New technologies to expand L&D opportunities

Follow our blog series in four parts, on the future of corporate learning.

This fourth and last one tackles the topic of "New technologies to expand L&D opportunities" and draws conclusions from previous three posts.

Written By

Jukka Sundberg


New technologies to expand L&D opportunities 

 As we have seen lately, digital learning is here to stay. That means we will likely continue to manage corporate learning needs remotely and in scalable digital formats. We are luckily living exciting times in technological leaps.No matter how futuristic some could think it is, we will see Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR) enter the scene of corporate learning along with the extensive use of algorithms.  

 Now mainly pioneers, but after a while, many of us start to experience social interaction in the “same space” with many added dimensions shortly. That doesn´t change the learning basics, but it will help, especially in the asynchronous working environment in different time zones and locations. Also, is it beneficial in settings where it is helpful first to test new behaviors and skills before throwing ourselves to natural scenes – one could claim that it´s always. For instance, in some cases, building environments simulating real-world scenarios by gamification, VR&AR, and mobile learning applications can be worlds more efficient than traditional training interventions. In the foreseeable future, many of the current Zoom or Teams (or other) virtual meetings will happen in totally different look & feel and sense of the real world. That will be mainstream in learning applications as well. 


 Learning experience driven by technology 

 When we refer back to the third part of this blog series and personalization in learning, we will see a big step forward with artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess learners' needs and offer customized learning content. The use of algorithms makes adapting to learners' needs more systematic, based on data and statistics about the behaviors. The shift from Learning Management Systems to more advanced systems, e.g., Learning Experience Platforms (LXP), automatically merges these approaches. If we still see many organizations assign people manually to their learnings in LMS or other central learning platforms, this will change.  

 In this context, we can also call this adaptive learning. That also means from the user perspective whole a lot more emphasis on learner experience and ability to integrate the learnings to flow of daily work and direct them need-based. In practice, this can mean, e.g., to generate (in addition to corporate level ones) individual learning paths based purely on the findings and data of the individual's needs. The learners get real-time feedback and track their progress and how they are performing from a business perspective. When learning methods are adjusted to individual needs, learners are more likely to receive proper and beneficial professional support.  

 As a practical example of technology-supported learning, some companies already use chatbot-based internal coaching services. In these, you can ask any question you are wondering and get some immediate guidance - users seem to love these. Of course, this is primarily beneficial if the learners have their learning journeys available in parallel and not saying it replaces fully any human interaction, just filling the gaps nicely. However, this whole evolution in human-machine collaboration makes it essential that our learning strategies follow and our people can use all the daily interfaces seamlessly fitting their roles and needs.  


Right tools for the job 

 Apart from having the right choices in learning platforms and algorithms to work with, make sure learning content is accessible across various devices. The offered content should be mobile- and tablet-friendly and not just designed for a desktop experience. That ensures learners get to access their learning resources the way that is most suitable for them. The employees use their mobile devices for everything, so why should they change platforms for corporate learning purposes? Once your learners engage with their training content, monitor their progress by leveraging the platform’s analytics and reporting features. Data on what kind of content users are after and what they search and use the most can clarify your learners’ strengths and weaknesses. Also, never forget to monitor learner progress based on the strategic capabilities you have hopefully identified in the earlier stages. Once again, this helps you to have more strategic discussions on the management level. 


 Conclusions from this 4-part blog series 

 To be successful corporate learning is about enabling strategic behavioral changes and making sure we meet the needs and ways people want to learn. The role of L&D will grow to be even more central in the years to come. Still, no matter how strategic our role is as learning leaders, the excellent technology and learning efforts do not pay off if the culture and mindset in the organization are not leaning towards learning and continuous improvement. We are delighted to see how many organizations have taken this seriously and have learning culture as one of the main success drivers. Especially there seems to finally be a growing understanding of the importance of soft skills and the mental side of people development. At least for a while, we seem to be better in these fields (like empathy) than machines. 

 Changes happen now fast in the learning scene. Organizations are taking quick leaps with virtual technologies and building, with the help of technology, more individualized learning experiences and using various modalities to deliver the proper learnings in the most suitable ways. Also, new solutions help integrate learning into the flow of work and offer people real-time support as part of the daily learning needs. That also means that we understand time and scalability as crucial bottlenecks to tackle and offer learning in smaller chunks. 

 The massive opportunity to scale the most commonly owned learning initiatives will stay on the agendas, especially in global enterprises. Face-to-face will be necessary even more in utilizing mutual brainpower based on individual and collective learnings, and we can focus on experiences and sharing. This social aspect is critical, also based on our experience. Social reinforcement structures are a vital component in the success of many of our clients. In the end, learning is also a social phenomenon. 

 It seems evident that gone are the days of ticking boxes to provide random training events and courses – it is not a sufficient approach in the fast-changing world. All the options we provide for learning should be directly generated based on the strategic scope and modalities chosen accordingly to match the daily learning needs of employees around the organization. We at FranklinCovey continue our work to meet these needs with our scalable approaches inspired by the needs of our clients. As the next step on this journey, we Acquired Strive and continue to offer our clients the world's best learning opportunities and support for behavioral changes. 

 So, after all these thoughts, where should we start and take the next steps? It might go without saying that you should first check your organization's (digital) maturity level. It is also easy to get carried away with the massive list of tasks to do – the so-called ‘paradox of choice’ but let´s list some foundational steps. For a starter, make sure to align your learning strategy with the overall business strategy – no compromises in the target setting. Then have a profound series of discussions around strategic capabilities that makes your strategy happen and make people deliver (or revisit those). Next, stop owning learning as an initiative and share it with businesses. Assess together with your business units where they are in the needed capabilities and identify the gaps. Choose your torch carriers and pilot some learning journeys of multiple modalities with them. After measuring some success, scale it up and integrate it into the rest of the people processes, don´t forget your lovable ambassadors, who help you. Creating this is not rocket science, rather hard and consistent work. Hopefully, that´s good news. And be mindful, the only thing that sets you apart from your competition is your skilled, talented, and high-performing people.  


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Send an email or  Book a meeting with Jukka


 If this got you interested in more, be sure to follow the other topics with deeper insights by clicking the links:

Part 1/4: Strengthening L&D´s role as a critical strategic value driver

Part 2/4: Transform your culture of learning

Part 3/4: Individualized learning experiences

Part 4/4: New technologies to expand L&D opportunities + conclusions.



AUTHOR Jukka Sundberg

Jukka is a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in learning and development in organizations. He started his career in the eLearning industry already year 1999, and since those days, he has worked as a trainer, facilitator, and coach in numerous international companies. Nowadays, he serves as Country Manager in Finland at FranklinCovey North.

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