5 Ways to Enable a Digital Learning Culture in your Workplace

By Amit Gautam January 30, 2018
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Summary: A (digital) learning culture not only helps organizations in developing employees' skills needed for their business, but also gives them a competitive advantage to engage, develop, and retain the workforce. Here are a few ways that could help you in adopting a digital learning culture in your workplace.

Today's employees are a busy lot. Period.  finds that 'employees have about 20 minutes a week they can devote to learning. And even that time is not undivided, since interruptions are common and attention spans are at an all time low.

Of course, this in no way undervalues the need for training, either for knowledge enhancement or productivity improvement. So while classroom training is great, it is not always a feasible option (logistically as well as monetarily) for small companies with tiny pockets or enterprise-scale ones with operations and employees spread across the globe. Furthermore, employees may not always retain what they learned in these sessions later at the actual time of need. Most importantly, this one-time-training may not solve the purpose of learners' learning demands (just-in-time of need) and take the place of on-the-job training.

The point then is, as a human resources professional whether partaking in learning and development initiatives or not, how can you get your employees to invest time in learning with a certain amount of alacrity and make them stay engaged in the whole process? Tough, but not impossible.

The best way would be to provide learning in bite-sized nuggets using methods and modes that are available WWW - When it is needed, Where it is needed, while providing What is needed. This is not restricted to the formal training approaches alone, but goes over and beyond them to encompass social, mobile, and more. In other words, 'digital learning'.

The Digital Learning Culture-Vulture

A digital learning culture is a learning culture focused on collaboration and communication. A large part of it pertains to providing learners with environments that are well equipped with technology and resources designed to address diverse learning needs. The idea is to develop a way of doing things such that the most recurring and popular problems find a solution. Digital learning moves ahead of traditional learning habits and is more feasible, saves time and effort, increases visibility, accessibility, reach-ability, and creates a stronger sense of community.

Currently, the situation is that although there is a digital workplace, employees are looking for more robust Learning Management Systems and better next-generation solutions. In a complex business environment that encompasses  everything from compliance-related training to employee on-boarding to other company-specific programs, it is imperative to re-think the learning strategy of your company and give employees the culture that helps them succeed in their roles. It is about time that you look into developing a digital learning culture rather than just a digital workplace.

Here are a few ways that could help you in adopting a digital learning culture in your organization:

1. Start with yourself: As a HR professional, you can bring in a digital culture in your organization only if you have adapted it yourself. So before you advocate it within the organization, you should start your own learning on digital platforms. Begin by experimenting with the latest learning tools in the market and then go on to ensure that you and your team have adopted the latest trends in digital technology. It maybe a little difficult to change the mindset of those who are used to the more traditional ways of learning. But the idea is for the leadership to embark upon the journey along with teams so that together you can propagate the idea of change within the organization.

2. Encourage inputs from the workforce: While your ideas may be fantastic, they also have to impact the learner, who is your key end-user. Relying on your ideas only for digital transformation may sometimes prove to be a fragile strategy. It may help to crowd source ideas for a digital revolution and the easiest way to spread the message is to make digital platforms the conduit. Encouraging random ideas is a good option to begin with. You can check later what 'can be' worked upon and what can't for a digital culture.

3. Let the Millennials mentor GenXs: Your workforce is now a combination of Millennials (born between 1980-2000) and GenXs (born between 1965-1979) in a ratio of 60:40. The former may be a little more adept to the digital culture by virtue of being born in an era when digitization had started making its presence felt in some way or the other. While looking at developing a digital learning culture, it would help if the Millennials are encouraged to reverse mentor the GenXs on digital spaces to ensure everyone is on the same page. In fact, with the GenZs (born between 2001-2010) too getting ready to take over the future, the move makes more sense now than ever. 

4. Encourage Blended Learning methods: While digital learning is the need of the hour, the importance of classroom learning can never be undermined. It is therefore significant that change in learning patterns is brought in through a Blended Learning approach that combines traditional instructor-led training and virtual learning. A blended approach would help facilitate the digital transition slowly and at a pace that is comfortable for everyone.

5. Be ready to experiment with digital products: You can develop a digital mindset if you are ready to tinker with some digital products and services, sometimes even hitherto unknown. A good move would be to explore a lesser-known digital product or service and share its usability with others to make value additions to the learning experiences of the organization as a whole.

Creating a digitally-enabled, learner-centric culture is in many ways central to delivering learning in a more efficient and effective manner. Such a culture not only helps develop the skills needed for the business, but will also give you a competitive edge to engage, develop, and retain your workforce.

About the author: Amit is the Founder & Director of Technology Solutions – Upside LMS.

An eLearning professional with 17+ years of experience in the eLearning domain, Amit co-founded Upside Learning in 2004 with an aim to provide effective eLearning solutions to the global community. An aspiration that has won the company many awards and recognition as the number of clients.

Amit has played a key role in bringing an innovative approach to the traditional Learning Management System (LMS) and has been instrumental in putting UpsideLMS on the global map. He leads the Technology Solutions team, orchestrates the Sales & Marketing operations while acting as a consultant to clients, enabling them to make the LMS initiative a grand success.

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