A year back, none of us saw this coming, and here we are today in constantly evolving reality, trying to move through the crisis of the century. In the last eight months, we have all experienced; increased complexity of work, diminishing command and control, loosening of rigid hierarchical structures, the virtual world of work, and unprecedented acceleration of digitalization and technology in every part of our life.

COVID has addressed the organization’s inertia to invest in employee development, learner resistance to upskill, and hesitation to embrace technology. Technology Quotient (TQ) of employees and organizations have grown by double-digit. We have experienced exponential growth in learning resources and an increased number of online learning hours by employees; suddenly, the learning opportunities and offering have been democratized.

Rapidly changing context is accelerating new skills development, encouraging employees to explore more and beyond, the life span of skills is shortening. New ways of working are emerging; work from home has become a new reality. HR professionals are no longer thinking of the typical employee life cycle but considering the complete family life cycle to build offerings and solutions to address different needs. The employee life cycle and home life cycles are eclipsing, and employees are asking for more support on a variety of topics.

The basic premise of learning and development has shifted in our new and dynamic context, and a new model is being formed. I see the following 3 elements, which will play an important role in reshaping the new model.

Must disruption the existing model: The learning and development function was created differently when knowledge was the power with a longer shelf-life. Resources were scarce. The pace of change was slow. One size was fitting the most. Historically, the learning and development function was part of HR and L&D specialists were responsible for understanding the business and functional needs, create content, and deliver to employees.

Today as we look forward, this model will not serve us well, shorter lifespan of knowledge, the value of human resources declining faster, unique needs of learners, fading classroom learning, greater demand for just in time solutions - learning and development functions must redefine their strategy and bring new skills and expertise to support to the dynamic demands of the business. Learning and development functions need to be elevated to collaborate and work with more nimbleness, agility, supported by digital and technology investment in the function.

Self-directed, hyper-personalized, and on-demand: Netflix has changed the meaning of entertainment, and learners seek a similar and seamless learning experience. Form intensive, immersive learning retreats to on-demand format to help them just in time. Learners are looking for choices and want to stay in the driving seat. At the same time, they are aware of what they need to learn, how to learn it, and assess if they have learned it. Learners are seeking tools that will help them solve real-life problems to perform and learn now.

Hyper-personalisation is commonly experienced by all of us in every aspect of our lives these days, but today’s learning function is far from personalization. We have a big gap, and we need to accelerate our progress offer hyper-personalized offerings as this holds the key to turning learning into performance for our employees.

The integration of AR & VR in the learning and development beyond technical skills can bring a revolution in this space. AR and VR are not new for training but with limited use, especially in manufacturing, logistics, transportation, aerospace, healthcare, retail etc. We need to scale up the effort to maximize the benefit of AR & VR for soft skills development too. AR and VR can help with an immersive way to apply to learn, and this can really be game-changing. The combination of AR & VR can offer infinite learning opportunities and exponential benefit to the organisation.

“We have experienced exponential growth in learning resources and an increased number of online learning hours by employees”

Regardless of soft skills or hard skills, AR and VR can offer many benefits than traditional trainings, including cost reduction, more real-world practice using virtual simulations, immersive technology with low risk of distraction, and at larger scale.

By embracing these 3 key elements, we will ensure that our employees and organisations are set up for success even when the world around us is constantly changing - this makeover is long due!