The Future of Work Is Learning, Part 2: The Effect of the Digital Age on Learning Content

In my part 1 of this series, I explored how work and learning are becoming more dependent on each other. As the nature of our work evolves, the necessity of learning the next set of skills is more important than ever.

In this post—the second in a series of three—I want to talk about another aspect of how the future of work is learning and that is the effect of the digital age on learning content.

Earlier this year, Josh Bersin wrote about "the brave new world we now call Digital HR." The founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte explained that "this new digital life (and workplace) is forcing us to rethink HR from top to bottom: how we design programs, the tools we use, and how we roll out and communicate solutions." He concludes: "the way we manage, lead, and organize ourselves is undergoing a radical change."

In terms of learning content management, the current systems and tools have served us well but they were really geared towards the first version of the web. The digital age has given us flexibility and mobility in our work. And, it's transforming how we learn.

Today's learners are reaching beyond the traditional learning management system and turning to informal learning opportunities, TED Talks and YouTube to name a few, for the learning content they need to do their jobs. They want to use social platforms to share with their colleagues what approaches work for them, and their colleagues want to share that knowledge with others.

And, while content is abundant and readily accessible, we haven't yet reached the goal of putting the learner at the center of it all.

The best learning management systems are great at organizing the content that resides within them. But today's organizations have multiple learning tools and those tools aren't necessarily tied together. In addition to an LMS, there are document repositories, content libraries, the internet, content from third-party providers, collaboration tools, etc. And all of it is outside of the LMS.

Unfortunately, none of this is really organized for the individual learner. Many times learners have to log in to a different system every single time to find the content they want. Even when companies have multiple content repositories that integrate into their LMS, they're having to create another single-sign-on token and another user experience.

Learning is happening everywhere and we need to answer the learners' call by giving them the power to learn how they want, when they want. It's time to think about how we can give learners virtually limitless resources on a single platform. Let's create new tools that will help learners in their learning journey.

Read part 1 of this series, The Future of Work Is Learning, Part 1: Why Once-and-Done Doesn't Cut It Anymore, for additional insight on the evolving workplace and be sure to stay tuned for part 3 where I will discuss how automating routine tasks will redefine work.

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