One can barely walk along the street today without passing (or being one of) many people staring into a small rectangular screen. If my grandparents, who only died in the late 1990s, were magically to reappear in any station, airport or city street they would be completely confused by this strange phenomenon. For them a phone was connected to the wall with a wire and you used it to talk to people.
If I were to tell my grandparents that these people were conducting many of their most important relationships, day to day activities, entertainment and learning they would not be able to compute this statement. Yet this way of living, loving and learning is now normal, expected and actually demanded. This is significant and impactful for multiple reasons. But the one I will focus on here is the workforce.
So much has changed since Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” in 1957. He claimed “the most valuable asset of a 21st century institution will be its knowledge workers and their productivity.” Back then we used to train people to do their jobs through traditional methods such as classrooms and linear study approaches; this knowledge then served them throughout their careers with occasional top-ups as needed. However, with the speed of change of technology and business this is no longer possible and the whole arena of learning is different.
Learning is no longer a linear, hierarchical process – where information is communicated from one expert to a class of novices. It is a networked affair dependent upon new mindsets, skillsets and most of all technologies:
- Micro-learning – we learn in small chunks, throughout the working day, and also when we leave work, in our social time
- Multiple inputs – we learn from videos, blogs, chat rooms, collaboration sites, presentations, e-Learning courses, meetings, MOOCS and still, on occasion, even classrooms and books
- Learn anywhere – we learn from multiple devices and therefore can learn anywhere – and make use of what was once downtime (airport departure lounges, station platforms, even listening to podcasts whilst driving our cars)
We are now starting to place more value upon the “learning worker” (a concept introduced by Jacob Morgan) – someone for whom learning is a continuous activity, in their work and play through all the varied media now available, throughout their lives. The value of a piece of knowledge disappears rapidly but the value of the ability to learn continuously – independent learning, collaboration, research, seeing the opportunities of serendipitous learning – is now key. Learning workers are starting to lead the way in the workplace.
In his Wise-Up Christian talked about digital workers and how cloud learning enables them; in practice digital workers also have to be learning workers. Cloud learning makes all this possible and more. For example our customers are:
- using technology such as SAP SuccessFactors Jam collaboration sites to promote self-organised learning, exchange with peers globally and share best practice.
- identifying roadblocks to be resolved in order to let employees leverage the full value of IT investments and pinpoint additional learning needs.
- learning live about what their SAP end users are actually doing in their systems using SAP User Experience Management by KNOA – what mistakes they are making, where they are being inefficient – and then providing targeted interventions to address real issues.
- transitioning to crowd-sourcing to create training content using Workforce Performance Builder Instant Producer.
If you know that there’s more you could be doing to capitalise on these latest technologies but don’t know where to start contact one of our Learning experts.
I hope you have enjoyed this Wise-Up follow-on blog post and trust you will join the next installment “Going beyond the traditional classroom… reinventing the way you learn SAP” on 8th June with Christine Arundell. Register here.
As a fun ending to this post and to make the point about how different life is for those joining the workforce now, here are a few facts from the latest Beloit College Mindset List*:
The youngest workers joining your company are probably 18 and were born in 1998. Since they have been on the planet:
- Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.
- Google has always been there, in its founding words, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”
- They have never licked a postage stamp.
- Email has become the new “formal” communication, while texts and tweets remain enclaves for the casual.
- Hong Kong has always been under Chinese rule.
- They have grown up treating wi-fi as an entitlement.
- The announcement of someone being the “first woman” to hold a position has only impressed their parents.
- The Lion King has always been on Broadway.
- If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you “which one?”
- Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers don’t know which students are taking notes and which ones are planning a party.
* Source: https://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2019/