Digital age learning – how does it shape the way learners learn?

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The era we live in is marked by constant technological breakthroughs that are rapidly disrupting businesses in all fields.

Two broad trends shape the digital age: an acceleration in the rate at which new technologies are adopted, and the ongoing disruption that these new technologies cause to the economy. Innovations such as mobile computing, cloud technology, and big data are already changing the way business is done, and we’ll see even more upheaval when robotics and artificial intelligence come into full force. These technological advances certainly shape the way we learn.

What market trends are we seeing?

The following market trends were identified in research conducted by Capgemini, Learning in the Digital Age:

We live in a digital age

  • Society is now based on information and computerization
  • The democratization of information – there is a shift in the distribution of power
  • There is too much information for anybody to handle – the obsolescence of information is accelerating.

The era of the empowered consumer

  • Just-in-time decision making on the right product at the right time
  • The consumer controls the interaction/transaction (no longer the brand)
  • The business has to adapt quickly to survive and remain relevant.

The demand of the continuous learner

  • Individuals must adapt their skills to remain relevant
  • Individuals must become lifelong learners and continuously learn
  • Individuals are overwhelmed, distracted, and impatient.

The science of adult education is evolving

  • It is imperative to understand how the brain works, with tangible applications in education
  • Emergence of new needs – need just-in-time learning when problems arise, easier to identify when in context, and social learning can enable better and broader learning.

What do we do to keep us focused on delivering to ever-increasing learner expectations?

Similar to the approach companies apply to become more customer-centric, organizations need to provide attractive employee experiences. This, in turn, creates a more productive workforce along with a long-lasting relationship between the employer and employee. According to the Capgemini PoV, digital age learning must be:

  • Engaging through an exceptional and relevant learning experience – learner-centric design and business-aligned objectives
  • Empowering, personalized and self-directed – the learner drives his/her own development, and learning fits individual needs (one size fits one)
  • Ubiquitous, just-in-time, on-demand, and in context – learning supports performance on the job, in relation to specific activities and problems, small learning assets accessible anytime, anywhere.
  • A blend of social, experiential, formal, and informal learning – the right format for the right purpose, mixing formats makes learning more effective
  • Hyper-connected with analytics everywhere – connected and targeted learning to drive effectiveness (that is measured)
  • A continuous learning behavior – promoting inquiry, exploring and doing, creating a learning culture.

Conclusion

Both, the research findings above and the market trends, in general, make it clear that digital age learning goes far beyond organizations just virtualizing learning and massifying digital content in a one-size-fits-all approach. It is about digital learner communities, having a blend of social, experiential, informal, and formal approaches with a focus on the learner (one-size-fits-one approach) and the business. For the learner, it is about being flexible, agile, and lifelong.

However, to make blended learning successful, learning approaches need to align with the overall employee HR strategies of an organization. Organizations also need to experiment and invest in the right technologies to support blended learning approaches and to allow access analytics to provide insightful data to help continuous improvement in learner experience.

Digital age learning is a topic Capgemini is deeply invested in. We have developed our learning approaches in response to changing learner demands and this new style of adult education. Find out more about our Learning and Development programs and explore opportunities with us.

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