Earlier today, I read an article published on TechCrunch that had me thinking all this while; and finally write this blog post. The TechCrunch article is titled – In the knowledge economy, we need a Netflix of education. Written by Karl Mehta and Rob Harles, the article recommends that with the vast amount of information available, what learners actually need is a ‘Netflix’ like solution for learners to easily find and access the learning that they want. The article ends with the following sentence, “In the end, let’s use AI and machine learning to help advance our employees’ learning and career paths — and not to replace them.”
The previous blog post published here looked at the common barriers that affect the effective deployment of eLearning solutions at the workplace. This blog post continues the thread of thought and examines how an effective solution can be created that tackles the ‘information overload problem’ and if a Netflix like solution would really be the answer to all corporate learning woes.
First let us look at the problem of ‘aplenty’ and the lack of focus. Barring a few of the top firms globally across industries, most organizations do not have a clear and defined roadmap that helps train their employees. Usually there is a training and induction programme for fresh graduate-hires and on completion of a probationary period they are absorbed into the organization as regular employees. The companies that manage to put some kind of basic plan into practice, usually put a lot of generic courses for the employees to complete without a customized learning and growth chart and this actually hampers the motivation levels of employees and drives them to boredom.
Will a learning solutions platform that offer a pay-as-you-use service work effectively in an organization? On the surface, this sounds as a good idea. Instead of the employee made to take up course after course just to satisfy archaic rules framed to satisfy the training claims of HR and Development; it would be better to focus on what would actually empower the employee to perform his/her tasks better. Then comes the question of how to make the employee accountable for taking up the course and completing it on time! Would it be for the greater good if the employee pays for the course and on certification the company reimburses the employee for buying the course? Or is the course fee built into the employee’s salary package as a ‘training development allowance’? These are administrative issues that can be sorted out. The key here is anytime, anywhere access to the employee for the courses that he/she has signed up. Ideally, the employee should be able to access the course on laptop, tablet, or mobile phone via an app. Learning need not be restricted to just a couple of hours every day at work within the confines of the office. Be it at home, or while commuting, the employee should be offered a learning solution that grants him/her knowledge at any convenient time of his/her choice with ease.
The key here again is not buying a bunch of ‘off-the-shelf courses’ from various providers and hastily putting them up within your organization’s LMS and making employees taking up the courses. Plan, analyze, study and decide what kind of courses are needed, who need training at what level and can the courses be designed in-house or do you need to buy the courses from reputed organizations. Or do you need to contract a firm to design courses for you from scratch and personalized to your requirements. With the massive availability of generic courses on offer it may seem a waste of time to do such in-depth studies; but trust me; it pays to do your training analysis studies and feasibility study before embarking on an employee training programme. At the end of the day, you are investing in your employees’ skills to motivate them to work better and achieve your organizational goals as well.
It would be interesting to see if this idea catches the fancy of organizations and we actually see a Netflix for organizational learning! On paper this seems to be a great idea and there is merit in the thought. A big shout out to the original authors Karl and Rob for inspiring me to write this blog post.
What do you think? Is a Netflix for learning solutions at the workplace possible??