Fluid and Flexible: A More Dynamic Workplace Demands a New Way of Learning

Within today’s dynamic and fast-evolving enterprise, continuous learning is now a cornerstone for survival. In a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Centre, only 16% of Americans believed that a four-year-degree course fully prepares students for a high-paying job in the modern economy, and 54% of working Americans think it will be essential to develop new skills through their working lives. Indeed, PwC’s 20th CEO survey (2017) revealed that 77% of CEOs see the availability of key skills as the biggest threat to their business.

The rapid advancement of technology in fields such as natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, and robotics—to name just a few—will change the workplace and its employment profile forever. While it is expected that the demand for data scientists will substantially outstrip supply over the next decade, it is very possible other roles—frontline retail workers, administrative assistants, cashiers, truck drivers and other laborers, for instance—are at risk of elimination through advancements in automation. According to the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, the most susceptible jobs are those that typically earn less and have lower education levels.

It all means that the workplace of the future will require every employee to be a ‘technical employee.’ PwC’s 20th CEO survey also revealed that 58% of CEOs are addressing the implications of automation for stakeholder trust today, 52% say they’re already exploring the benefits of humans and machines working together, and 39% are considering the impact of AI on future skills needs.

To contend with all this change, organizational learning and development (L&D) spending has grown in double digits over the last few years as companies respond to shifting markets and new disruptive competition. In 2015, US companies invested more than $6.4B in education and training.

In this same timeframe, the learning and development industry has experienced a shift away from instructor-led models to learning that is online and employee-driven, characterized by self-authored video, self-discovery of learning assets, and content curation. Only 16% of L&D spending is now allocated to instructor-led learning, versus 33% in 2006.

This model of modern workplace learning—enabled by learning experience technology—empowers individuals to take more responsibility for and control over their own learning and supports individuals and teams in learning continuously from their daily work.

Top Workplace Learning Trends

  1. Organizations are investing more in talent development.
  2. Learning and development is a highly varied function, from structure to top objectives.
  3. Developing employees is important to executives but demonstrating business value proves challenging.
  4. Proving value to learners is equally important, but equally difficult.
  5. Learning and development professionals see room for improvement in their own profession.

“The more that you read, the more things that you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
- Dr. Seuss

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