Just add Tech – Include Technology into your Learning Strategy – The key trends that everyone is talking about these days are cloud technology, data analytics and mobile technology. There are many factors pushing towards these trends such as availability and accessibility of mobile phones; the increased mobility of workforce; the increased skills and education of the workforce; the move away from spreadsheets; more HR getting into the strategic role; skills shortages; the need for staff retention, engagement and development and so on.
So what do you need to do now in order not fall behind the competition? Where do you even begin to include technology into your learning strategy?
For a start, we need to look at both the present & future states of your organisation. Where is your organisation at now and where does it want to go in the future? What are its future business goals? Your learning strategy should be aligned to it. You will also need to consider the current and future states of the following:
The first step is to examine your organization’s existing technology infrastructure. To put it plainly, some organizations may not have the technology to offer the most advanced technology. You may know what your organization is capable of, but even if this is the case, you should always get your IT department involved in the planning stages of your learning strategy to avoid any nasty surprises later. For an example in this organisation of about 1,200 employees, it was a rude surprise to find out later after the e-learning programs had been rolled out that Flash updates need to be requested by employees calling into Helpdesk individually! Or you will need to write a business case to have Flash updated for the whole organisation! In another example, training records and e-learning courses need to be sent to the vendor for an initial mass upload but sharing documents through Dropbox or any cloud file hosting service to an external party is against IT policy. In other words, to make your life a little easier, you will need to find out your IT department’s security, infrastructure, IT support levels and availability, business objectives, future directions, etc. that may impact on your learning strategy.
While you’re looking at the organization’s current technology, take the time to also take a realistic look at your employees. The question you want to answer is not whether your employees are ready for technological advances in learning, but rather what kind of technological advances are they ready for.
Depending on the industry, age and nature of the organization, you may find that your audience is already highly technically savvy and may expect the Learning & Developing (L&D) team to provide them with stimulating technological learning interventions. On the other hand, your employees may be resistant to blogging or watching a training course via a synchronous web conference. Either way, your job is to determine just how far you can go.
Policies & Procedures
You will also need to review your current policies and procedures. Are there anything that needs to be changed? How does your management feel about work-life balance, e-learning and m-learning? How are you going to manage when online training needs to be conducted? Will these be during office hours or after office hours? With all these new technologies and mobile phones as well as with everyone and everything accessible 24/7, how are you going to draw the line? Are you going to be like the French and put a legal ruling in place that says employees are to shut off work devices and avoid work emails after going home for the day?
The L&D team & technology
As part of the L&D role, you need to plan, organise, deliver and evaluate the learning & development activities of the organisation. There are several tools and systems available to assist and streamline your L&D processes – from authoring tools to develop your online courses to the different Learning Management System (LMS) to administer, report and evaluate your online programs.
Considering the different delivery methods of training, be it face-to-face, electronic learning (e-learning) and mobile learning (m-learning), does your L&D team have the capability to develop the materials on your own in-house or do you need to outsource this?
You will also need the right LMS to provide a great way to track and report grades, completions and performance metrics. In fact, if your organization is ready for the latest and greatest, can you have a cloud-based LMS so that your learners as well as your team are not restricted by location? Can your LMS collect the key metrics that you need as well as generate meaningful reports? Can your LMS can be a Social Learning Management System (SLMS) that provides for online interaction and social networking or, if you plan to work on rapid development, will a content management system (LCMS) work better for you? Regardless of your choice, make sure it is the right choice for the direction and technology you want to deploy.
You can also consider including technology in classroom courses. For example, blogs, discussion threads, and social networks can be used as both before and after class exercises. Trainers may be able to gain insight in the learners’ knowledge levels both before and after the intervention, as well as learn how well the training affects behavioural change.
Look for opportunities to create online applications for courses, such as quick reference guides, games, short knowledge based modules, testing, podcasts and videos that can be downloaded and viewed after or before class. Methods like blogs or social networking are also great ways to get learners involved and keep them involved. The question is determining how to begin using these applications.
Overall, as you look for ways to integrate technology into the learning strategy, you will also be able to create a culture that is open to technology and at the same time, help the organisation stay competitive as well as retain and engage with your people.
Article republished from LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140803125130-5398941-just-add-tech-include-technology-into-your-learning-strategy?trk=prof-post
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