Answer This: Is Your Learning Future-Ready?

Learning Value Is Your Learning Future-Ready
Summary: Even though this moment in world history will be common to everyone, you must ask how will your professional story, or history, turn out? How will you demonstrate learning value in the new world when this is over?

Do You Recognize The Opportunity That Awaits You?

After all is said and done, our world will change significantly and, most probably, for the better. What many don't truly appreciate is that every person in the world shares this rare, but unfortunate, experience. This moment will be historically documented and shared with generations to come. Even though this moment in world history will be common to everyone, you must ask how will your professional story, or history, turn out? How will you demonstrate learning value in the new world when this is over?

If you honestly believe everything will return to the way things were, then you're living in an alternate reality and you will find yourself irrelevant. The questions to answer are: Are you ready to help others face what's to come? Are you ready to help mitigate possible unforeseen events for your organization?

One question looks to the future; the other reflects on the past to adapt for the future. Each experience is unique, and no one can provide you with precise answers. Also, don't expect to find precise answers in this article. While it'll act as a guide, you're going to have to dig deep and take inventory of your and your organization’s reality.

What value will you bring to embrace and adapt to change? This is what learning is fundamentally about.

What Does The Future Hold?

Face it, it's not whether things will change, it's how much it will change post COVID-19. It's safe to say every industry will experience some adverse impacts and very few positive ones. To discover the business impact all you need to do is Google "industries affected by COVID-19."

What people are asking: What exactly is the "new normal"? No one can accurately predict what a post COIVD world will look like, however, there are obvious clues for how it will affect learning.

First, and no surprise, business leaders are desperately seeking valid information and knowledge. Guess what? Those holding roles in learning are being tapped to support this essential need. Gathering, validating, and transmitting knowledge is what your leaders expect from you. You are at the top of their priority list right alongside crisis and change management requirements.

eLearning Is Now Front And Center

Expect this to continue and significantly increase in a post COVID-19 world. Psychologists claim it takes between 20 to 60 days to form a new habit. Most employees have been working remotely for more than 20 days and are settling into the COIVD-19 work reality. They are using virtual conferencing tools, even socially, to communicate with others. Their information and learning are coming through their computers and the internet. This will grow in our collective new normal.

Remote Working Will Become Commonplace

Companies are beginning to accept employees working at a distance and are starting to see benefits. This may take a little longer to take hold only because many companies are tied to long-term office leases. But expect to see a reduction in office space use in the coming months and years. Virtual and temporary offices will become their go-to. This will require learning to become less location-based and static. Fluid and continuous learning will be part of your leaders’ expectations.

Technology Investments Will Grow Exponentially

This will require everyone to become more comfortable with technology and to learn how to incorporate it into every aspect of their work. It will be stressful for many. Leaders must work closely with "technology colleagues" to ensure employee acceptance and comfort with the new "technology" normal.

Speed And Adoption Will Increase

Layers of rules and decision-making will decrease. COVID-19 has shaken out the obstacles to quick action. Leaders are looking to reduce or eliminate unnecessary systems and processes to allow them to respond quickly to unforeseen situations. Leaders are delegating decision-making, trusting and empowering employees to make decisions. All of this requires learning support.

Innovation Will Become The Focus

In times of crisis is when unique ideas rise up. We have sayings like "necessity is the mother of invention" or "there are no stupid ideas." These sayings, however, only ring true in times of dire need. COVID-19 presents obstacles to "business as usual" and requires paradigm-breaking ways of thinking. This forces employees to think differently and to accept new ways of doing things. Learning must support this innovative focus by developing creativity, exploration, and problem-solving.

New Work And Career Opportunities Will Appear

It's easy to focus on the tragic unemployment statistics. It's also sad many people will experience adverse employment outcomes. In a post COIVD world, many will return to their jobs. But the new normal will also create many new employment opportunities in areas and work unimaginable prior to the virus. It'll also teach those returning to their old jobs to reinvent and re-educate themselves when (yes, I said when) this type of crisis occurs again. Again, learning must lead this effort.

The New Normal Is Your Normal

Without being too insensitive, let's all agree to focus on the new normal. In the new normal, expect learning practitioners to become, if not already, the heroes. There are numerous opportunities for learning to step up. It's right under your nose!

Take pride in what you do. You're all central and essential in helping people get through tough situations and helping them solve problems. Realize that your value isn't only in the learning you produce but in how you're able to deploy it effectively to everyone, especially in times of need and crisis.

During this time, I'd like to extend my knowledge and expertise to anyone who requires it without obligation. Should you require support, guidance, counsel, or simply just want someone to lend an ear, please don't hesitate to contact me through Twitter. My handle is BizLearningDude.

Please share your thoughts and feedback with us. We want to hear about your COVID-19 efforts. And who knows, it may be the topic of our next eLearning Industry article. Also, please check out our LinkedIn Learning courses to learn more about developing your business credibility for your learning efforts. Please share your thoughts and remember #alwaysbelearning!

Please social distance, be safe, and stay healthy.