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How to Ignite Better Learning and Development Through Digital

Dave Ackley
March, 2019

Originally published by HR Daily Advisor.

Employees do their best when their learning programs are active, engaging, and integrated into their work. Yet, too many are not receiving the training they need. According to Deloitte, just 34% of employees are satisfied with their organization’s handling of skills training.

Fortunately, emergent digital technology offers exciting opportunities to deliver engaging, work-integrated experiences that support leadership and development programs in dynamic new ways.

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The Rise of Digital Training

New technology offerings are attractive to chief learning officers and other senior HR leaders for many reasons. For one, digital tools enable more powerful reinforcement and results along the learning journey.

But results matter far less when they’re limited in scale and speed. Leaders must reach large audiences quickly and effectively to keep pace with the rate of change. This is now possible through platforms and tools for digital experiences, business simulations, events, assessments, coaching, and performance support.

Even better, these tools can now improve themselves over time by collecting data, processing it, and using artificial intelligence to adapt to actual users—something not easily done with nondigital approaches.

Digital also makes off-site leadership more productive, engaging participants and capitalizing on having top talent gathered in one place. It enables virtual experiences with the benefits of live facilitation but without the time and expense of travel and venue.

Digital even allows companies to deploy experiences and business simulations directly into the flow of work, saving time and administration, while putting learning experiences in the context of a team’s regular tasks. And by including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, the organization is creating community and building culture, instead of just holding isolated training sessions.

Incorporating Digital Offerings

Through digital tools, leaders can practice and receive coaching much more easily than before. Digital can support practice or leadership coaching sessions synchronously and asynchronously, allowing companies to reach more people more often.

New digital initiatives can be daunting, often because it’s hard to know where to begin. These four steps will get HR leaders and chief learning officers ready to go:

  • Start with the outcomes you want to achieve, not the technology. Don’t use technology for its own sake; use it to solve a specific problem. By focusing on where you can add the most value, you will zero in on the most effective tools for that need.
  • Understand your toolbox. Know what assets are in your company’s digital learning ecosystem, both internal and on the cloud, and identify what capabilities you need to add to support desired outcomes. It’s good to stay on top of your technological capabilities for digital training and the resources you need to take full advantage of them.
  • Design with the learner in mind. Training should be tailored to learners based on individual readiness. Fortunately, digital tools can accommodate a self-paced program.
  • Begin with senior executives. Getting your leadership team involved will inspire everyone at the company and will convey the message that this training shift is truly for everyone.

Leaders who start implementing these changes now will soon have their teams up to speed and will benefit from the modern way of deploying training—a method that’s integrated with real work, is highly interactive, and gets better the more it’s used.

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