Learning 3.0

Learning 3.0 is a rapid blend of what is happening in our personal and consumer lives with the corporate education space. If you just think about your everyday experiences in terms of personalized interaction, on-demand gratification, and seemingly limitless information—this is the demand being made on our corporate learning process—is that fair? Maybe, maybe not, but we are competing with the Internet at large that has 4–6 billion sources of information and hordes of technology. Oh, and guess what, of those everyday experiences, how many are actually learning and not just entertainment or news? I’m sure if you were pummeled with the 2 million Facebook posts that will occur by the time you finish this article, you would read them all, right? Well, our learners are very interested in what those posts are saying; how about what you are saying? So, how do you fight for attention? Connections and context!

Connections: Maybe corporate learning doesn’t have to create all the content.

In a recent conference forum, we listened to accomplished CLOs talk about their roles in the future. Many saw themselves as connectors, not creators. Becoming information and knowledge brokers and connecting pockets of experience throughout the organization seemed vitally important given the pace of business. One CLO has already seen the requests coming in for L&D dwindling as the masses are feeding themselves. This change is welcome because now a focus on critical topics can be achieved, as previously promised but never obtained. CLOs are also sharpening their sense of responsibility to ensure learners are feeding themselves appropriately and efficiently.

The point of Learning 3.0 is social and search—so corporate learning now puts a focus on connecting resources, building networks, and motivating experts to contribute and lead. Learning 3.0 for corporate L&D organizations is about enabling a positive experience for the learner. Learning 3.0 has many definitions, but one theme that is sticking out is that learners will find what they need, when they want it—and they get to define both! Is this good? This is GREAT! But, L&D has a mandate: context.

Context: Sure, learners can decide what and where to learn; the task is getting them to perform.

If corporate L&D doesn’t have to build all content learners may lean on, then L&D can focus on what is really important to the business and provide the best, impactful experience on those topics. Let Learning 3.0 introduce learners to the right content based on job performance context (what I need to know, when I need it). In this regard, corporate learning and development strategy has two key outcomes:

  • Contextual Learning: Enable learning that is a continuous cycle of equipping and activating—equipping with information using multi-modal interactions across the formal and informal spectrum and activating the behavioral adoption with real-world reflection and feedback as learning opportunities arise through intentional contact with peers, managers, customers, and direct reports. Managers can no longer just be aware, they must be involved.
  • Modernized Experience: Even the critical content has to be modern. Own the experience in a Learning 3.0 kind of way—embrace what is driving Learning 3.0 to begin with and design your content and learning strategies accordingly. Focus on the learner. If content is not designed that way, learners will go elsewhere. But also, think about what draws attention to content; in the personal and consumer worlds, this seems easy. Modernized learning approaches require learners to realize that learning about their jobs and their organizational strategy is not only important, but also engaging—the modernized learning approach has to have the “social” construct of wanting to be part of an experience, not just a consumer of information.

What is the takeaway? Roles you will need:

  • Learner Experience Designer – The interactivity of tomorrow’s learning will not be formal, but learners should be part of a design to ensure the interactions do occur and do provide value. Enabling cohorts, peer interaction, community insights, timely feedback, opportunities to apply learning, and the multi-modal learning journey of the future require a design that fosters engagement and demands a new mode of measurement.
  • Community Builder – All programs, topic/function-based networks, and work process communities need encouragement and curation—this resource requires the time to focus and the skills to succeed.
  • Coaches and Mentors – If not already equipped, front-line supervisors need to shift into learning leaders and performance coaches; they will most likely need coaching and mentoring themselves in this field.
  • Data Analysts/Scientists – Much of the connectivity within an organization is happening digitally. These interactions need to be researched and insights need to be acted upon—data will be the driver of the learner network of tomorrow.

Eric Bruner

Eric Bruner is the Chief Technologist for GP Strategies' Performance Readiness Group and is currently leading research and development efforts concentrating on enterprise-wide collaboration, innovation management, and agile learning. Eric has been in the enterprise information management field for 20+ years where his roles have ranged from project manager, community of practice leader, Director of R&D, and Director of Corporate Operations. Eric has worked with Fortune 500 customers implementing ERP applications and other large scale transformations to integrate learning technologies into the overall initiative with emphasis on workforce readiness and organizational impact.

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