The Transformation Of Learning And Development: Definitely More Than Meets The Eye

The Transformation Of Learning And Development: Definitely More Than Meets The Eye
Eugenio Marongiu/
Summary: Sometimes we won’t know something has transformed until the change has happened – the same is true of L&D. Let’s see why.

Exploring The Transformation Of Learning And Development

At Kineo, we’re not really into fads. If something seems to be the next big thing—a buzzword or trend within the L&D industry—we like to pick it up, give it a good shake, and explore under the surface to find out what’s really going on. And that’s what we did with ‘digital transformation’ last year.

Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal
Check the insight, real-life stories, challenges, and successes collected from interviews and a survey with 200 L&D leaders across the globe.

In our guide, Time to Transform, we concluded that we won’t know something has transformed until the change has happened and is well embedded. Think of how ingrained mobile phones are into everyday life, for instance.

The same is true of Learning and Development – we’re already transforming. The interviews for the Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal report returned again and again to a ‘shift in mindset’ – those responsible for workplace learning have realized that, in the words of one interviewee, “if you don’t keep up, you’ll be obsolete”.

And that’s not just the responsibility of the L&D team. Whole businesses are looking to develop a more agile, future-focused culture that will be ready for changes as they arise.

What The World Expects

The end consumers in the chain of what we all do—our customers’ customers—don’t live and breathe L&D. In fact they may not even know what L&D stands for. How we train our front-line staff is not their concern – they just want to receive good service every time they interact, whether it’s in retail, hospitality, finance, or any other sector. And their expectations of what good service means are, of course, shaped by digital transformation. We now expect instant information, rapid solutions to our problems, touch-screens at our shops, restaurants, and banks… and those needs have opened up a bunch of new skill-sets.

Take the world of banking as an example: we’re used to a paperless system, apps, and instant cash withdrawal. We expect the staff we deal with in a branch, online or on the phone to be au fait with the latest technology a bank has at its command. Our task in L&D is to up-skill those employees who’ll be using new technology so that the end experience for a customer is seamless.

In one interview we discussed the challenge of training front-line restaurant staff to take orders using a tablet or mobile phone rather than the traditional writing pad. There’s the obvious issue of learning your way around the functionality and becoming familiar with which button is where. But there’s also more of a behavioral side to consider – how do you maintain a good, natural relationship with your customers when you’re looking down at a new device? Similarly, how do you transfer the good customer service skills you’ve developed from a phone call to an online chat box, for instance?

And transformation is never complete, of course: it really isn’t a given that your employees are all tech-savvy and will navigate your new solutions with ease. One interviewee described a high level of support inquiries relating to learners’ lack of technical knowledge – downloading an eBook to their device, for instance. It could be that using an app or a new device in itself is the challenge. Learning must cater for this too, rather than getting swept away in admiration of the new.

Some interviewees suggested approaching these challenges in two ways: make the training as much like real life as possible, and back it up with on-the-spot resources.

So – a systems training simulation on a tablet with a clearly-marked screenshot to access if you forget what to do when the time arises. Or an interactive video that simulates an online chat situation. Immersive plus just-in-time – what learning blend could be more digitally-transformed than that?