Business transformation demands constant skilling and upgrading. And that can only happen when L&D strategies and systems are redesigned. In a world where traditional learning systems fail, mobile-first, condensed, and targeted L&D elements prosper. In this conversation with ETHRWorld, Kamal Dutta, Co-Founder byteEdge, explains how organizations should shift to intuitive, just-in-time, and just-enough L&D methods using the right tools.
What are the key differences in L&D you see today compared to just a couple of years back?
Undeniably, the pandemic triggered significant changes. And to keep up with the changes, organizations have had to make considerable changes rapidly. Business existence and its success were dependent on how successfully these disruptions were mitigated through change. Learning and change go hand in hand. We cannot change without knowing how to do so. As such, L&D professionals’ role is to effectively prepare the workforce for upcoming changes and challenges. There were many shifts, but let me talk about the top 5 here:
- More Digital & More Upskilling: As per published reports, 90% of surveyed executives reported are currently experiencing skill gaps or anticipating one. The pace of Automation, digital transformation, and changes in our working environments have accelerated the need to upskill and reskill. Research conducted with Fortune 500 CEOs establishes that 75% of long-term job success depends on people skills. In contrast, only 25% depend on technical knowledge. The rising awareness of soft skills and their role in organizational success has led many companies to focus on improving them and is becoming key to organizational L&D efforts. Hard skills are relatively easy to learn – soft skills are more difficult.
- Learning Agility: Time is the biggest challenge for learning adoption. Modern learners are short on attention spans and even shorter on time to spend on learning. For organizations, time to market matters. For IT companies, it is all about skilling to billing. As such, the speed of learning became critical at individual and organizational levels. L&D needs to adapt to just-in-time learning and learning-just-enough models to get the job done. With users lacking time to learn, these models will be a big factor in L&D’s success in any organization. Speed of learning will be a measurable and impactful KPI.
- Microlearning: On average, employees devote just 4.8 minutes to their development per day, as per global studies. Microlearning, while not new, has seen huge interest and growth to enable anytime-anywhere learning. Further, there is a 20% improved retention as compared to longer formal training. Microlearning delivers learning material in bite-sized pieces and in between breaks, enhancing retention and assimilation.
- Social Learning and Rise of Creator Economy: Humans are social animals, and it is no surprise that they prefer learning in communities. If you believe the 70:20:10 model, then only 10% of our learning happens in a formal learning environment. This is not new. But the pandemic isolated us. So, the focus now is on exploring newer ways, including social learning, for informal learning. Social learning helps improve learner engagement. The completion rates in e-learning are in single digits, and we have seen lower engagement levels in most e-learning outcomes. This is a big problem. Social learning is seen as an approach and a means to engage the workforce. Social learning is one of the L&D trends that we need to keep an eye on. In this context, Web 3.0 and ability grouping are themes we are working on. There is Donald H Taylor’s research from 2021 on rising trends that shows the importance of social learning. As a result, social learning is forecasted to become a vital part of the e-Learning industry in the future.
- Mobile Learning: What we learn and how we learn has changed. Mobiles have become a key platform for media and learning consumption. Traditional long and unengaging seminars and training days are a thing of the past for this mobile-first generation. L&D will have to take a hard look and make this shift quickly as learning happens at the point of accessibility that fits into the flow of work and our daily lives. The fact is, an overwhelming number of employees would prefer to continue WFH, at least in some capacity. As a result, there is a great demand for more flexible, hybrid training that can fit in. Having an immersive rich media experience on a mobile may well be the future of e-learning.
Now, clearly, some of these have been discussed for decades, and some are emerging now. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the learning and development landscape is now rapidly evolving & changing, and the opportunity to move to fresher approaches and the need to do so urgently is more than ever before.
Any glimpse into the future trends?
I think that the future is going to be a very interesting and different world, in a fun way. We predict that the future will be more VR, Meta, and gamified than ever before. What the future holds are more Community and Social Learning, ability groups for real-time and on-demand learning, real-time feedback, and more focus on wellness, environment, and sustainability. Experiences with simulations and Meta will take L&D into a completely different world not imagined before.
How is byteEDGE making a difference in this changing paradigm of L&D?
We have seen what cutting-edge neuroscience discovered about the cognitive brain to learn, upskill and re-skill the modern global workforce. That’s why our solutions are purpose-built for brain elements like curiosity, attention, engagement, and rewarding the users. We start with inspiring and igniting curiosity and extend that to learning communities for social learning.
- Engineering Curiosity is the foundation of the byteEDGE approach, curiosity being at the heart of every human learning. byteEDGE engineers the curiosity of the learner with byte-reels of teasers like video bytes. These fast-paced knowledge nuggets are designed to ignite the curiosity of learners to discover and learn new skills. byteEDGE bytes are at the intersection of education and entertainment – they call it a new “Edutainment” segment.
