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Embracing the Future of Corporate Learning & Development

Future of Corporate Learning

Organizational learning is witnessing massive transformations. A phenomenal change led by future technologies, shifts in demographics and changing organizational priorities is disrupting the corporate learning environment and creating a constant competitive necessity to upgrade workforce skillsets.

Ness works with some of the largest online education companies and we find that the urgency for organizations to improve and accelerate employee learning and development continues to intensify as new technology advancements and digital transformation creates new demands. Clearly, it is important for HR and business executives to quickly respond to the disruptive changes in the organizational learning space.

Let’s understand some of the key factors driving the demand for change in organizational learning.

  • CEOs and CHROs often complain that companies are not developing skills fast enough. Most organizations also acknowledge that constant learning is essential for engaging employees, attracting and retaining top talent, and developing long- term leadership for the company.
  • Today’s workforce is always-connected. Mobile devices make learning potentially available anytime, anywhere. It can be in the form of an online course, podcast, expert video, and so on. It is a new world of customer-centric learning where employees are taking charge, rather than the learning departments.
  • Learning curve is the new earning curve. Employees are demanding access to dynamic learning opportunities that fulfill their individual needs and fits into their self-directed learning schedules. If the employer fails to provide this, employees will move on. According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report “Almost 70% of the workforce members see learning as the primary driver of employee engagement and employees themselves ‘take charge’ of learning.”

Embracing future learning

It’s time to adopt to a ‘Continuous Learning’ model that enables employees to learn constantly throughout their tenure with the organization. This model helps in building a flexible learning experience for employees through different means, including on the job, training, experiences, communications, etc.

Traditional learning models need to be redefined in a way that it takes learning ‘beyond classrooms’, makes it employee centric and treats it as a companywide responsibility and not just that of the HR organization.

There is a big challenge facing organizations to adopt to this new mind set which advocates the importance of continued talent development in the context of business growth.

The Future of Learning

Learning Today is Learning Tomorrow is
Series of corporate programs An environment and experience-based
Managed by learning management system Feels like a consumer website
Experts push out training Employees pull learning
Focus on internal training Focus on external learning in digital way
Lecture-based Experiential, simulation-based
Skill-based competencies drive learning High level framework to develop capabilities


The above table describes some characteristics of this new mindset and the ways in which learning could reshape the role of L&D in the organization. It’s important for businesses to think from a learner perspective on experience and career aspirations rather than a series of programs which they want to roll out.

Employees need to be viewed as a customer who should be delighted with the learning experience. To provide that experience, HR and business should bring a cultural shift with a design thinking approach using technology. Very importantly, HR teams should be able to align learning to the business need to create transformational outcomes.

Coaching, mentoring, collaborative learning and online learning will be the scope of enhancement in this initiative.

Some key steps for HR teams to integrate learning and work:

  • Provide solutions to business: Technical/human/conceptual learning that matches strategic business goals.
  • Move beyond the course offering: HR needs to understand the business requirement of the skill needed and provide right learning interventions by being more of a performance consulting coach.
  • Evidence-based teaching: Back learning with data showcasing analysis, performance, ROI, regular communication, reporting for greater transparency and effectiveness.

To conclude, in this era of digital learning, organizations and all the stakeholders should gear up for a future learning environment that will be more collaborative, learner-centric and technology-enabled. It will focus on constant and innovative learning models that blend traditional and new mediums seamlessly to offer personalized learning experiences to employees.