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How will Performance and Learning look and feel like in the Digital Age

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

by Institute for Performance and Learning Research Committee chaired by Dr. Robin Yap. Committee members include Laurie Jeppesen, Leena Malik, Jen Rosenthal, and Dr. Jasjit Sangha

The upcoming Institute for Performance and Learning Research Committee (I4PL) conference will showcase speakers on three broad tracks - Assessment and ROI, the 3Ds (Design, Development and Delivery), and PDs (Performance Development). The first track has eight sessions on assessment and ROI starting from a discussion on open badges, IOT, analytics and case studies to productivity, and a view on data. The McNamara fallacy of "if you can’t measure it then it doesn’t exist" comes to mind when looking at assessment models and ROI. The learned learning professional is always on the lookout for multiple variables that affect impact analysis. We encourage you to be that professional in these sessions.

Whether you are designing learning assets, developing training programs or delivering them,learner engagement is key. Engaging learners can be done many ways, using a variety of methods and media, virtually or in-person. Regardless of how your training is delivered, it is essential to ensure you employ sound adult education practices and principles and address the unique needs of your learners. Engaging educational experiences involve the active participation of, and interaction between learners whether they are face-to-face or communicating virtually.

With 12 sessions in the 3D tracks of design, development and delivery, it is noted that much thought has been put into how we engage audiences through educational experiences. It is important to not only focus on the desired organizational outcomes, but to keep the learners, central in your mind throughout training program lifecycle. Effective and engaging training and professional development should be learner-centred. This includes developing learning outcomes that relevant, timely, and applicable to learners roles at work (remember what we would have learned in the ROI tracks).

Decisions made about the design, development and delivery should always be based on the best interests and needs of the intended learners. Saving time and money should not be the only consideration. There are many cost-effective, time-saving learning solutions that do not bring about a positive return on investment because they are not well-suited for the intended learners. It is important to take the time to engage with your potential learners and get a better sense of who they are and what they are about - beyond their job descriptions.

Learning and development professionals around the world have used technology and innovation to create engaging, immersive learning experiences. Some have used old technology in innovative new ways or combined new technology with established training practices. We can find inspiration and ideas by engaging with our fellow learning and development professionals and looking at what they have done. Try to learn from their failures as much as from their successes. It is easy to be dazzled by slick and impressive-looking learning resources and technology. We can be impressed by the creativity and uniqueness of a particular learning approach. However, it is important to take the time to find out why they chose that approach or chose certain technologies over others, and why these decisions worked for them. Taking an intentional approach involves asking key questions before you choose which technology to use. Would similar approaches be suitable for your organization? Do their learners have similarities to the learners you work with? Is it feasible for your organization to adopt and use the same technology? The answers to these questions might help you discover an approach to learning and development that would be a good fit for your organization.

As we move further into the digital age, we can no longer think of learning professional development in isolation. Further, we need to expand L&D professional development beyond the traditional buckets of assessment, design, delivery and evaluation.

The digital age is predicted to shift the way we work, the value of humans in work and the functions they perform, plus the skills needed to thrive in a digital world. To be skilled for the digital age, it will be ever more important look at L&D through a systems lens. There are 14 sessions in the professional development track where you can learn more about your own skills and the changing learning landscape. At the systems-level, there is a complex, interconnected web will drive change. Consider the following factors:

  • What shifts are taking place politically, environmentally, globally, culturally, nationally, and locally and where is digitization playing a role?

  • What does it mean to be a leader in a digital world, and what leadership competencies are needed to guide people in a fluid environment?

  • What skills do people need to not only survive but thrive in the digital age?

  • What skills do L&D professionals need beyond just digital fluency and literacy?

  • How can L&D professionals be the bridge that enables the workforce in the future?

This is a big challenge to wrap our arms around – where do we start? To help others be successful in the digital age, we can start from the inside out; by gaining a deep understanding of the future of work and by shifting the L&D function to meet new system and organizational realities. L&D professionals can also grow themselves and help others best by developing the skills our learners will need. Finally, the digital age will demand new L&D specific skills. The faster we keep up and continuously learn needed skills, the greater the impact we can make on developing the workforce of the future.

Have a great 2018 conference and tell us all about it.

Find our more about our I4PL Research Committee Members below:

Laurie Jeppesen, PwC Global Assurance Learning & Educ. Leader

Leena Malik Mastercard Foundation Senior Manager, Learning and Organizational Development Consultant

Jen Rosenthal, The Train Station/Transformation Design, International Learning and Development Consultant

Dr. Jasjit Sangha, Faculty Liaison, Center for Teaching Support and Innovation, University of Toronto & Online Faculty, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Note Views expressed in all our posts are our own and NOT as representatives of the companies we are associated with.



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