This is the second blog from the Mid New Jersey ATD meeting in Princeton, NJ on March 24 featuring a panel discussion on New Normal in the Workplace. Panelists included Catherine Lombardozzi, Director at the Center for Creative Instruction and Technology at Delaware Technical Community College and author of ATD Press ©2015 book Learning Environments by Design; Gus Prestera, Organizational Learning and Development Consultant at PresteraFX, and Ross Grossman, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
A few themes emerged as the three panelists developed the topic about the new normal in workplace training and talent development.
1. Limited resources. The world economy is experiencing a “lackluster recovery,” said Gus Prestera. “Tightening your belts is a permanent thing.”
2. Disruptive technology. “MOOCs are a disruptive force in higher ed and corporate learning,” Catherine Lombardozzi said. “When GenX’ers and Boomers wanted to learn something, they would talk to colleges, bring a book, ask the training department. Today, they don’t bother. They go out and look for learning themselves…Google, Coursera, Udemy, TedTalks. They are consuming video all over.”
3. Agility.“We want disciplined project management. Do we need structure or do we need to find another way?” asked Ross Grossman. When you have the structure of project management, “you get gummed up,” he said.
With an existing training and talent development structure in place that relies on entrenched systems, corporations and academia are facing the challenge of responding to the people who are working around those systems and developing themselves by finding the resources they need on their own. Because this is naturally how digital natives find information, it is incumbent upon the systems in place to support their efforts, explained Lombardozzi. She calls it content “curation” and “scaffolding” learners.
On-demand video learning in bite-sized, when-you-need-it snippets is becoming the most dominant medium, Lombardozzi said.
“With a MOOC, you get what you need, figure it out, do the work. Nobody tells you that you didn’t finish. You don’t get an email to complete the course. It’s disruptive because it is happening outside the training department. Meanwhile, productivity increases are decreasing and it is not clear why.
“We don’t want to mistake facility with the technology with facility with learning while using the technology,” she said.
She suggests scaffolding learners by curating content so your learners don’t waste time looking for relevant information.
“Help people manage their own learning,” she said.
On-Demand Skill Building
Employers expect workers to arrive on the job with skills. As a result, Lombardozzi predicts the rise of the higher education “nano-degree” that is focused on immediately up-skilling an employee to meet a particular challenge. Similarly, content curation can focus on competency-based training and learning by focusing on what individual employees need, when they need it.
Gus Prestera said, “Disruptive technology is disrupting every industry at an exponential rate. If you haven’t been, you will be. Healthcare, academia, military, government agencies…it will only get more intense.”
Asked by panel moderator Kim McConnell, what is the one thing we have to be ready for, Prestera responded, “The LMS. It is going to go away or sit in the background as a repository for content.”