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The changing landscape of learning in today’s workplace

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‘What’ represents a workplace has changed…

With the innovation of new technologies and constantly evolving styles of communication and management, the modern workplace is drastically different from what it was just a few years ago. But the business world is still changing, perhaps even more quickly now than ever before. According to the IBM Business Tech Trends Study, “In 2013, mobile data traffic was almost 18 times the amount of traffic across the whole Internet a little over a decade ago. Use of social networking sites has risen 800 percent among online American adults since 2005, reaching 73 percent in 2013. During the past two years, the world generated a zettabyte of data, more information than we humans created in all of history. And in 2013, worldwide spending on public cloud IT services was estimated at $47 billion.”

Mobile and social are driving a huge cultural shift and have created a whole new work style. People aren’t chained to their desks the way they were even five years ago. As a modern, mobile workforce, we have replaced the desktop and cumbersome software with systems and tools that give us the freedom to work with anyone, at anytime and from anywhere in the world.

‘Who’ makes up that workplace has changed..

In 2013, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that by 2015 millennials will overtake the majority representation of the workforce but, today the projection is that by 2015 the hyper-connected, tech savvy generation of millennials and GenY will make up 75% of the workforce. These generations are digital natives, they don’t recall a life before the Internet, they’ve always had a cell phone, they share their photos via Instagram and communicate with friends and family via Facebook and Twitter. According to a study done on these social millennials by Deloitte and Pew Research Center , these young people in their 20s would like new jobs and new assignments every 12-24 months and won’t wait for 3-5 years for a promotion. The study also points to Millennials’ preference for organizations that have open, transparent and inclusive leadership styles; and they thrive on fairness and performance-based appraisals, not tenure and seniority. Millennials would prefer to have access to a number of peers and other leaders, rather that be limited to working with one leader or manager, and finally; Millennials thrive on innovation and change.

According to the 10 Workplace Trends For 2015 on Forbes, the highest level trends are the skills gap, workers dropping out of the corporate system, the use of automation and outsourcing and the pressure for companies to get more lean. All of these factors have created a system where everyone is always under pressure to stay relevant, choose degrees that turn into jobs and constantly reinvent themselves. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there were 4.7 millionjob openings in June and more than half of employers say that they can’t find qualified candidates. This issue will progress until the college curriculum aligns with the current job marketplace. In the meantime, the skills issue will have to be addressed internally, by the businesses.

‘How’ do you address the learning needs in this space?

The combination of personalities and access to huge amount of data on the internet plays a very large role in how and what we learn today. Jane Hart articulates it very well in this article, that the way that many people learn now is characterized by a range of features that differ substantially from traditional training approaches.

  • It is social: Many people are learning – not simply with or alongside others but from the shared experiences and ideas of others – in the professional learning networks of trusted connections that each of them has individually built.
  • It is continuous: Many people are benefiting from a constant drip-feed or flow of information or resources, or conversations with colleagues, all of which over time builds up into a large amount of knowledge and shared experiences.
  • It happens in short bursts: People are making use of short, bite-sized, “snackable” pieces of content – both instructional and informational (that perhaps take 15-20 minutes to consume) – as well as have brief interactions with others.
  • It happens on demand: When faced with a learning or performance problem, people look for quick and easy solutions – by searching themselves for an answer on the Web, or else asking their Personal Learning Network (PLN) to recommend a resource.
  • It is autonomous: People are in total control of what they do, the relationships they build, and how much time they spend time on any activity – based on what value it brings them and to what extent it meets their interest or need.
  • It is often serendipitous: Although some learning is planned, people are also learning just by hanging out in social networks, gradually assimilating new ideas and experiences – frequently without even realizing it.

As stated by Harold Jarche, the future of work is social, cooperative & mobile. This should also be the future of performance and technical support. The primary function of learning & performance professionals in the networked enterprise is connecting and communicating, based on three core processes:

1. Facilitating collaborative work and learning amongst workers, especially as peers.

2. Sensing patterns and helping to develop emergent work and learning practices.

3. Working with management to fund and develop appropriate tools and processes for workers.

These learning professionals now take on more of a role of Training Advisors (or learning consultants as Jane Hart refers to them) to the business, and adopt a role that involves advising and supporting teams and individuals how to manage their own learning – rather than doing it FOR THEM. These advisors play a dual role:

  • Working with the business: To understand their objectives and the skills that they would need to be successful. This would make it possible for them to recommend the appropriate learning activities to support the skills development needs.
  • Working with the individuals: To provide them with a personalized learning roadmap based on their current skill level and learning style.

Since learning is a continuous process and skills are critical to any organization’s success, these training advisors form integral part of your organization. These Training Advisors can be internal to your organization or you can work with an IBM Training Advisor provided by one of our IBM Global Training Providers . They can help you with everything from career path and certification planning to the selection of courses that fit your budget and meet your specific learning goals. More and more in business today we need to make the training relevant to the business goals, IBM global training provider advisors will help you define your needs and work on a customized learning plan best suited to you.

Use this contact page – to select one of our IBM Global Training Provider and talk to a Training Advisor today – remember when looking for IBM training always look for training from an IBM Authorized Global Training Provider.

To find out more about IBM Training, please join the conversation on our websites and social networks:

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