- Extending Microlearning to Just-in-time and Just-enough-learning to get the job done. Continuing with the theme of time and speed learning, the module of each course is a sharp & crisp three-minute video with rich, engaging media, instructional designed for learner attention and for anywhere-anytime learning. Whether it is a behavioral skill or a fit-for-purpose domain skill, or a role base journey, the courses are a significant departure from the traditional instructor-led training to adapt to modern consumption trends. Completion of a course is rewarded with blockchain-based perpetual digital badges and certificates.
- Designed for Social and User-Generated Content: Continuous learning with peers & experts in byteEDGE’s revolutionary Web3.0-based community social groups based on abilities, with user-generated videos for the new-age creator economy. byteEDGE Community also gives practitioners an opportunity to build a reputation by sharing practical insights, and experiences, answering questions, and clarifying doubts. Employees prefer to learn from their peers, and here is the opportunity to build one’s reputation and shine as an employee and gauge learner engagement. Finally, it is well understood that without learning reinforcement behavior, modifications do not happen. So, just doing a course is not enough – continued learning reinforcement in ability groups will be a key driver to business outcomes.
- Pathbreaking Multi-Lingual and Multi-Regional Deployable model with byteEDGE fit-for-purpose courses. Being available in 75 global languages helps drive enterprise-wide adoption, including blue and grey collars. The blue and grey-collar workforce, who do not have any go-to learning platform yet, also benefit deeply from byteEDGE’s strong focus on domain/job skills to fill up the huge upskilling/reskilling gap.
As per studies, globally, by 2025, 85 million jobs are expected to be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines. 97 million new roles may emerge. These changes will disrupt the job market. Companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require re-skilling of six months or less. India is specifically faced with the upskilling need of its more than 40 crore blue collared workers population, and we believe it is a huge opportunity for us.
How does your platform identify and embed the right L&D content according to your user’s needs? Also, how does it cater to the domain-specific needs of learners?
Content is the king of learner experience and online learning. byteEDGE is one of the few Edtech players focused on creating unique instructional design framework-based content with AI and the latest technologies. We have a strong research team, including global L&D leaders, to ensure our content is second to none. But our real edge is content design, with a singular focus on the speed of learning, learner attention, and learner engagement, which are critical to success in today’s modern generation workforce. Why not take a course on our platform and experience the difference?
At byteEDGE for domain content, we look at content on our platform in three unique ways. First is how we can create domain and custom content at the lowest cost in the industry because of the use latest in-house AI tools and technology. Second is modernizing legacy content, which we can do for specific customer needs, along with hosting such content on our servers. And the third part is the user-generated content, which is the federated, democratized way of generating content for the creator economy for social and peer learning.
Creating, modernizing, hosting, and delivering immersive, rich media and custom content on mobile at one of the lowest costs in the industry is a big value that we bring to customers.
Would you say digital investments in L&D are at desirable levels across organizations in India today?
Overall investments may be, but I suspect they are not all efficiently designed for driving the business outcomes required. Many of the companies have yet to adopt the changes and trends I have spoken about here. Let me explain this a little more.
I see most customers are still spending on building traditional LMS, and I think it does not help at all now. Organizations need to understand how they had relied too heavily on in-person activities for customer onboarding, for example. You see, customers are buying differently now than before the pandemic. Serving the digital customer is different than the physical customer. The focus is on product experience and real-time engagements and organizations are investing more in customer education as experience and extending their L&D to customers and partners.
In fact, 42% of customer educators use learning technologies. Technology allows flexibility and agility to adapt to quickly changing customer needs. How does LMS help here? It does not, as it is primarily designed for internal employees only. Instead, mobile and learning experience platforms are better. Customer education holds significant value to businesses. It is a key to customer retention, experience, and loyalty. Customer advocacy is a key theme for today’s digital customers. The overall business success and future growth may very well depend on how quickly you extend L&D tools to customers. It is a business imperative today. So, I would rather suggest focussing on the learning experience and extending that outside the enterprise.
What are some of the ways L&D can demonstrate value realization in their efforts.?
Well, the above was one great example of extending the enterprise. Then there are performance metrics and KPIs when monitored in real-time and the data analytics are tools required to show value. I personally see four key value metrics for business: time to market, time to proficiency, cost savings, and participation. These can help in value realization and how the dashboard is designed to help visualize and report these on a continuous basis. We have an onsite dedicated customer success model, which is essential to value realization for our customers.
You could also read the original ETHR World article here.