For many companies, budgetary constraints were the primary reason for not adopting new digital learning capabilities. However, the COVID-19 crisis, and directives such as social distancing, could provide the opportunity for learning leaders to rethink their digital learning strategy. To reassess and reprioritize their budgets, or even provide a reason to open budgetary discussions with their executives.
We understand the world post COVID-19 will not look the same. So now is the opportunity to advance future digital learning capabilities. The technologies that emerge could be the positive, long-term outcome from this crisis. As you rethink your strategy, here are just a few considerations to keep in mind.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)
Consider adopting virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). For decades, industries such as oil and gas have used simulation-based learning that includes VR and AR technologies. These technologies have successfully prepared learners to perform tasks in high risk, high stress environments. Given their ability to present immersive, realistic situations repeatedly, these technologies give learners the opportunity to build expertise through experience, before they ever encounter a situation in the real-world.
VR and AR technology can enable more effective learning at a lower cost, and in less time than many traditional learning methods. This is because it can allow for more training repetitions, especially when dealing with costly situations. For example, the skills of aviation maintenance personnel can degrade when business constraints limit flying hours; if jets are not in the air, there is nothing to be fixed. Without that practice, critical maintenance skills can slip, leading to increased accidents. VR and AR technology can allow maintenance staffers to keep up their skills by learning from experience, at a fraction of the cost of putting an actual jet in the sky.
VR and AR technologies are not just about saving money—they can provide better outcomes than many traditional learning methods. In a study, Deloitte examined the technology’s effectiveness on learning and retention. They found that simulation-based learning reduces the time taken to learn, decreases the number of trainee errors, increases the amount learned, and helps learners retain knowledge longer than traditional methods. These effects applied to the general population as well as specialists training for unique tasks. These better outcomes are almost certainly linked to the fact that the learning is more engaging, and gives participants the experience required to support that learning.3
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Consider including Artificial Intelligence (AI) in your new digital learning strategy. AI can personalize training content to meet your learners’ individual needs through data-driven content recommendations, learning patterns, styles and behaviors, and deliver role-based learning. AI can be a significant competitive advantage, but only for firms that are fully committed to it. Take any ingredient away—a strong digital starting point, serious adoption of AI, or a proactive strategic posture—and the returns are less impressive.2 Our learning technology experts can help you with change management and adoption strategy to make AI successful.
Machine learning can also predict what skills will be in demand. It can suggest what learners should learn and identify which resources are most effective. One of the strongest attributes of AI is automatically offering relevant, micro-learning to help employees with any task or goal they may be currently working, ensuring they’re continuously ahead of the curve. AI-enabled adaptive, personalized learning can transform employee engagement. Our learning experts can help you bring these tools together to deliver learning in the flow of work driving performance on the job.
Learning systems can only predict relevant content if they’re tracking the right learner data — interests, social network accounts, or learning history. Once you have millions of these data points to train your system, it becomes clear what success looks like and your algorithm will reach its potential. Our technology and Performance Analytics consultants can help you optimize your data and drive analytics to support business performance.
Many learning organizations use learning analytics, from their learning tools and platforms, to develop their learning strategies. However, learning strategies are only as good as the data that drives them.
Performance Analytics combines performance data (tasks and business KPIs) and workforce data (hiring, retention, etc.) with learning data to ensure a strong linkage between learning and business outcomes. It shifts the analysis focus away from learning to a more comprehensive analysis of performance issues and opportunities. It bridges the gap between current workforce capabilities and strategic goals. Key benefits of moving from learning analytics to performance analytics can include:
- Performance Analytics uncovers insights and reveals hidden value, to help define new, targeted learning interventions. Examples include a density analysis to optimize your coach/instructor network and lower student travelling expenses, Natural Language Processing to extract key messages from learners’ open-text feedback, or bell curve histograms to optimize the efficiency of your training operations.
- Performance Analytics combines performance, workforce and learning data to enable a comprehensive data-driven analysis of key business and performance challenges.
Examples include correlation analysis between performance, talent and learning data, or time-series analysis to benchmark the performance of trained employees against a control group.
- By analyzing gaps between current state and future state, and identifying root causes for low performance, learning solutions can address present and future performance gaps. Examples include a Scatter Plot to map your performance data against your employees’ training factoror Predictive Analysis to single out the strongest predictors of performance.
Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)
While a Learning Management System (LMS) is well suited for providing compliance and other organizational training content to employees, it falls short when it comes to open-ended discovery and goal-based learning. For example, an employee might say, “I want to learn more about web development,” only to discover there are no entries in their LMS’ course catalog that fits their needs.
To enable learning, when and where you need it, consider a Learning Experience Platform (LXP). LXPs are intuitive learning and development platforms that satisfy the self-directed learning needs of employees seeking skills and professional development. They’re designed to support a wide array of content, sourced from both inside and outside a company’s firewall. Content types go beyond L&D created learning content to include things like blog posts, industry articles, videos, podcasts and courses. LXPs help learner’s develop the skills they want by utilizing information found from a variety of sources and content types. When an employee says, “I want to learn more about web development,” the LXP returns items beyond the LMS.
In this time of change, we understand the world has shifted. Now’s the time to rethink your digital learning strategy. Raytheon Professional Service’s digital learning experts can help you optimize and advance your digital learning capabilities.
Read Part I of this Blog series, where we discuss strategies and tactics learning professionals should implement now as part of a triage effort to get their critical learning programs migrated to virtual training environments.
Reach Out to RPS
Artificial intelligence and machine learning, performance analytics, learning experience platforms, and virtual and augmented reality: Raytheon Professional Service’s learning and technology experts can help you develop and implement a digital learning strategy that will deliver real impact for your learning organization and your learners.
How have you enhanced the digital capabilities of your learning organization? What experiences and lessons learned would you like to share? Start a conversation in the comments below or connect with us on LinkedIn, or at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags, #learning, #training, #virtualreality, #augmentedreality, and #onlinelearning.
1 McKinsey. (March 2020.) Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-accelerate/our-insights/adapting-workplace-learning-in-the-time-of-coronavirus.
2 McKinsey Global Institute Report, Modeling the impact of AI on the World Economy. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/artificial-intelligence/notes-from-the-ai-frontier-modeling-the-impact-of-ai-on-the-world-economy.
3 Deloitte Insights report, Real learning in a virtual world. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/technology/how-vr-training-learning-can-improve-outcomes.html.