Thursday 8 July 2021 9:00 am Avado Talk

Is learning tech capability in L&D holding it back?

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No matter your role on the learning and development team or the makeup of your organisation, it is important to consistently review and evaluate innovative technologies, tools, and trends to see if they make sense for your organisation.

Technology changes rapidly, and if you do not keep up, you will be left behind. Learning technologies (LT) do not just include new software and emerging tech. They also include the LT ecosystem, which could be best described as a collection of people, processes and tools that deliver, integrate, and support the L&D function across your organisation. That whole ecosystem requires knowledge in assessing, defining, and articulating requirements. Ensuring that the latest advancements help both the learner and the organisation means understanding the learners’ needs and overall experience.

What’s missing from L&D capabilites?

According to results from a recent L&D Capability Model self-assessment, where many thousands of L&D professionals took part in diagnosing their own skills and capabilities, technology application is one of the three lowest-rated capabilities. In fact, only 40 percent of the more than 8,600 L&D professionals who have taken the assessment received a high rating.

A recent report on L&D and Covid by the Ken Blanchard Companies cited concerns among L&D professionals on how to skilfully use new tools and platforms. 32 percent of the 1,000 L&D survey respondents said e-learning and digital development tool proficiency is holding back their L&D staff.

It’s well documented, and has been for the past few years at least, that technology started playing an increased role in training delivery even before the pandemic halted face-to-face learning events. In 2019, more than 50 percent of all learning hours were delivered with technology-based methods, the highest percentage ever recorded.

How has tech in L&D progressed?

Just five years ago, 48 percent of organisations used technology-based simulations in learning and development programs, 75 percent used non-technology-based simulations, and 88 percent used scenario-based learning. Those numbers have increased to 75 percent, 87 percent, and 98 percent, respectively, reports Simulations and Scenarios: Realistic, Effective, and Engaging Learning.

“Technology should support learning, not dictate it,” Tareq Omairi wrote in a recent learning blog post.

Along with simulations, e-learning, and video, some of the technology and tools that can aid in training delivery include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR, VR), and social learning.

Artificial Intelligence in L&D

According to JD Dillon, “AI is defined as a machine’s ability to perform cognitive functions typically associated with humans, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting, creating, and problem solving. AI commonly utilises machine learning algorithms to detect patterns and learn how to make predictions and recommendations by processing data and experiences, rather than by explicitly receiving programming instruction.”

Learning and development can choose from a range of existing AI-enabled applications, such as:

  1. Using data to proactively find individual employees’ knowledge and skills gaps and supply the right support to the right person at the right time at the speed and scale of a global business.
  2. Applying data to improve measurement practices and, through the application of specialised machine learning, decide how L&D solutions are (or are not) affecting targeted business goals.
  3. Translating content in real time into any available language with rapidly increasing accuracy and writing content faster and at a quality level that is similar to human authors.

AR and VR are not mainstream in learning but can be used for visualisation, immersion, and storytelling. Cost and digital literacy are factors in choosing to use them, and the time involved in prototyping AR and VR is still too long for the needs of many businesses and education providers.

To supply relevant and valuable training solutions to your organisations, you need to search for the most efficient tools to improve performance. Social media tools and new, creative ways to use them can help improve learning engagement and performance.

“L&D can move to a more proactive state with the newer tools now available,” Chad Udell wrote in ‘Shock of the New’. It’s a fun time to be in L&D, and “this new normal offers lots of opportunity to enable real change and improve performance in ways we have only dreamed about.”