Are we failing at learner engagement?
I’m going to ask you a really frank question: “Does anyone in L&D know what the heck is going on right now?” We’re all busy talking about new technologies like VR, AR and AI, which are going to “transform” the organisational training landscape as we know it. Sorry, but I can’t help but feel this is a lot of hot air; a distraction used to keep our heads firmly in the sand and continue to avoid the real problems at hand – of which a lack of AI or VR are not.
I’m talking about real problems like connecting better with employees and creating legitimate value propositions, whilst enabling and empowering them to undertake more self-driven learning. Problems like short attention spans, lack of learning strategies and data analytics skills. Problems like declines in worker engagement, an evolution of a more transient workforce and a steady decline in employee mental health.
But rather than focus on these inherent issues which exist within learning and development, we choose to tether ourselves to these “band-aid” technologies. Our salvation. The ‘ooooh shinies’ of the world. The things that make us go “aahhh” and “wow”.
We’ve lost sight of what we’re trying to do here
Yeah, those super shiny technologies are sexy, sure. But unless we start resolving root cause issues, we’re never going to ever be able to really adopt them. Note that I said adopt, as opposed to implement. Sure, you can introduce them to your business. But will anyone actually care?
It’s like trying to build a house of cards, but some of your bottom row are actually soggy slices of bread. They’re not going to take the weight. They’re a poor foundation (inedibility aside) and they will only keep everything stable for a short period of time.
But right now, L&D is ignoring the bread and is just continuing to build up with new technologies, not realising that the problem runs much deeper than digital transformation and making the most of modern technologies.
And my fear is that if we continue this way, we’ll be all stood around in five years time scratching our heads, wondering: “Wtf has happened? We’re in the same place we were 5 years ago.” Course, we’ll have some snazzy new tech in our businesses, a good, ‘justified’ hole in our budgets and yet still stuck with completely disconnected learners. Why?
Sorry to continue with the weird soggy bread analogy, but let’s look at what’s caused it to get wet in the first place.
In the words of Jeff – you gotta touch their freakin’ hearts
We need to work harder at worming our way into our employees distracted, short attention-spanned, mobile-phone clutching hearts.
This is an old video, but I still wanted to share with you – because actually this guy’s message from 2013 is still poignant now. As a matter of fact, the fact that this kid was saying this five years ago further solidifies my point – nothing is changing! If you can spare me a minute of your life, watch this video.
Yeh, Jeff’s way with words aren’t exactly eloquent, but he’s dropping a heavy dose of truth in my opinion. The most pertinent thing he said?