilled throughout an organisation and is necessary in a technology-driven world where the pace of change is increasing and it’s not going to stop.

With 75% of L&D professionals surveyed stating that learner experience is at the centre of digital learning design and content Dan commented “mechanism isn’t always the problem, it’s the content”. Here lies the key challenge – ensuring the content is what the learner wants, has the need for and is delivered in a way they engage with.

Keynote speaker, author and founder of Learning Without Frontiers, Graham Brown-Martin took a deep-dive into the mechanics of education, what needs to change and how digital technology can enable, not dictate learner experience and engagement.

Adapt, collaborate, innovate, change

The key for businesses to possess a workforce that is sustainable for the future is for employees to develop the ability to unlearn and relearn continuously throughout their life. This agile method of lifelong learning is pivotal to successfully and continuously adapt to unprecedented change. Humans are social creatures and work together in order to solve problems and seek new solutions.

This can be nurtured within L&D by creating collaborative learning environments where people can work together, question, debate, critique and innovate. After all, innovation comes from critical and creative thinking. Don’t rely on technology to spoon-feed content and take it as read. Encourage curiosity – that’s how people grow, develop, learn and engage. Change doesn’t come from accepting.

Everyone is unique and learning should be too

The way in which we register, process and store information is different for every person. We all learn in unique ways and because of this the way we’re educated should be too, but it isn’t.

Learning and education, Graham argued, is about problem-solving but it is currently seen and implemented as a tool to instruct. This single form of content delivery when learning without scope to question and innovate needs to change within L&D. The foundation of learning is by ‘doing’ not by accessing reams of content. Learning is agile and ever-changing, we’re effectively on lifelong apprenticeships.

The function of L&D is crucial for the future success of businesses as employees must adapt and continuously evolve, learning new skills as change, such as the increase in technological innovation replacing former human roles and tasks, occurs.

Don’t compete with machines

We cannot ignore technology and the rise of digitalisation. Our everyday lives are consumed by it and as workforces become hybrid, the way in which employees work and engage with technology will evolve. AI, automation and machinery can support L&D practices. However as Graham stated, AI is never the message, it’s the medium. Technology enables but does not control learning, nor does it possess the ability to improve learner engagement or experience.

Robots and machine-learning will remove a multitude of roles that are currently carried out by humans. This means people will need to unlearn and relearn skills to fill the roles that machines cannot do. However, as social creatures who look to others to collaborate, develop and innovate, the human element will always be necessary. The emotional intelligence that machines are void of is required for humans to build relationships, empathise and understand one another’s needs. This is what is required to tailor learning programmes and ensure employees are learning what they are passionate about, need to know and can implement.

Uncertainty is the new normal. To not become the Kodak or Blackberry of tomorrow learning needs to be agile for employees and the wider culture of the business to adapt for the inevitable but unforeseeable change that will occur. Nurture and develop environments where learners can question, create, collaborate and develop with the support of technology. However human intervention will create the mindset and behaviours in order to maximise the opportunity technology provides.

Read our report and find out how digitisation is impacting HR professionals across organisations and how business leaders are planning or have already begun to take steps in transitioning their workforce from a human to a hybrid.