The long and winding road to Digital Learning


Recent events have increased curiosity about digital learning. Suddenly, many people are working remotely, which presents challenges to deliver “traditional training,” let alone drive to do upskilling and reskilling. Additionally, we have a new, even more modern workforce with different expectations. While the quarantines might not last for long, the drive to move to a more digital, more modern learning environment will continue. Consider this a wake-up call to move your organization to digital learning.

Why Digital Learning?

Even before the work from home push, companies were seeing a need to move from an Instructor Led course environment to an on demand, democratized one. The pace of change, the demands of knowledge and the digital transformation of business all drive us to make more decisions, know more, and act faster than ever before. People neither have the time nor the patience for courses.

And with the technology available today, they do not need to wait months to participate in a class. Look at all the cool stuff we can do on just a phone. We all expect to get quick answers and network easily. There are tools that answer our moment of need, connect easily, social network, watch video, and more on our phones. New libraries exist. New tools to do rapid development. And we can put together an amazing Learning Ecosystem. So, the real question is: why not Digital Learning?

How can a company switch to digital learning?

While the name might suggest that the answer to this question would be to adopt technology, that should not be the first answer. Start by looking at your learning strategy. Look at your organization’s needs, short and long term. What are the key gaps and goals? What are the capabilities that can be developed across the board? Look at your team, not just L&D but your leaders and experts. How can you engage them to create the right ecosystem? What are the programs and communication methods?

While it is good to look at your current content, do not think about converting it all to digital. One question I have seen in the past two weeks is “how do I convert my ILT to virtual?” That is not going to solve the problem and will most likely create sets of bad virtual content. Think about priorities.

For example, in this VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world, there are capabilities that should be developed or redesigned first. My first capability for many companies is to develop resources for an adaptive mindset. This is a set of skills that people really need this week! How to be agile, resilient and ready to change. Data Analytics is another, as is emotional intelligence. Work with your leadership to develop the right resources for your gaps. Moving to digital does not mean having all the answers on day one.

Once you have worked on that strategy, preferably with a consultant who has done this before, then you can evaluate the technology that you really need in your ecosystem. Set up what are your goals, and of course, your budget. Most prioritize making it easy for employees to find what they need quickly. That is where technology helps. In an article last fall, Red Thread Research1 outlined a learning technology framework and suggested a three-level framework that included various learning and non-learning tools. As that reports shows, there are many solutions available. Again, this is where an expert like WillLearn can help.

What are the key concepts to look at for Digital Learning?

  • Technology is a tool

  • Strategy is the key

  • Think capabilities

  • Know moments of need

  • Mindset matters

  • Blend content

  • Engage champions

Implementing a new platform

I have seen companies implement a new platform and focus on the features and functions of that platform first and foremost. Unfortunately, that does not work. There are so many elements above and before the tech that actually dictate the success of the strategy. People, gaps, engagement, analytics, marketing, curation, champions, sponsorship, design and more.

Before you look at a platform, before you add in new tech, set your strategy. Start with the end in mind and design a solution that meets your needs. Then you can work towards your culture of learning and create a future workforce.

Talk to WillLearn about how to unlock success. Our experience spans design, implementation, success and a view to no success that will help you to create the right ecosystem for your company.

1 https://redthreadresearch.com/2019/10/15/lte-short-article/

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