Learning and Development in Asia be a part of Change!


Article by Anirudh Gupta

Director- Skilldom
Learning Solutions
“Learning, learning and continuous learning, ladies
and gentleman, is the key differentiator to become a successful organisation.”
These words were very powerfully and animatedly stated by the Head of HR of a
large Indian Conglomerate at an L&D conference, in Mumbai.
Almost all organisations talk about the importance
of learning and development, however few do much about it. It is not because
they do not believe in L&D activities; it is because the benefits of
learning are difficult to measure. Rather it is very difficult to measure
learning.  Therefore, learning and
development somehow hovers in the abstruse realm of management. The last to
receive budgetary allocation and the first to experience austerity drive.
The economic landscape has drastically changed and
is changing with an unprecedented speed. This is both an Indian and global
phenomena. The core of this change is advancement in technology –especially
computing technology. Massive pools of data can be processed in seconds and
this ability of big data analytics is able to provide inferences in real time.
This results in quick decision making as well as the need to execute quickly.
Now marry this ability to compute quickly, correlate abstract data and provide
meaningful, analysed data with learning and there you have birth of ‘true’
digital learning. Add to it the developing science of Artificial Learning and
Machine learning – making digital learning effective, efficient and engaging.
Digital learning is there – from basic Learning
Management Services (LMS’s) to high end assisted learning intelligence
platforms, but the question is ability of the businesses to adapt to digital
learning. Anything and everything on a digital device is not digital learning.
With this definition, Computer based learning has been there is some form or
other since 1970’s and it later avatar of eLearning since early 1990’s.
I would like to share some facts which came up with
some interesting findings (based on 189 clients that we have worked with). Some
of them are:
Up till 2012 – 80% of the core training was in-person
and classroom lead. Where average classroom training averaged 56 training hours
a year out of a classroom learning opportunity of 80 hours. Getting 8 hours of
eLearning was a challenge, being limited to product and process knowledge or
induction programs.
An average program (classroom) lasted for 2 days in
In 2017 – the average classroom came to one day.
With consistent demand for classroom programs not exceeding 4 hours or half a
day sessions. With eLearning consumption increasing up to 19 hours a year –from
an average eLearning opportunity of 300+ hours (based on custom made and ready
to use libraries)
The attention span has dropped considerably to less
that 5 minutes and is reducing all the more. This is more due to the choices
that a learner has and multiple sources for getting information affecting the
ability to concentrate.
The workforce that is now comprising more of
millennials, desire for more personalized input, on the go and self-paced
learning opportunities. 89% of respondents in a survey conducted by SKILLDOM
stated that they find the classroom training uninteresting and that they can
better use their time learning the same thing through online medias.
100% of stakeholders were challenged and struggling
to measure learning effectiveness and efficiency in 2012 and 100% of
stakeholders are still challenged on the same issue in 2017. Nothing much will
change in 2018 – until organisation start adapting to intelligent digital learning
In the same survey conducted by SKILLDOM, 79% of the
learners wanted classroom sessions to be skill building sessions, where they
could interact and do activities and exercises that helped them become dextrous
or sensitive to a certain subject / competency.  74% of the respondents said that micro
learning would be better as they can collate mentally concepts and probably
apply them at work as and when needed. Both the business and the learner wanted
to know – how much I have learnt in the end.
Now on analysing these points the major inferences
are :
Classroom learning is important, but needs to be
focussed on skill building…
Digital learning is the need of the hour to provide personalized,
on the go, self-paced and measured learning.
The advantage that digital learning platforms bring
is immense. Think of a large bank or a pharma company or a multiband retail
outlet that employ probably 1000’s of people. Reaching to every learner is a
challenge and reaching in real time is all the more difficult, forget about
providing learning opportunity consistently and regularly (I am sure given the
current focus on monies, the logistic cost itself will be a major road
block).  A digital learning platform can
provide all this at a cost that is significantly less than spend which the
organization does on coffee per employee per month. Moreover, it is able to
measure learning, as it is able to record minute transactions that correlate
with learning. Learning content is sourced from the knowledge repository of the
organization and curated content from internet that probably has millions of
content pieces on the most common competencies that are associated with a role.
Which means you can actually measure the learning that a learner is doing.
Hence you know what is the ability and all that is left for the business or the
learner’s immediate manager to do is bring in the ‘human touch’ to influence
the ‘willingness” part.
With improving bandwidth, digital learning is
possible and it is here to stay. Even in remotest part of the country, you will
find not only the youth but people across a broad demographic spectrum happily
hooked on to YouTube and Facebook. The only challenge is to engage with a
digital learning platform that can be as interesting as Facebook or YouTube.
So when I hear the words “learning, learning and
continuous learning” from the head of HR of an Indian conglomerate and I know
it can happen. But to make it happen the core way of functioning and looking at
the learning function has to dramatically alter. Adapting digital learning platforms
that operate on new age technology is critical. Only when this learning change
is initiated will business organisations of today start becoming successful.
About- Anirudh
Gupta, Skilldom
In his current role, Anirudh oversees the Learning
Strategy function at SKILLDOM and guides the development teams to provide the
best-possible learning solutions to clients. As a Learning &
Development/Organizational Development (L&D/OD) specialist with over 15
years of work experience, he ensures every learning need is addressed
optimally. A graduate in English literature from the University of Delhi,
Anirudh also holds a management degree from SIMSR, Mumbai. He has additional
certifications to his credit in the areas of Organizational Development,
Psychology, Instructional Design, Adult Learning Theories, HR Processes from
premium institutions in the country and abroad. Further, Anirudh is formally
certified professional in the application and interpretation of psychometric
tools such as MBTI, 16PF, FIRO-B and TKI.
In his previous positions, Anirudh has led the
L&D function for companies such as Wockhardt Limited, ICICI Prudential
Life, MetLife India and Glenmark. As a seasoned trainer, he has also conducted
various workshops for managerial skills development, leadership development,
personality development, culture, diversity and conflict.

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