Learning by Influence or Influence to Learn?

When it comes to learning and development and skills enhancement, organizations prefer to look for tangible outcomes. The flow and schedule of training programs in enterprises are done keeping in mind the measure of performance, productivity and how the learnings impact business. If time, energy, and effort allocation are key factors, the cost-benefit assessment that becomes the core of a learning architecture, is what defines the design and structure of the workplace learning.

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Tools and technology have expanded the scope and ambit of learning but the focus has always remained on making learning immersive, engaging, and relevant. From the days when technology was not as rampant as it is now, the words learning and development would bear or bring in a ‘boring’ and ‘dull’ tone. But that was in the past. Today, the kind of advancements happening in the learning environment, have brought a new energy and excitement among learners. The styles of learning are changing too. Gamified learning, social media learning, and technology-aided immersive learning are no less extolled than, say, learning that is instructor-led or job-task analysis type or blended learning.

The competitive flavor, the ability to adopt newer technology and tools, the access to information, the entry of millennials and the sphere of influence are among a host of factors that are defining the contours of learning.

But, learning outcomes today are intangible as well. With the learning management system (LMS) providing a structured measure of learning using the traditional course-completion approach, the learner’s output gets bracketed into the tangible space. Whereas, chunk-sized or ‘byte’-sized learning or the skill boost that happens using the ‘bring your own device’ kind of policy are giving trainers an intangible measure of learning too. Of course, lest we forget, how can one ignore the rising demand for advanced technologies where the ‘use of gear’ matters! Aptness is the crux. Those in the business of mobile have started using wider hi-resolution screens, smart technologies, and lens power to keep the users engaged and immersed in that technology environment, from dawn to dusk! Therefore, those in the learning sphere too have dabbled and largely succeeded in bringing out learning content that is accessible anywhere and anytime. The tone and flavor of learning conversations are changing so much that learning technology enterprises are vigorously pursuing their work on immersive technologies for learners using virtual reality and augmented reality effectively. So, not surprisingly, learners from the prevalent ‘click, touch, or swipe’ environments are moving to the ‘see, watch, and experience’ mode of learning. It’s a clear win-win for all stakeholders. For, the new age learning makes it possible to track, predict, and analyze learner’s behavior along with the comfort of learning happening through influence – be it a quick and timely reach out to a peer or the advantage of learning by self in an unobtrusive or a contained environment that the learner of today is provided with to be able to operate effectively and efficiently. Like the two sides of a coin, learning is fun and serious, which is what it is meant to be!

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