Learning & Development in Asia, be a part of it

“Learning, learning and continuous learning, ladies and gentleman, is the key
differentiator to become a successful organisation.” These words were very
powerfully and animatedly stated by the Head of HR of a large Indian Conglomerate
at an L&D conference, in Mumbai.
Almost all organisations talk about the importance of learning and development,
however few do much about it. It is not because they do not believe in L&D
activities; it is because the benefits of learning are difficult to measure. Rather it is
very difficult to measure learning. Therefore, learning and development somehow
hovers in the abstruse realm of management. The last to receive budgetary
allocation and the first to experience austerity drive.
The economic landscape has drastically changed and is changing with an
unprecedented speed. This is both an Indian and global phenomena. The core of this
change is advancement in technology –especially computing technology. Massive
pools of data can be processed in seconds and this ability of big data analytics is able
to provide inferences in real time. This results in quick decision making as well as the
need to execute quickly. Now marry this ability to compute quickly, correlate
abstract data and provide meaningful, analysed data with learning and there you
have birth of ‘true’ digital learning. Add to it the developing science of Artificial
Learning and Machine learning – making digital learning effective, efficient and
engaging.
Digital learning is there – from basic Learning Management Services (LMS’s) to high
end assisted learning intelligence platforms, but the question is ability of the
businesses to adapt to digital learning. Anything and everything on a digital device is
not digital learning. With this definition, Computer based learning has been there is
some form or other since 1970’s and it later avatar of eLearning since early 1990’s.
I would like to share some facts which came up with some interesting findings
(based on 189 clients that we have worked with). Some of them are:
Up till 2012 – 80% of the core training was in-person and classroom lead. Where
average classroom training averaged 56 training hours a year out of a classroom
learning opportunity of 80 hours. Getting 8 hours of eLearning was a challenge,
being limited to product and process knowledge or induction programs.
An average program (classroom) lasted for 2 days in 2012.
In 2017 – the average classroom came to one day. With consistent demand for
classroom programs not exceeding 4 hours or half a day sessions. With eLearning

consumption increasing up to 19 hours a year –from an average eLearning
opportunity of 300+ hours (based on custom made and ready to use libraries)
The attention span has dropped considerably to less that 5 minutes and is reducing
all the more. This is more due to the choices that a learner has and multiple sources
for getting information affecting the ability to concentrate.
The workforce that is now comprising more of millennials, desire for more
personalized input, on the go and self-paced learning opportunities. 89% of
respondents in a survey conducted by SKILLDOM stated that they find the classroom
training uninteresting and that they can better use their time learning the same
thing through online medias.
100% of stakeholders were challenged and struggling to measure learning
effectiveness and efficiency in 2012 and 100% of stakeholders are still challenged on
the same issue in 2017. Nothing much will change in 2018 – until organisation start
adapting to intelligent digital learning platforms.
In the same survey conducted by SKILLDOM, 79% of the learners wanted classroom
sessions to be skill building sessions, where they could interact and do activities and
exercises that helped them become dextrous or sensitive to a certain subject /
competency. 74% of the respondents said that micro learning would be better as
they can collate mentally concepts and probably apply them at work as and when
needed. Both the business and the learner wanted to know – how much I have
learnt in the end.
Now on analysing these points the major inferences are :
Classroom learning is important, but needs to be focussed on skill building…
Digital learning is the need of the hour to provide personalized, on the go, self paced
and measured learning.
The advantage that digital learning platforms bring is immense. Think of a large bank
or a pharma company or a multiband retail outlet that employ probably 1000’s of
people. Reaching to every learner is a challenge and reaching in real time is all the
more difficult, forget about providing learning opportunity consistently and regularly
(I am sure given the current focus on monies, the logistic cost itself will be a major
road block). A digital learning platform can provide all this at a cost that is
significantly less than spend which the organization does on coffee per employee per
month. Moreover, it is able to measure learning, as it is able to record minute
transactions that correlate with learning. Learning content is sourced from the
knowledge repository of the organization and curated content from internet that
probably has millions of content pieces on the most common competencies that are
associated with a role. Which means you can actually measure the learning that a
learner is doing. Hence you know what is the ability and all that is left for the
business or the learner’s immediate manager to do is bring in the ‘human touch’ to
influence the ‘willingness” part.

With improving bandwidth, digital learning is possible and it is here to stay. Even in
remotest part of the country, you will find not only the youth but people across a
broad demographic spectrum happily hooked on to YouTube and Facebook. The only
challenge is to engage with a digital learning platform that can be as interesting as
Facebook or YouTube.
So when I hear the words “learning, learning and continuous learning” from the
head of HR of an Indian conglomerate and I know it can happen. But to make it
happen the core way of functioning and looking at the learning function has to
dramatically alter. Adapting digital learning platforms that operate on new age
technology is critical. Only when this learning change is initiated will business
organisations of today start becoming successful.
***

About- Anirudh Gupta, Skilldom
In his current role, Anirudh oversees the Learning Strategy function at SKILLDOM and
guides the development teams to provide the best-possible learning solutions to
clients. As a Learning & Development/Organizational Development (L&D/OD)
specialist with over 15 years of work experience, he ensures every learning need is
addressed optimally. A graduate in English literature from the University of Delhi,
Anirudh also holds a management degree from SIMSR, Mumbai. He has additional
certifications to his credit in the areas of Organizational Development, Psychology,
Instructional Design, Adult Learning Theories, HR Processes from premium
institutions in the country and abroad. Further, Anirudh is formally certified
professional in the application and interpretation of psychometric tools such as
MBTI, 16PF, FIRO-B and TKI.
In his previous positions, Anirudh has led the L&D function for companies such as
Wockhardt Limited, ICICI Prudential Life, MetLife India and Glenmark. As a seasoned
trainer, he has also conducted various workshops for managerial skills development,
leadership development, personality development, culture, diversity and conflict.

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