Learning in the Age of Disruption: Strategy

Learning in the Age of Disruption: Strategy

Over the past years few years, we have witnessed the rise of mobile, cloud and IoT, that have digitally disrupted and affected almost every industry, including the Learning and Development (L&D) sector. Driven by the suddenness of change, and the high expectations set by the learners, the L&D strategy has undergone drastic changes. What was once hinged on human interaction, shifted base to technology-driven learning with no human interaction and is now moving back to a socio-collaborative learning model and how!

Recently Cegos, our partner for Off-The-Shelf eLearning, a worldwide leader in training and development, surveyed L&D and HR professionals across the APAC region and published a research report-cum-whitepaper, titled Leading and Managing in the Age of Disruption. As Jeremy Blain, Regional Managing Director at Cegos Asia Pacific, mentioned in his post, the whitepaper discusses about the benefits of training in the face of huge technological changes that organizations witness day in and day out, and categorized it into four areas. In the previous posts, we focused on Technology & Innovation and Human Touch. In this post, we delve on the influence of “Strategy” in learning in the age of disruption.


As stated in the Cegos whitepaper, “Good planning and clear communication, along with flexibility and agility, help modern organizations stay ahead of the game in an increasingly complex world.”'Strategy' plays a crucial role in the age of digital disruption. 'Strategy' is the key to devising strategic tools, concepts and perspectives in order to develop a strategic response and for a strategic execution. 'Strategy' helps organizations to stay ahead in the game, face the digital challenges and turn them into opportunities, and to leverage them for competitive advantage and enhanced performance. Where does training fit in this? Training provides the base, the readiness to face such challenges. But do organizations strategize well?

Let’s take a look at what the stats say. “30% respondents say their organization does not have a clear strategy in place, 15% of respondents say that strategy is followed only to some extent, so more must be done to communicate and implement strategy effectively. Australia stays ahead with 40% of the respondents reporting a strong, collaborative mindset amongst management; the best performer in the Cegos survey, but still with a significant percentage responding that this needs to improve.” The figures are slightly alarming and as the experts at Cegos state, “in order to achieve success, managers must ensure that well defined strategies are in place, and communicate them clearly to the workforce. The top-down approach no longer works effectively, so bigger organizations need to make their structure more collaborative. Managers throughout the APAC region should take action to empower their staff. This can have a positive impact on strategic thinking as well as the bottom line.”

Overall, over 75% of all respondents state their company needs to do better when it comes to adapting to and managing sudden change. Basically, organizations must ensure that there is a clear strategy in place to deal with unexpected events or unpredictable environments. Here are a few ideas for strategy implementation for learning in the age of disruption, as shared by thought leaders.

1. Set up online forums or organize ‘town hall’ meetings to get ideas rolling in.

An idea emphasized even in the last post. Discussions, sharing, recognitions are aspects that fuel human touch in an organization, and the learning strategy should definitely take shape from here. L&D professionals should aim to utilize the features of LMSs (Learning management Systems) to the best. The Collaborative and Social Learning options are undeniably the best ways to trigger and channel ideas. Discussion boards, file sharing, virtual chats, blogs and wikis enable learners to collaborate and share ideas.

As stated, “This is a far more inclusive approach that creates more parity within your organization, rather than reinforcing traditional hierarchies and precedents.”

2. Ensure strategy is purpose driven and consistent by sharing with people across the organization.

This includes all the aspects discussed in the post about the influence of Technology and Innovation on learning in the age of disruption. LMSs can be used as centralized portals to channel communication, device strategies etc.

3. Incorporate a culture of risk-taking, give your people space to come up with some truly inspired ideas.

LMSs that allow learners to upload and share user-generated content, assist greatly in creating this kind of atmosphere. Idea generation becomes easier when many heads work together, and through open discussions. LMSs can act as the portal for such discussions, occasionally guided by experts/trainers to find the right solutions/answers.

4. Create strategies that are enjoyable to implement, even playful.

Many LMSs offer the option to include game mechanics to add in the element of engagement and to set self-paced learning in motion. LMSs can also add in the element of competition among the learners. Awards and badges can be given to the learners for task completion of completion of course, assignments etc. Plug-ins for providing certifications is an additional plus. Such elements often tend to inspire the learners.

5. Link Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to strategy, and use factors such as Big Data and analytics to inform actions.

The latest LMSs provide with most accurate and in-depth Reporting and Analysis. Learner progress rates, course completion rates, learner participation and engagement, online assessment results, course overview reports, time logs, learner surveys, feedbacks, certification tracking and many forms of reports can be generated using LMSs. This data can be used to identify the potential pitfalls in the learning strategies and shared with the experts in the organization to develop new training models and improve performance.

Disruptions do not occur overnight and very often there are usually signs that precede the changes. In order to stay ahead of the game, organizations must keep a close watch on the changes in the market and technology and also keep the employees up-to-speed about those. A robust training program makes this easier. With Learning 3.0 in picture, learning and training now take place in a new collective environment and organizations need to incorporate it more prevalently in the learning strategy.