Learning tech capability in L&D could be holding it back

No matter your role on a learning and development team or the structure of your organisation, it’s important to consistently review and evaluate innovative technologies, tools, and trends to determine if they make sense for your organisation.

Technology changes quickly, and if you don’t keep up, you’ll get left behind. Learning technologies (LT) do not just include new software and emerging tech. They also include the LT ecosystem, which is best described as a collection of people, processes and tools that deliver, integrate, and support the L&D function across your organisation. That whole ecosystem requires knowledge in assessing, defining, and articulating relevant requirements. Ensuring that the latest advancements help both the learner and the organisation means understanding the learners’ needs and overall experience.

What L&D capabilities are missing

Results from a recent L&D Capability Model self-assessment, where thousands of L&D professionals diagnosed their own skills and capabilities, showed technology application is one of the lowest-rated capabilities. In fact, of the 8,600 L&D professionals who took the assessment, only 40 percent received a high rating.

A recent report on L&D and Covid by the Ken Blanchard Companies cited concerns among L&D professionals on how to skillfully use new tools and platforms. Thirty-two percent of the 1,000 L&D respondents said e-learning and digital development tool proficiency is holding back their L&D staff.

It’s well documented, and has been for the past few years, that technology started playing an increased role in training delivery even before the pandemic halted face-to-face learning events. In 2019, more than 50 percent of all learning hours were delivered via technology-based methods, the highest percentage ever recorded.

The progress of tech in L&D

Just five years ago, 48 percent of organisations used technology-based simulations in learning and development programs, 75 percent used non-technology-based simulations, and 88 percent used scenario-based learning. Those numbers have increased to 75 percent, 87 percent, and 98 percent, respectively, reports Simulations and Scenarios: Realistic, Effective, and Engaging Learning.

“Technology should support learning, not dictate it,” Tareq Omairi wrote in a recent learning blog post.

Along with simulations, e-learning, and video, some of the technology and tools that can aid in training delivery include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR, VR), and social learning.

L&D and artificial intelligence

According to JD Dillon, AI is defined as “a machine’s ability to perform cognitive functions typically associated with humans, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting, creating, and problem solving. AI commonly utilises machine learning algorithms to detect patterns and learn how to make predictions and recommendations by processing data and experiences, rather than by explicitly receiving programming instruction.”

Learning and development professionals can choose from a range of existing AI-enabled applications, including:

  1. Using data to proactively find individual employees’ knowledge and skills gaps. Then, supply the right support to the right person at the right time at the speed and scale of a global business.
  2. Applying data to improve measurement practices and, through the application of specialised machine learning, decide how L&D solutions are (or are not) affecting targeted business goals.
  3. Translating content in real time into any available language with rapidly increasing accuracy, and writing content faster and at a quality level that is similar to human authors.

AR and VR are not mainstream in learning but can be used for visualisation, immersion, and storytelling. Cost and digital literacy are factors in choosing to use them, and the time involved in prototyping AR and VR is still too long for the needs of many businesses and education providers.

To supply relevant and valuable training solutions to your organisation, you need to search for the most efficient tools to improve performance. Social media tools and new, creative ways to use them can help improve learning engagement and performance.

“L&D can move to a more proactive state with the newer tools now available,” Chad Udell wrote in ‘Shock of the New’. It’s a fun time to be in L&D, and “this new normal offers lots of opportunity to enable real change and improve performance in ways we have only dreamed about.”

About Avado

At Avado, we believe in unlocking potential and changing lives. Learning with us makes real, lasting change happen for individuals, and entire organisations. Through our connected learning experiences in Data, Marketing, People, and Agility, we can help you drive real change.

Going beyond just technical skills, our award-winning programmes help teams find success in an ever-evolving world. With a strong emphasis on the behavioural and mindset shifts needed to embed new capabilities, we’ll work together to develop leaders, teams and individuals through interactive learning experiences.

Ian Turner

Posted July 21, 2021