INTERVIEW | Travel notes from the Learning Live: what is the real value of continuous learning?
Two weeks ago, suitcase in one hand and molecular swabs in the other, the OfCourseMe Team met in London and took part in the Learning Live Exhibition. The event, organized by the prestigious LPI, is one of the most important events within Europe’s learning field, as well as the first of this post-Covid-19 season. Needless to say, we were very excited to finally take part in a face-to-face event: we could finally meet learning managers again to discuss the situation of corporate training and its future developments.
Enthusiasm was in the air and, between conferences, discussions and numerous coffees, we were able to gather many ideas and considerations on the role that continuous learning will play in the coming years.
Our marketing manager Maria Giovanna interviewed Davide (CEO of OfCourseMe) and Adam (Head of Sales, UK) to collect their thoughts after the event.
Davide, let’s start from the context. After discussing with the learning managers at the event, what idea did you get: how do companies come out of the pandemic, from a learning point of view? Something has changed?
In general, more and more companies are facing – admittedly or not – a profound culture change. This process was already being pushed before the pandemic: continuous innovation and technological developments are nothing new, and they had already urged companies to create a more reactive and adaptive structure. However, we can say that the pandemic worked as an accelerator: it made clear that the strategic approach must be more flexible, making the company more reactive, resilient, “anti-fragile” and prepared to present and future shocks. Covid-19 proved that those who had already implemented these strategies could not only survive, but also thrive, during the crisis.
What do you mean by culture change? How does it happen?
By culture change, I mean a new way of considering the relationship between company and employees. A strategic vision that focuses on people, their potential and their personal development. Today we cannot evaluate workers anymore for the competencies they have, but for their ability to get new ones and to adapt to the latest challenges, following a structured and personalized learning path. HR managers can play a strategic role, planning and creating a long term vision of the workforce, making it future-proof.
Culture change can only happen by combining a strong top-down sponsorship with a bottom-up awareness of workers, signing a sort of “new deal” between the company and the people contributing to its growth.
Adam, at the Learning Live you could meet many English and international managers. What are the criticalities and opportunities of digital learning projects nowadays?
As Davide said, an ongoing culture change is fundamental. And, I would add, the company-worker relationship should be based on mutual trust. We can say that an efficient digital learning project has its roots in a synergic relationship between individuals and the company. It is necessary to combine the worker’s freedom and self-determination with the company’s guidance and coaching. Self-determination without a unitary strategic vision is chaos, but on the other hand, a strategic vision without self-determination would only create an elitist operation, therefore sterile.
How can a company share this message with its workers, that is creating engagement while providing guidance and a strong sense of “purpose”?
Engagement is the lifeblood of any learning project. First of all, we need to offer valid and effective tools, which allow people to insert learning into their daily flow of work, without wasting time and energy: the only effort must be the mental one to learn new skills and put them into practice as soon as possible.
But no tool is enough if it is not supported by a long-term vision. First of all, it takes targeted and constant communication. And, finally, it is necessary to study data: by analyzing the behaviour and attitudes of workers, it is possible to improve and make the learning offer more efficient, creating personalized and updated paths.
Personalization is increasingly becoming a key factor for engagement: we are no longer in the mass production era, and people rather prefer tailor-made and customizable experiences, adaptable to their needs. And addressing those needs helps to create a new, proactive and responsible attitude: lifelong learning.
That’s all from London, soon more suggestions from Lyon, France. Keep following us!