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Continual Learning is an Ecosystem

 

By now we all understand the nature of work is changing. AI and automation are heralding a new dawn in the way we work. We are heading towards a reality where the ability to be adaptive, ask the right questions and to apply critical thinking will be just as important as the sum of the knowledge we hold in our brains

Although we say things like ‘learning is a lifelong pursuit”, the way we structure workplace learning is reactive.  As jobs are constantly changing, we need to adapt, reskill and upskill all the time. Applied learning throughout our careers is becoming essential. And, as we apply human plus machine, where we focus more on what it is to be human at work, personalised learning journeys become essential

Yet learning is not an individual responsibility and it does not 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’, yet 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 can no longer be an added layer, brought in to fix a broken system.  Learning, upskilling, reskilling 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 does not mean separate from, it means specific to the needs, learning preferences, skills, gaps, competencies of the individual in relation to the learning outcomes and objectives that have been identified by the organisation.

This is an approach that we at Boxspring 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 true people focus 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.

Author: Alasdair Munn