The push to digitally transform corporate training programs has been building up and COVID-19 has accelerated it further. In this article, I share the context of this challenge and outline 6 steps you can take for a successful Digital Transformation.
Over the last decade, the urgency of companies to undertake Digital Transformation of their corporate training programs has gradually mounted. Astounding almost everyone, the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated quarantine forced knowledge workers around the globe to socially isolate and work from home.
There are several factors that are causing organizations to accelerate their decision for Digital Transformation on their corporate training programs, notably in the following areas:
- In order to implement vital company growth strategies, corporate training programs are faced with the need to evolve their corporate learning programs.
- Enhanced automation, artificial intelligence, and self-driving vehicles require, or will soon require, millions of workers to retool their skillset.
- Suddenly in 2020, the urgency increased from a dull buzz in the background to a loud roar as millions of workers were quarantined.
- More people are working remotely, and HR departments are realizing the advantages of increasing their potential talent pools beyond traditional office geographies.
Forward-thinking leaders realize that going back to the old normal is a mistake. They understand that creating a new normal, initiated by the Digital Transformation of their corporate training programs, is the first step to increase their competitive advantage.
Why Is the Digital Transformation of Your Corporate Training Programs the Need of the Hour Today?
Employees no longer sit next to each other and cannot gather in the same location. The basic science of learning fundamentally explains how people learn, how to build activities based on how people learn, and techniques to assess their learning.
Historically, that science in corporate training programs has been applied in face-to-face synchronous learning environments as the go-to modality.
What many knew before 2020, and what the rest have learned since COVID-19, is that it’s not as simple as paying for a Zoom account to transform corporate training programs to what it needs to be in an increasingly digitized and virtual corporate work environment. Digital learning, synchronous or asynchronous, is different from face-to-face training.
How Can You Ready Your Organization for a Successful and an Effective Digital Transformation?
You can use our 6-step guide as you begin the Digital Transformation of your corporate training programs.
Step 1: Alignment
Don’t choose a platform first. That’s usually where learning and development professionals mistakenly begin. Before thinking of the platform, corporate training leaders should ask:
- What are the goals of our training programs?
- How are we measuring them?
- What does our company value?
- How aligned are our learning goals to our corporate performance measures?
Those answers will inform the Digital Transformation strategy of your corporate learning programs blueprint.
Step 2: Evaluate and Earn the Endorsement and Active Participation of Your Corporate Leaders
Without key backing from the C-suite, any effort to digitally transform your corporate learning programs will fail.
- If the CEO and VPs aren’t aware of what you’re up to, it’s going to fail. But if the CEO contributed to your strategy, the chances of success greatly increase.
- As middle managers take their lead from executives, they’ll execute the strategy.
Step 3: Invest on Creating a Culture of Digital Learning
While having the support and buy-in of the senior leadership is crucial in kick-starting your Digital Transformation, you must invest on measures for change management with other key stakeholders – learners and subject matter experts/trainers. Without this in place, you will have challenges in sustaining the momentum and meeting the ROI.
You need to plan for change management initiatives starting with awareness campaigns, showcasing the value of the transformation for learners and trainers, and clearly stating how this will benefit the organization.
Step 4: Focus on Agility to Handle the Increasing Rate of Change
As you work to digitally transform your corporate training programs, remember that any solution you implement must be agile. Focus on people, culture, and tactics.
The rate of change is increasing, and 2020 has so far brought in:
- Remote working.
It’s impossible to predict what will happen next except this: something will happen. Implementing a rigid strategy that doesn’t allow you to make quick course corrections – large or small – is a waste of time.
Step 5: Use an Iterative Approach to Design a Digital Transformation Blueprint
Be willing to admit when the strategy needs to change and take time for thoughtful consideration.
- Create a pattern of testing and learning.
- Celebrate failures.
- Learn from other organizations.
Step 6: Invest in Innovative and Immersive Solutions to Design Your Digital Transformation Blueprint
Given the current dynamics (changed workplace and, predominantly, remote learners), create a Digital Transformation blueprint that can:
- Adopt predominantly Self-paced Online Learning as Mobile Learning as well as Mobile Apps for learning.
- Design the Mobile Learning solutions to be short, bite-sized, and action-oriented – adopt Microlearning and leverage Videos and Interactive Videos, in particular.
- Factor for immersive Virtual Learning experiences through high-impact strategies (like AR/VR, Gamification, Personalized learning journeys, Interactive stories, myriad formats of Scenario Based Learning, and so on). Use them across the VILT/Blended or Fully Online mode.
- Identify the classroom/ILT programs that need to be facilitated and opt for Virtual ILT conversion. During this transition, remember to recast the sessions into multiple short sessions (not exceeding 30-45 mins) to retain the remote learners’ interest.
- Identify the trainings that may need a Blended approach of facilitated component (VILT) along with Self-paced Online Learning. Remember, this exercise will require a reconsideration of Digital pedagogy to achieve the same mandate.
- Avoid limiting the training delivery to only Formal training. Instead, invest on learning journeys that provide reinforcements, just-in-time learning aids, learning aids for practice, challenges for proficiency gain.
- Provide nudges for Self-Directed Learning through recommendations and curated resources).
- Leverage Social learning.
Evaluating corporate goals and measures, including the C-suite as well as other key stakeholders, having iterative testing cycles, and remaining agile, are the basic keys for a Digital Transformation of your corporate training programs.
You also need to invest on immersive learning strategies that will help you achieve the required gain – sticky learning, better application on the job, performance gain, or behavioral change.
But do look at this as an ongoing and iterative process – it should become a part of your company’s culture. If you’re successful, you’ll help maintain your company’s competitive edge.
I hope this article gives you good insights for planning the Digital Transformation of your corporate training programs. Do remember to design it as an ongoing journey to develop employees in a continual, flexible, and agile fashion.
Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.
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