This article was originally published on eLearning Industry.
Digital transformation has been dramatically changing the business landscape over the past decade. And since the pandemic, the pace to digitise businesses has been rapidly increasing. Arguably, we are navigating through a new ‘industrial’ revolution – one in which, in order to thrive in today's ever-evolving industries, modern organisations must transform the way they design, deliver, and evaluate learning.
Technology is now ubiquitous. Whether it’s new cloud-based apps that underpin how we work or the latest mobile phone holding court in our hands, there is no point in building a business around today’s latest technology if we don’t simultaneously develop the skills to exploit these new opportunities.
The ways of working in the 21st century are changing forever. Jobs for life and traditional linear career paths are increasingly disappearing, meaning that careers are not as orderly as they once were. Today career breaks, career pivots, and 2nd and 3rd career starts are becoming as common as switching industries. Increasingly, and particularly amongst the younger working generation, careers are being viewed more as individual development experiences, with each experience offering the chance to acquire new skills and new perspectives.
And so how can e-learning help with the digital transformation process?
At its most basic, simply using e-learning to substitute classroom-based learning as part of disseminating the information that you need to share as part of your digital transformation process. This is the easiest way to use e-learning to make sure your digital transformation programmes progress as smoothly as possible.
But the challenge for Senior Executives, HR, and L&D teams is to do so much more with e-learning and digital transformation initiatives in order to make the most of them. Today, organisations are battling it out to both retain and acquire the best talent. Indeed, given the current employment challenges, L&D teams have the opportunity to re-invent learning throughout their organisations and have a hugely positive impact on the digital transformation in all businesses.
E-learning’s Many Positive Impacts on Digital Transformation
Many organisations’ transformation strategy includes changes in how they support their staff in day-to-day learning and across their careers within the organisation. Most are also leveraging new LMS technologies and adopting new ways of thinking about learning.
Moreover, media-rich learning libraries promote today’s self-directed learning, moving organisations away from simply adopting an LMS for their learning needs. Employees want easily searchable content and want to consume it quickly - and in a format, they choose, regardless of location or device. This is the type of user experience we have all gotten used to on our smartphones outside the workplace, and this is the experience we also expect in the workplace.
If how we access our individual learning needs has changed over the past few years, so has the pressures on HR and L&D teams to understand how learning has completely transformed within our organisations. Learning is no longer simply about closing an individual’s skill gap or solving a performance problem. It’s much more about becoming a strategic enabler for the business.
It's Hubken’s view that L&D now has the potential to make a much greater on our organisations than ever before. Arguably, it can be the more important thing to get right as an organisation - digital transformation is about products and services, customer touch points and enabling data-driven decision making.
Obviously, it will take more than just the L&D team within your organisation to make this shift. Nonetheless, Learning and Development do have a big role to play in the success of any digital transformation. Below are some straightforward ways that e-learning can help…
Many employees are likely to be afraid of the changes that digital transformation will bring to them as individuals. Fears around potential redundancies, not being able to deliver future expectations because they lack the necessary digital capabilities, etc. can lead to a lack of engagement, or worse, resistance to, digital transformation.
As mentioned earlier, a simple ‘win’ is to ensure that you use e-learning to help address these fears by creating e-learning courses that explain your digital transformation strategy, goals that you are expecting to achieve, and what impact it will have on your employees.
As you digitally transform your organisation, you will undoubtedly need people with different skills, including new digital skills. Today’s so-called Resignation Generation is highlighting the problem that most sectors are experiencing a high demand for employees with the types of digital and technical skills you might need.
And although recruiting new people to the business will undoubtedly be required, you are unlikely to bridge your entire skills gaps simply with new recruits. You will also have to develop the required digital skills of existing employees.
E-learning is ideal for training staff in many digital skills topics, providing the additional benefits of enhancing the confidence of your employees while continuing to break down internal resistance to digital transformation.
This proactive approach to ‘upskilling’ your employees means that it will be easier to recruit new staff and retain your current employees. Embracing e-learning early in any digital transformation programme will give the best opportunity to fully embed a learning mindset across the business, greatly increasing future engagement for other e-learning initiatives.
Building on the point above, it is also crucial that you make e-learning courses engaging and interactive. Today’s e-learning courses can be much more highly engaging than traditional offline classroom training. Training courses that are boring or lack engagement with the learners will be detrimental to the digital transformation programme, and with today’s e-learning technology, there is little excuse to NOT e-learning courses highly engaging and interactive.
