Monday, May 30, 2016

Transforming Learning Cultures Through Dynamic E-Learning---Part I--21st Century Business Organizations

In the last post, the final topic to follow was "Habits of the Mind for E-Learners" but there is a need to recognize that such a topic can not be examined without looking at the present status of learning cultures within business organizations and in formal education itself.

For business organizations, when the suggestion is made that the learning culture needs to be transformed from what it is now to where it should be so that it is in sync with developing changes occurring as a result of the exponential growth of technology, information and new skillset requirements, many decision makers pose very insightful questions such as:

  1. Okay, if our learning culture is not where it should be, what steps do we need to take and who will advise us on the steps to take in order for this needed transformation to happen?
  2. Our employees are already well versed in what their jobs require, will needed changes affect the job security of people who have been instrumental in the success of this organization? How do we prevent a fear of change with the people that we depend upon every day?
  3. How do we manage change so that our present relationships with our customers and suppliers are not disrupted to the point where we lose clientele and future opportunities to expand our market share?


Before even attempting to answer these questions, we need to assess whether or not the present learning culture within a business organization is ready to employ E-Learning as a means of engaging everyone from the leadership to the different employee groups within an organization in a mission of collaborative, globally connected learning that benefits the organizations growth within the changing global economy.

The success of such a paradigm shift from the traditional learning culture to one that employs E-Learning hinges on fostering engagement of those directly affected by this change, that being those who labour in a variety of roles within the organization.

Some Key Observations of Engagement Within Present Business Organizations

The degree of engagement that E-Learning can deliver will transform the learning culture of an organization to be more in sync with the realities of a 21st century connected global economy. The more traditional learning cultures that business organizations have been using for decades are following short because the world of information, knowledge and technology is changing rapidly but business organizations are not adapting. The statistics of the importance of employee engagement show this decline.

Credit: Stephen Schillerwein(2014) 
 In a globally connected economy, this level of employee disengagement is not just a North American problem or just a European or Pan Asiatic problem. It is a systemic problem that exists that has a cascading effect for all business organizations that need to be globally connected in order to prosper and deliver healthy ROI to those who are bona fide stakeholders in the health of the organization.

Credit: Stephen Schillerwein(2014)
The reason for the evident erosion in the engagement of employees within the business organization is the failure to realize that the learning culture within the organization is more and more at odds with the type of digital lifestyle that employees live in outside the business organization. This lifestyle in fact defines their life and the business culture which places very little emphasis on personalized learning creates a growing disconnect between the employee and the organization.

Transforming the learning culture in this type of digital world is not a frill but is an essential if the drive to create innovation within a business has any hope of taking on life. Business organizations that have already undertaken such a reasoned transformation are seeing results.


Learning Culture Involves Knowledge Work

Within a business organization in the 21st century, we need to understand that in this age of knowledge, information collaboration and innovation, the spotlight is on  what we would term "knowledge work". We would be very naive to believe that knowledge work only refers to business that deal with the creation and dissemination of knowledge. 

"Knowledge and information is the new currency that is a shared requirement in all businesses that are globally connected. It is also the premier source of influence and power in the 21st 

Working with knowledge and information involves going beyond the company Intranet to a global Intranet and when employees are engaged in this change in the way of performing their roles, engagement grows.

Credit: Stephen Schillerwein (2014)  
So, how does a business organization make the transformation to a learning culture that creates the needed engagement which will result in benefits for the organization on multiple levels?

Next post deals with the pieces to this puzzle and the steps needed to make it happen.

No comments: