Continuous learning” refers to the ongoing development of skills, abilities, and knowledge through different means–this is part of an individual’s ongoing professional life both at work and beyond.2 Continuous learning can be triggered at both the personal and organizational levels. On a personal level, people are intrinsically motivated to continuously learn and improve and thus take complete ownership of their overall development. At an organizational level, employers play a pivotal role in shaping their people and expanding their workforce’s skill sets.
Continuous learning for individuals
- Individuals can take the following approaches towards continuous learning to build new knowledge and skills:
- Staying updated through a variety of learning opportunities like reading, attending talks and seminars, taking online courses or watching videos.
- Undertaking challenging assignments, roles, and job rotations which they were not exposed to earlier.
- Asking for help when something is unclear.
- Observing others who are more experienced in a particular area
- Learning by trial and error.
- Practicing and applying the new skills on the job.
- Tracking one’s own progress over time through self-analysis.
- Asking for feedback from others and working towards improvement.
How organizations can encourage continuous learning
Organizations can adopt the following practices to enhance their employees’ knowledge and skill sets:
- Promoting a culture of continuous learning, in which top leaders and other agents of culture encourage employees to take time for professional development.
- Providing relevant resources to employees, including computers, journals, articles, access to online courses, formal classroom training and a comfortable learning environment.
- Encouraging knowledge sharing and idea creation among employees.
- Exposing employees to social media and other relevant platforms.
- Rewarding employees/teams who maintain the spirit of continuous learning.
Investing in learning can never go wrong. Practising a culture of continuous learning offers many benefits both employees and organizations.
Employees who take a continuous learning approach benefit from improved performance and productivity. The better equipped employees are, the better they can perform. This increased performance allows them to contribute more to the success of organization. In turn, a sense of providing value to the organization can enhance self-worth. Ultimately, this better performance, improved productivity and enhanced self-worth will also make employees more engaged. In addition, employees who are well-equipped with in-demand knowledge and skills have more career options available to them.
For organizations, the culture of continuous learning will create empowered employees who contribute to the achievement of business goals. Workers with a rich repertoire of knowledge shared across the organization can offer a competitive advantage, making it easier for the business to attract and retain the right employees.
To remain ahead in today’s complex and competitive world, embracing continuous learning as a way of life is a good proposition. After all, as Albert Einstein stated, “once we stop learning, we start dying.”
(Source : Anonymous)
(Source : hrkatha.com)
Digital technologies are disrupting the learning and development market mainly because of the pace at which businesses are changing and the skills that are required to succeed. Both organizations and employees are under pressure to deliver high performance while also learning continuously. L&D and HR professionals must understand the impact of digital learning in order to articulate the business need for learning to the leadership, only then can one expect digital learning to become an ingrained way of life to improve organizational performance.
Digital thinking in building digital L&D
Going digital is not just about adopting digital learning technologies, systems, and processes. It demands a more fundamental change. It is a new way of learning, a mind-set change. Digital thinking is a shift away from “learning for the sake of learning outcomes” towards “learning to enhance performance.” L&D professionals must think about two things:
User-friendly outcomes like enhanced flexibility, increased collaboration, rich experiences, etc. These will help instill a learning culture and empower the employee. After all, learning and development is a powerful tool for engaging and retaining employees.
Think about the latest technologies like automation, social, mobile, and the internet of things, and how you can integrate them into the infrastructural foundation for digital learning.
How to improve the impact of digital learning
The essence of digital literacy lies in being a new “way of learning” and not just a new platform. The following learning attitudes must become integral to digital learning, for it to succeed:
Focus on business outcomes: To improve learning impact, one must define the learning impact in terms of business outcomes and not merely learning outcomes. The training evaluation model of Kirk Patrick suggests four levels of learning evaluation—reaction, learning, behavior, and results. Organizations must move beyond the first three levels and measure results that are articulated as tangible business results such as the impact on financials, costs, and process efficiency.
Use data for decision making: A digital learning system ensures that the staff has access to learning data right from completion rates, assessment scores, effective learning modes etc. that can then feed into identifying learning needs and aligning learning styles. These data points must be correlated with business outcomes like impact on P&L, better quality, delivery efficiency etc. Use data analytics and insights to deliver what employees actually need, and not what the organization thinks they need.
Empower employees: Digital learning should be employee-centric, only when employees connect with the learning content and objectives, will there be a “pull” to learn more. Use tools like social learning platforms, discussion forums, self-paced learning, and personal learning networks to empower employees to self-direct their learning in the way they learn best.
Customize your digital resources: Employees today access a variety of devices, and seamlessly switch between them. It is therefore critical that organizations customize their learning offerings. Build engaging content that can be accessed across channels and devices. Provide a personalized learning experience to individuals and groups. For example, one can design the course content by learning style (audio, visual, kinesthetic), job role (sales, HR, finance) and other demographic parameters.
