Mark Cobain, Learning Technologies Manager at npower, shares his thoughts on the digital learning transformation he’s witnessed and the conclusions he has come to following the changes they’ve made at npower over the last few years.
1 It absolutely pays to work with your IT department from the outset. You get a supported service that makes it easy for people to access your products in a safe and secure way. If that means developing a single sign-on (SSO) capability for your service to ensure the access route is the same as logging on at work in the morning, then do it. It will pay off.
2 Have a purpose and work with your customers to make sure that the service has value to them. If it doesn’t, it’s pointless. If it means that they own it and your relationship with them changes from L&D being responsible for delivering learning to taking more of a background role and helping your customers to use social communities to develop their own people, then that’s OK. There is nothing wrong with L&D becoming invisible, and the arguments for this put forward by Bersin by Deloitte are entirely sound. We have just as much responsibility to add commercial value to our business as anyone else, and we wouldn’t have had the success we have without taking on board some of the fundamentals of that thinking.
3 You may have heard that to promote social collaboration you need to turn off all other similar tools and focus on one. Wrong. That is not possible.
We now live in an interconnected and social world, and there is no such thing as a magic pill to create a successful L&D team. If your organisation uses Office 365, chances are you have Yammer; if you use Salesforce, you will have Chatter. These are only examples, but, just as they do in their personal lives, people at work will use different social channels motivated by different reasons. If a customer’s preferred social channel is working and people are engaging, then you already have a channel that has your audience’s attention. Work with it and help it shine.
4 Social learning is here to stay, and it is happening in our organisations right now whether we know about it or not. As L&D professionals we don’t need to chase it, we just need to let it be, embrace it and learn from what it is telling us about our organisation rather than trying to change it. In a world where data is now supreme it will be up to us to decide how to pull all this data together into something meaningful that can appropriately influence our decisions.
5 Social learning is not formal learning. Do not try to use your social learning platform like an LMS because it simply isn’t one. We all know about GDPR and are aware that for all organisations it will be more important than ever to have a stable and secure way to distribute and track compliance learning objects. Sometimes you just need an LMS, and that’s fine.
This is an extract from The Curve – Issue Seven. Click here to download the full magazine – for leaders in learning.