In 2016 the theme of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos was ‘Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
This latest revolution is being driven primarily by the rapid advance of digital technology. It’s already having an impact, changing the nature of work and requiring employees to be increasingly flexible. A report to the Forum concluded that over a third of skills that we regard as important today will have changed in just four years. By that reckoning we’re working in a time of almighty upheaval.
The WEF also concluded that certain soft, business skills would not only remain, but would also play a more important role in the future. ‘Overall, social skills – such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others – will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.‘
Even, or especially, in a world of rapid change some core skills remain vitally important. To support and enhance those skills, you need Skills Training. And training, like the work landscape it covers, needs to adapt and respond to changing requirements. Above all, training needs to be flexible and accessible if it’s to keep pace with disruption and change.
Changing the training landscape
Much has been made of the potential impact of new technology on job roles, particularly with the prospect of greater automation and the advance of Artificial Intelligence. But along with the gloomy predictions of human redundancy and the loss of jobs, there is another, more positive aspect of technology that merits attention: the advantages offered by digital technology to improve training and support and develop business skills.
Let’s consider the WEF’s conclusion more carefully. The emphasis it places on the social skills – persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching – are not as unfamiliar to modern workers as we may fear. Consider, for example, the way we engage with Social Media. How we communicate and interact with each other today depends a lot on new technology, but the way we use that technology can enhance the very skill sets we’re told we need – the social bit of Social Media. The challenge is how we channel that social and collaborative way of accessing information and engaging with others into the skills training in the workplace.
What are the skills we need?
As we’ve seen, it’s hard to predict the technical skills a person needs when technology is moving so fast. But we can change the way we approach skills training so that we can better meet future demands.
We need to understand the distinction between the content (what we need to teach) and the method (the way we present and deliver that training). If training is to be as flexible and accessible to meet the demands of organisations and employees, we need to teach and support people to learn what they need to learn. This is really meta-training: teaching learners how, rather than what, to learn. Although by making use of digital technology in our training, while making learning easier and more accessible (the method), we can also make it easier to supply what we need to teach (the content), closing the circle.
The limits of training
It’s difficult for L&D within organisations to develop their own training fast enough to keep pace with changing job roles, responsibilities and work practices. With the increasing demands on employees’ time and the constant drive for better productivity, it’s harder to justify taking employees away from their work to sit through training sessions, whether in a classroom or via a LMS.
Then there’s the sheer range of business skills that a modern workforce requires. The need for rapid upskilling in a turbulent environment where employees transfer frequently into and out of job roles and into and out of organisations presents a real problem for those responsible for training. And let’s not to forget training’s other persistent challenge: making it memorable and effective.
The benefits of Business Training Catalogues
One way to meet the increased demand for training and the need for it to have an impact is to look to digital technology. E-learning offers ease of access and the facility to add and customise content for your organisation’s needs. Buying in industry-approved content in the form of Training Catalogues delivers a ready-made solution.
Business Skill Catalogues cover not only areas of personal development such as Decision-Making, Presentational Skills, Leadership, Team Building and Continuing Professional Development (CPD), but also key business activities like Finance, Project Management, Marketing, and Innovation – disciplines that are still hard to hand over to a machine no matter how much AI it possesses.
The e-learning modules in these Training Catalogues have been designed by learning experts, grounded in proven pedagogy. The modules incorporate social media-like collaborative activities, gamification, simulation, assessment and accreditation. They take advantage of mobile connectivity enabling learners to learn on the go, on the job and just in time.
The multimedia approach, including graphics, audio, animation and video, helps engage learners and assessment in the form of role-plays or quick tests aids motivation.
Gamification actively engages learners in the training. Treating learning as a game makes training more active and replaces the passive lecture or page-turning format of traditional courses. Timed activities encourage learners to work against the clock reproducing the kind of pressure they may find themselves in a real-life experience.
Skills Training Catalogues use story-based learning and scenarios to demonstrate how what you’re learning can be applied directly to the job you do. Scenarios can be adapted to make training more personally relevant. Realistic photography helps situate learning in a recognisable, credible working environment. Videos and animations make learning more visually engaging and memorable and improve retention of learning.
Training Catalogues can be industry-certified which means you leverage global experience and expertise from experts in their fields. But the modules with the Catalogues can also be customised so you can introduce your own content and context. Adaptable e-learning delivers the best of both worlds: industry-standard content with special relevance to your organisation’s training needs. Finally, Catalogues are regularly updated as the need for new training grows to bridge gaps in performance.
With employees under increasing pressure to perform and organisations concerned about training costing in terms of productivity, the increase access offered by e-learning becomes more attractive. Making training accessible on mobile devices enhances its accessibility. E-learning offers flexibility too in that it can be parcelled into chunks and re-used. It facilitates microlearning where employees access small nuggets of training or support resources as and when they need them. This just-in-time access brings learning into the workflow. It mimics the way employees access information outside the workplace: using mobile devices to tap into a world of information and pull what they need when they need it.
You can also adapt your training catalogues to make them easier for employees. Repurposing modules’ content to create a library of resources means learners can update or refresh their skills when they need to without having to sit through an entire module. This approach recognises the different needs of your employees. Some will require more information than others. It’s a way of personalising learning.
Stability in a time of disruption
In a rapidly changing working environment where Business Skills are more critical than ever, Skills Training Catalogues offer a flexible solution that allow training to keep pace with change. They’re updatable and customisable. They’re accessible across a range of platforms, devices and locations. Instead of taking employees away from the work, digital content can be embedded where it’s needed, in the workflow. E-learning modules meet the need to upskill regularly bridging gaps in skills and performance. They help employees maintain their CPD.
But it’s not just the range of content that they cover, it’s also (and perhaps most critically) the breadth of access they offer that makes Skills Training Catalogues the ideal training vehicle in the race to keep up with the rapidly-changing demands of modern work. Business Skills Training Catalogues turn a potential cost to productivity into tangible gains with more effective and efficient training and produce multi-skilled people capable of responding to change.