Ultimately the success of digital learning is about sharing a compelling learning vision with staff. Once employees sense a significant value-add to their professional lives, they will take the lead to learn in the right direction. This, in turn, will create a ‘positive learning flow’ for individuals, teams, and leaders, setting the stage for a learning culture.
(Source: People Matters)
Learning & Development is no longer about the learning hours that employees go through but it is about the business impact associated with it. Within this context, one of the major challenges that organization face is to do with building capability, not only to tackle the challenges of today but also to prepare employees for the future. This is further complicated by the fact that most companies are dealing with the multi-generational workforce.
Immersive gamification can bring learners of multiple generations to collaborate, motivate each other and learn from real world application. When Rewards are coupled with learning, it creates a sense of excitement to achieve objectives and creates a sense of accomplishment. Gamification is proving to be an effective approach so much so that a new report predicts that globally the gamification of education market will explode to $1.2 billion in 2020 from just about $93 million in 2015.
In a series of roundtables, People Matters in partnership with Plural sight explored some of the key trends, challenges, and opportunities using technology. In a session on designing the framework for a gamified learning program, Capt. Shantanu Chakravorty, Global Head of Digital Design and Gamification at Cognizant Academy spoke about the approach gamification to make it a holistic approach to developing gamified and pervasive learning program. He noted that one of the distinctive features about gamification which differs it from the game is that game has an end but gamification is continuous and a journey in itself.
Here is a blueprint for developing a gamified learning program:
Identify Technology Topologies:
One of the striking features of Gamification is that it prompts a change in the behavior of learners because they are compelled to earn points and rewards, often in a social interface. Gamification coupled with right technology enables tracking learners’ activities, recording achievements, and a real-time feedback to players. Shantanu notes that there are three broad technology categories or types of technology topologies:
• Early mainstream: These are widespread technologies e.g. virtual computing, messaging tools like WhatsApp.
• Juvenile: The new technologies which are still left to explore.
• Nascent: Technologies that are coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential e.g. Augmented Reality
One of the pre-requisites to equip your gamification learning program is to identify the suitable and right technology to design your program, suitable for your business context and industry.
Identify Behavioral Parameters:
Identify the behaviors you want learners to exhibit both, while using the learning platform and after the program is over and design your program accordingly. Select parameters that align with the learning goals, and that are adaptable to the learner so that you can measure ROI. For example, you may consider using demonstrative behavior of participants to realize the impact of the learning program.
Map your learning strategy to layers of gamification:
The gamified learning program can have a series of stages aligned to your strategy. You can include a number of stages like administering the pre-learning assessment, monitoring behavior of learners, etc.
You may use the following five layers to design your gamified learning program:
· Kinesthetic Layer: A traditional learning and development method which emphasizes on of face to face communication. For example, Face to face session is a key focus area for team building skills and learning based on feedback.
· Psychometric Layer: At this layer, the focus is on administering participants learning tools after using traditional psychometric assessments like MBTI.
· Digital device Layer: This is also called biometric/ wearable layer where learners’ behavior can be measured by using wearable devices like fit bits.
· Gamification Layer: Learners are prompted to change their existing behavior and adopt the desired behavior, the entire program needs to affix with rewards and penalties.
· Social Layer: Various social tools like Facebook, Twitter, Yammer etc. are used in this layer. Participants are encouraged to create a profile on these platforms to understand their social behavior and the influence that they exercise as a result of the learning program.
Ensure Network & Collaboration:
Group formation and competitions promote positive team interactions, and member visibility in networks showcase leadership and people expertise
One way to analyze learners’ social network is by using Homophily maps. Homophily maps are defined as the extent to which participants form ties or network with similar versus dissimilar learners. Understanding network behavior is crucial to designing learning programs, it helps understand how employees are leveraging their network to enhance and support their learning
Track learners’ sentiment:
Like traditional learning program, it is necessary to understand how the learners are perceiving your program. Administer their behavior before, during and after completing the program.
Sentiment analysis can be utilized to identify the behavior of learners. Semantic Analysis refers to the use of natural language processing (NLP), text analysis and computational linguistics to identify and extract subjective information from source materials.
The gamification of learning also prompts us to think about the competencies that L&D team of an organization should have. The team should also comprise of people from varied backgrounds like data analyst, anthropologists, sociologists, etc. This helps us understand patterns in people understanding and learning as well as our level of business and problem-solving.
(Source : Plural Sight & People Matters)
The Levels of Competence :
1. Unconscious Incompetence – You don’t know what you don’t know
2. Conscious InCompetence – You Learn how much you don’t know
3. Conscious Competence – You are now able to do things but only with a conscious effort
4. Unconscious Competence- You are now able to do things so well you dont even have to think about it
5. Coaching Competence – This is the level where you can do things with “Unconscious Competence” but you still know exactly how you do each step and you are able to train some one else to do it the same way and just as well.
(Source : Anonymous)
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7. ORGANIZE & COLLABORATE
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