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So how are organisations supporting the 4 D’s of Learning? If we map the Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning 2020 onto the 4 D’s model. This is what it looks like
This clearly shows the dominance of collaboration platforms and video meeting platforms of all types, but the significant thing is that these platforms are now being used for both formal and informal (social) learning at work, so, finally, we are beginning to see the integration of work and learning on the same platform. It is clear that as organisations has to pretty much digitise their training activities overnight, they took to using Zoom and Microsoft Teams (which came in at No 1 and 2 on the WL100 list) to deliver live training events as well as hold remote
In doing so, it it seems their focus moved from content development to live training – as most course authoring tools and content development tools have moved down this year’s list. This has undoubtedly been due to the fact that if they needed to train people quickly, converting classroom training to e-learning would take far too long.
However, when it comes to supporting self-learning activities – through providing access to online course platforms as well as curation of relevant resources – this doesn’t not seem to have been a priority this year – and once again appears to have been left to individuals to do for themselves.
What does this all mean for a post-Covid workplace?
Lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has meant that the world of work has rapidly changed. It is not clear to what extent things will return to the way things were before, but Dianna Vienne writing in Fast Company actually believes
“As a result of the coronavirus, the workplace will never be the same. Even the word “workplace” suddenly seems obsolete, as the physical location in which we now work has merged with the places in which we eat, sleep, learn, exercise, and play.”
Whether remote working does become the new normal for organisations, we will see, but it has certainly speeded up digitization out of sheer necessity. Microsoft, for example, believes that Covide will forever change the way we work and learn. They quote Joe Spataro, head of Microsoft 365, as saying
“It’s clear to me there will be a new normal. If you look at what’s happening in China and what’s happening in Singapore, you essentially are in a time machine. We don’t see people going back to work and having it be all the same.”
But there’s more to it. Remote workers have enjoyed much more flexibility and autonomy in their daily lives that they will be looking to retain these benefits in the future. As Diana Mulcay writes in Forbes
“The battle for remote work has been ongoing. Employees want the choice and flexibility to work outside the office at least some of the time, but many companies and even more managers resist it. Will this short-term (at minimum) and large-scale experiment in remote work change that?
It’s hard to argue any other outcome. Once companies have the processes and tools in place, and the results of weeks, or even months, of remote working, it will be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. “
In fact statistics from the State of Remote Work 2020 study bears this out
“77% of respondents agree that after COVID-19, being able to work from home (WFH) would make them happier”
So, in the light of all this and the results of the previous surveys that showed that DIDACTICS represents only a small percentage of how people learn in the workplace, what does it mean for learning at work?
It certainly seems that it is time for change. Although in the months to come business expect 40-50% of staff to return to the office, it is likely that collaboration platforms and video meeting platforms will still have a place – particularly as workers will be asked to avoid group meetings and limit face-to-face social interaction But live training – ie talking at people (which is the least enjoyable form of learning) needs to be used sparingly. So other learning flexible and responsive options need to be considered, particularly as autonomy has been a key feature of WFH, and there also needs to be a move towards a organisational learning strategy focused around self-directed learning.
In fact it requires a new organisational learning culture or mindset that enables and supports learning in all its ways at work. I call this Modern Workplace Learning (MWL).
Last updated: November 20, 2020 at 12:31 pm