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The Learning Ecosystem’s Evolving – Here Are Three Things to Consider

By Susan Hanold, Vice President, Strategic Advisory Services – Talent Management at ADP

More than 300 chief learning officers and HR leaders recently descended on Dallas to attend the fourth annual Corporate Learning Week Conference, where leading practitioners shared inspirational stories of learning and development (L&D) leadership, innovation, growth and transformation, and best practices.

As moderator and panel participant of the session “The Transformed Learning Ecosystem”, the discussion revolved around how to keep pace with the speed of organizational change and ways to develop L&D initiatives in the age of digital disruption and new learning expectations.

ADP's Susan Hanold moderated the panel

ADP’s Susan Hanold moderated the panel “The Transformed Learning Ecosystem,” at the Corporate Learning Week Conference

Below are some of the key questions we addressed:

  • How do I deal with information overload? With infinite information available online and the ability to search online for virtually anything today, it’s becoming harder and harder to determine content that is relevant to employees and ways to measure that. As such, there’s been a large-scale shift to L&D leaders becoming ‘content curators.’ It’s up to learning leaders to develop a strategy to curate content, determine which content should be aggregated, and then how best to deliver it to employees in the most usable way. Many leaders said they often feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with the vast amount of learning content. In order to get a better handle on determining what’s most relevant, they are narrowing their focus, allowing them to be more effective in a smaller number of key learning areas.
  • With the talent ecosystem constantly changing and so many new learning vendors on the market, how do you narrow down the training solutions? In the past, you looked at the two biggest vendors out there. But today, there are so many small startups it’s tough to keep up with “who’s on first.” When clients ask me for suggestions on training vendors and content resources, I let them know about the ADP Marketplace, a cloud-based app store designed to help employers dynamically manage an ecosystem of enterprise applications. That way they can see the content resources that integrate into ADP’s enterprise applications, including those that may be from competitors.
  • How do you build new learner experiences to be intuitive, “consumer oriented” and an integrated part of an employee’s daily life? This really goes to the importance of supporting the desire for self-directed learning, including online video, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and user-generated content. To do this successfully, companies need to create cultures where employees are self-driven to learn and do not wait for HR to train and develop them. Training leaders have to balance required content while promoting self-driven content. The panel leaders all agreed that they are less concerned about the shift from traditional methods of putting together a development course to now allowing subject-matter experts and employees to create their own learning content and videos. Leadership development still has to keep a close eye on quality to ensure solid instructional design and methodology, but they are less opposed to employees teaching other employees through self-created content. Each panelist had a different manner in which they were setting up their L&D team and infrastructure to support these approaches. However, they were consistent in their belief that the role of the instructional designer is changing. The growing adoption of social tools is transforming the process for knowledge transfer within a company.

There’s no doubt the large-scale shift to becoming ‘content curators’ is impacting L&D leaders. Those who embrace change, and closely align with their business partners, will help drive innovation.

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