Continual learning is an ecosystem

By Alasdair Munn for Box News

It’s fair to say that most of us understand that the nature of work is changing. AI and automation are heralding a new dawn in the way we work. The ability to be adaptive, ask the right questions, and to apply critical thinking is becoming just as important as the sum of the knowledge we hold in our brains.

The way we are learning needs to change

Although we say things like ‘learning is a lifelong pursuit”, the way we structure workplace learning is reactive. As jobs are continually evolving, we need to adapt, re-skill and up-skill all the time. 

Applied learning throughout our careers is becoming essential. And, as we begin to implement human plus machine, where we focus more on what it is to be human at work, personalised learning journeys become essential.

Learning is a team sport

Yet learning is not an individual responsibility, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Companies are understanding more and more their investment in training has to translate into directed learning.

It makes sense to recruit people who have the right aptitudes towards adaptation, communication and learning and then skill them towards companies’ changing needs. We hear a lot from companies who say ‘Our people make us who we are’. But, much of recruitment is still centred on skills before people and then spending resources to make those people ‘our people’.

This may have made sense in an environment of slow or static change, but as the nature of work evolves, this recruitment strategy will become less effective.

Training as an ecosystem

Training can no longer be an added layer, brought in to fix a broken system. Learning, up-skilling, re-skilling and empowering employees has to be part of an extended ecosystem. It needs to be embedded into and informed by the entire organisation.

When we talk about personalised learning journeys, we don’t mean people in a vacuum; we mean the individual AND the organisation.

‘Personalised learning’ means specific to the needs, learning preferences, skills, gaps, competencies of the individual. We think of this in relation to the learning outcomes and objectives that have been identified by the organisation.

Seeing learning differently

This is an approach that we at Box Media take towards developing our workplace content and the environment in which it lives. As capabilities grow and we leave behind legacy systems, we will see the relationship between content, individual, purpose, objectives and skill development grow closer together. 

This approach extends beyond the immediate employee-employer relationship. Imagine a world where you can apply this to your recruitment strategy. A genuine focus on people can attract the right people for your business and allow them to develop the attributes your business needs before they start day one. 

We love what Workbay are doing as an example of creating connected ecosystems in recruitment.

It is an exciting time. Change brings disruption, but disruption allows us the opportunity to focus on getting the fundamentals right as we apply the inevitable new processes to our businesses.