Over the past ten years, entrepreneurs, organisations and managers have found themselves witnessing a radical change within their “business context”. The revolution has been global, transversal and – in many respects – uncontrollable: paradigms, processes and models successfully used up until a few years ago, have turned out to be unsuccessful not adequately fulfilling emerging challenges.
The volumes, speed and the extent of the changes in progress have been so disruptive that they have managed to derail brilliant organisations that have found themselves unprepared when having to face the rapidity of the change and incapable of adapting to the new context. Creating an e-learning platform as a solution to emerging needs has represented a challenge to many.
The answer arrives from the great Consultancy Companies, summarised into the term “Enterprise Agility”.
Enterprise Agility is the capacity of a company to control growth, remain competitive within a context undergoing profound transformation, while learning to adapt itself when faced with unexpected circumstances, new problems and crises.
Learning agility drives Enterprise Agility!
“Learning Agility” is the ability and the bent to learn from one’s own experience as well as that of others. It is the capacity to put teaching into practice so as to rapidly improve one’s own performance.
Models applied in the past, based on the adaptation of skills in response to market demands, could – due to their slowness and complexity – no longer be effective within the current context.
Managers and leaders must show that they are capable of learning from difficulties and from immediate contingencies, to face new and unexpected situations. The attempt to design training courses subject to the identification of market gaps, takes too long within an undergoing continuous evolution context.
Learning Agility is the meta-competencies that helps managers, talents and companies to meet the challenges of an uncertain and unpredictable future, to start moving and to make decisions within a system that – faced with uncertainty – often drives to leads to stagnation. In the current economic climate, learning agility is what makes success possible and it provides companies with the adaptability to cope with the unknown and to continue to grow.
Five factors that influence Learning Agility have been identified (Korn Ferry):
Many Learning Agility Assessment and development models have become extremely popular over recent years.
The studies and services carried out by the important Korn Ferry institute are certainly worthy of mention.
Can on-line tools support Learning Agility development activities?
Up to now – this issue has been dealt with in a relatively unstructured way.
Alongside genuinely innovative models, often unsuitable but established models are generally used.
Within the field of off-line tools designed to train learning capabilities, the main means are oriented towards experiential activities: project-work and on-site applications, created in order to support the self-development process.
The Together Business Unit has asked itself whether there are on-line tools that can support similar activities and/or replace them, compatibly with the timelines and costs associated with complex training courses. More generally, it has asked itself whether it is possible to bring some added value to Learning Agility development by using on-line tools.
Verticalisations of on-line environments would probably be a plausible solution; these would be managed by Learning Agility-dedicated LMS systems, making the most of some already available characteristics as well as introducing some new ones. Here are a few of them:
• The possibility to define on-line environments for “advanced” blended courses, capable of managing groups and assignments for all types of activities (also those of an experiential nature) in order to allow the learners to interact with each other (e.g. so as to gather information and/or to measure up against each other) as well as with the trainer (for any notes/judgements and to enable progress).
• The capacity to encourage the creation of content on behalf of the users (user-generated content) associating assignments and points from a gamification viewpoint.
• The ability to use the collaboration and gamification functions, associated with the on-line, classroom and experiential activities.
• The possibility to overcome the learner “class” or “group” concept allowing the involvement of external individuals in the single activities (e.g. to ask for an opinion) presenting what has taken place for some time now through “all-round” assessments used in performance evaluation processes.
• To extend the abilities of integration and monitoring of external contents (e.g. serious games, company knowledge bases, MOOC platforms…) making the most of the new available technologies (e.g. TIN CAN API).
• To use and/or extend the “digital storytelling” tools in order to orientate them towards the sharing of business experience from which it is possible to learn and share teachings and/or best practices.
The list could be lengthened if desired, in consideration of the great evolutionary thrust that the LMS system (Learning Management System) sector is undergoing. However, useful interventions for this purpose can be minimal, without involving any significant implementations or system changes. For example: it is possible to establish some standard templates/formats to be used for Learning Agility courses, defined as new “e-learning formats” to be applied to existing LMS systems, without the need for any technological upheaval.
On the other hand, it is also possible to foresee small-scale interventions making it easier to share experiences for training purposes. The main MOOC platforms are an interesting example: due to the fact that it is not possible to involve one’s own learners face-to-face, simple yet effective “on-line formats” have been created.
An example used by one of the main market platform is given below:
Peer Assessment (Coursera)
It makes it possible to create assignments to be given to individuals or groups (e.g. in the form of a reply or a questionnaire, a project description …) the assessment of which will be carried out by other learners/groups on the same course. Each learner will have to receive a sufficient assessment from at least three individuals and he/she will, in turn, have to “judge” three of the projects carried out by other learners, which will be published on an open notice board.
This simple format allows the involvement of the learners on a business project, allowing them not only to complete their own task, but also to assess and analyse what has been carried out by their colleagues. They will therefore have different perspectives on the same issue and consequently obtain the maximum benefit. All the work will be at the disposal of the trainers so they can carry out a comprehensive analysis of such indispensable material so as to be able to hypothesise the transfer of feedback to all course participants. Within a gamification context, the most interesting projects could be entered into a ranking so that points can be assigned after completing the entire course.
This is one of the countless “widgets” defined and used in the MOOC courses/paths from which one can draw inspiration so as to create company courses.
Today, large Italian and foreign companies are investing in Learning Agility support courses. It is to be hoped that on-line tools would evolve in this direction. The road-map of our Together (Extended Learning Management System) system takes these new needs into consideration. We would like to exchange views with the market (customers and competitors) so as to define the first ever best practices within this sector.