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#BizTrends2023: What trends will shape e-learning in 2023 and beyond?

At its core, e-learning includes encompassing performance plans tailored around knowledge capability, skill and mastery. It also enables the ability to drive sustainable cultural and behavioural changes. These are the characteristics to consider as the traditional building blocks of learning and development (L&D) functions.
Michael Hanly, Managing Director of New Leaf Technologies
Michael Hanly, Managing Director of New Leaf Technologies

Here are five trends for formulating a successful L&D strategy in 2023.

Reskilling and upskilling are at the forefront of learning strategies

To enable business agility and maintain competitiveness, organisations need to shift their L&D from fixed or static learning to a dynamic landscape of skills that can be deployed to work whilst simultaneously evolving according to unique requirements.

Imagine a world where instead of assigning workers to projects based on reporting lines or jobs, they are matched to projects aligning with their interests and skills. Where work seekers no longer need to rely on job postings or word-of-mouth, but instead are presented with customised opportunities based on their unique portfolio of skills. Where leaders have real-time insight into how their workforce’s capabilities support both work processes and business outcomes. Where employees are valued and rewarded for their skills and how they apply them to create organisational value, over their title, level, or educational degree. It’s a way to informationally architect a human-centric future by understanding what the workforce currently brings to the table, while proactively equipping them for success tomorrow.

We have always relied on jobs as the building blocks of our talent processes. Jobs are not easily changed, nor are they developed with organisational outcomes in mind. And a human-centric workforce better supports a business environment that prizes innovation and speed over efficiency. It enables organisations to immediately identify talent to support a new strategic objective, or rapidly pull together a mix of diverse skills that will spark innovation.

Shifting the talent management focus from tightly constrained job roles to flexible skill profiles will pave the way for numerous positive organisational and workforce outcomes.

Collaboration and personalisation

Online learning can be lonely and requires innovative ways to increase participation and enhance the collaborative components within a learning environment. One efficient way to overcome this is through content curation, whereby one is continually finding, filtering and sharing relevant content with learners/employees who can access it all in a single location.

Content curation will help your learners experience constant learning through forums, discussions, and chats for peer-to-peer collaboration.

Personalisation is about targeting individuals, addressing their needs, context and goals, and providing the right content or learning experiences to help their unique needs; much like Spotify or Netflix, which takes your history and popularity and uses algorithms to suggest personalisation. It’s able to adapt according to a series of defined rules to provide a "just-in-time" experience. The algorithms detect a user’s needs and provides personalised recommendations.

This learner-centric and accelerated approach to content delivery will greatly reduce the overall learning time and increase knowledge uptake while addressing unique knowledge gaps based on each individual's performance.

Onboarding

It’s more challenging bringing new employees up to speed remotely while simultaneously trying to bridge the gap in their performance, especially when time is of the essence. However, it is vital to set people up for success now more than ever— even if that means taking a little extra time to perfect.

As an employer, you want to cultivate an environment that unlocks a new hire’s potential faster. Ideally, you want the right process in place, which allows you to monitor them continuously and make adjustments where improvement is needed.

Effective onboarding is an incredibly impactful process that will improve employee retention, shorten their time to become competent and rapidly increase their performance.

An onboarding programme will reduce the burden on new hires by using a phased approach to learning. For example, what do employees need to know on day one, week one, month three, or after a year on the job? Employers should emphasise the individual strengths new hires can apply to their jobs. Accepting the organisational culture may not be as important as making the new hire feel valued.

Employees must get a clear first impression of the work culture and environment. To understand the roles of human resources, direct line managers, and co-workers in their immediate team. To understand their duties and company policies comprehensively and develop skills that are immediately put to use with relatable tasks while allowing practice time.

Learning analytics and training intelligence augmentation (IA)

These cues can then be used to create personalised and way more effective learning paths that enable learners to absorb information, practice, obtain feedback and remediation, far more effectively through informed data-led decisions.

Data allows you to make critical and informed decisions. Businesses are required to report to stakeholders such as their ATRs, and WSPs, and measure the impact of performance interventions against the bottom line at an exco level.

Traditionally data reporting wasn’t always visually appealing, but when you connect all that data, it starts to formulate different perspectives.

Moving on from legacide (legacy)

However, a lot of organisations are stuck and having to MacGyver their way into the digital learning space, which led to duct-taping together classroom-based training materials into an online experience that is far from satisfactory.

As L&D, your role is vital for business success. It would be unwise not to include this as an integral aspect of a business's growth strategy. Start by identifying all potential barriers to performance. This will ensure that all threats are considered when creating the proposed training intervention. This approach shifts the focus from learning to performance outcomes.

As L&D and training professionals, it’s no longer sufficient to merely be the knowledge and skills team, reactively executing demands from other departments. You need to drive performance. Keeping an eye on the latest industry trends and innovations will help you formulate your best year in the training department yet.

About Michael Hanly

Michael Hanly is the Managing Director of New Leaf Technologies. Michael has been in the e-learning industry for almost 10 years and has overseen many projects in the corporate training space, working on a multitude of well-known brands such as Bidvest, Nando's, Allan Gray, Nissan, and the Emirates National Oil Company.

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