It’s also important to realise that training, like messaging, is not a ‘one for all’ solution. Indeed, customising your e-learning messages and training will make a significant contribution to the success of your digital transformation e-learning courses. Today’s modern LMS tools make it easy to provide personalised training and avoid a one size fits all mentality.
It’s important to remember that digital transformation is not a destination in and of itself. Technologies are constantly changing and improving, meaning that training will also become a key component of the digitally transformed business. Regularly engaging with your learners will help embed a stronger learning culture within the business and go a long way to making certain that your business is continually addressing any skill gaps.
Leverage the learning analytics that is inherent in many of today’s better LMS tools. By analysing this data for trends and patterns, organisations can continually refine their programmes to improve individual engagement, increase completion rates, and teach content more effectively. In addition, the LMS platform's data can be used to analyse the effectiveness of individual courses, based on participation and other success metrics to identify opportunities for improvement.
Collaborative or Social Learning. Perhaps one of the most powerful ways that e-learning can contribute to the success of any digital transformation initiative is by extending the traditional LMS toolkit. Ask most people and they’ll tell you that while formal learning is essential, it is by interacting and engaging with others who have more or complementary skills to our own. Integrating functionality that provides both formal and informal learning within the same platform helps ensure that you drive up learner engagement. This fundamental principle is driving a new generation of social learning tools, such as Totara Engage, easily enabling an organisation's users to communicate and share resources to enhance their understanding of learning content.
So, what happens next?
Digital transformation is happening, with our personal and working lives being fundamentally changed. L&D has a real opportunity to create genuine value. Since the Pandemic, e-learning budgets are increasing, and Learning & Development now has the support of C-level executives. In particular, L&D has a real opportunity to lead many of the digital changes that organisations will increasingly need.
We now live in a vastly different workplace and this changing workforce is now looking to L&D teams to help them navigate through it. All around us, the way we operate as employees is constantly changing. The most obvious of these changes is today’s ‘work-from-home’ culture and the fact that employees are geographically dispersed and increasingly quick to move between roles and organisations. The pressure is on Learning and Development teams to onboard higher volumes of remote staff often remotely and ensure that they become competent and engaged employees as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
The simple truth is that as a function, L&D needs to be proactive in preparing the business for a prosperous future. Knowledge is changing. A report by Dell Technologies states that the rapid technological changes that we are currently experiencing mean that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be invented. Moreover, research from Deloitte highlights that the courses and resources that L&D teams are developing today will not have the long-term value they once did - they are less valuable assets, no matter how much work and time has gone into creating them.
Increasingly, employees expect to learn what they need to help them perform in their roles at the time and place that suits them best. They expect autonomy in how they master their roles, illustrating the agility expected from their managers and senior executives. As already mentioned, talent development is vital in attracting and retaining great staff and, consequently, improving business performance. Learners and employers are turning to Learning & Development to provide solutions to these challenges.
Solutions won't be found in traditional learning methods developed for a pre-digital economy. It’s time for L&D leaders to look at the LMS tools available to them in order to help deliver on this transformative agenda. Those who do not, risk appearing irrelevant to staff, who will start looking elsewhere for their training needs. Moreover, as a function, they may also appear less valuable to business leaders who require a clear return on investment.
A modern LMS should serve the needs of the worker and the manager. For example, this means having an LMS solution that supports self-directed learners with content directly relevant to their professional and personal development, easily discovered and delivered to any device. For managers, this means an LMS solution that enables them to directly develop and curate content that supports their teams and gives them the data that gives them actionable insights.
In practice, this means:
- Deploying a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) alongside your LMS, with immediate access to a broad catalogue of high-quality content.
- Easy to use course and content creation tools to empower experts in your business to rapidly develop learning content
- Tools to align business objectives, learning courses and an individual’s performance management
- A powerful analytics and reporting tool to give precise insights into skills gaps across the organisation
Adopting the use of these tools will enable your organisation to meet head-on and resolve many of the current challenges facing them today. E-learning training should be a central consideration within any digital transformation initiative you plan to implement. It will help keep your team enthusiastic and engaged, and, with the right LMS solution, it will ensure that skills levels in your organisation constantly improve.
If you’re convinced by the benefits of an LMS, but not sure what to do next, check out our ultimate resource guide to your ideal LMSs and learn more about choosing the right tool for your organisation.
We have been creating dynamic online learning, compliance, performance, and people management solutions since 2004 and are trusted by many leading UK organisations to deliver their e-learning platforms.