Learning Catches Up With the Times

Learning styles and techniques that worked during the industrial revolution are woefully inadequate to cope with the pressing demands of employees and corporations slugging it out in the 21st century, a period of technological changes coming in so fast that one has barely mastered one platform before another one quickly renders it obsolete.

When during the industrial revolution, companies took a cookie cutter-approach to continuous learning, a one-size-fits-all template so that workers will learn to become more productive and efficient in their fledgling manufacturing firms, workers today want—and need—a new approach.

Indeed, those in the workplace today want to learn in a way that is more appropriate to their desires and more responsive to their unique set of skills and passions because they want to better themselves for their own sake, and not just for the company.

This was one of the insights shared with the Inquirer by Kelly Palmer, chief learning officer of Degreed, who has made it her mission to change the way the corporate world learns and move to a mindset of providing lifelong learning.

Degreed is an award-winning online learning platform that enables mobile, customizable and career-driven learning.

Dubbed “Netflix for Learning,” it has pioneered a lifelong learning platform with the mission to “jailbreak the degree,” allowing individuals and organizations to discover learning content, build valuable skills and certify expertise.

Palmer told the Inquirer in a recent interview that customization works well in the so-called knowledge economy as many workers today feel strongly that the training they receive from their company does not match their requirements, thus they end up not learning anything and the company’s investment goes down the drain.

With the Degreed platform, knowledge workers are exposed to a wide range of learning modules that will meet their interests as well as their needs to meet the demands of their job.

Companies can also help choose the modules, guided by what it believes the employees need to cope with demands from the marketplace. But what may be more important is the opportunity for the employees to choose for themselves, so that they can learn on their own time and at their own pace.

And because companies will be able to track through the Degreed system what the employees are learning, they will be able to better determine who among the staff members are equipped with skills needed for specific jobs. This way, the mismatch between skills and jobs can be minimized.

Then there’s the added benefit of employees becoming more engaged or loyal to the company because of the opportunity to learn something new and getting credit for it.

Palmer, who before joining Degreed was chief learning officer of LinkedIn and vice president of learning at Yahoo!, said employee engagement had become even more important today with studies showing that employees stay in the same company for an average of just four years, and for the younger members of the labor force, even shorter at just two years.

Companies, therefore, have little choice but to adapt to these realities and adapt quickly. Local companies are no exception.

In March, Degreed tied up with learning firm Viventis Search Asia, Inc. to promote and market the Degreed learning platform in the Philippines.

With the partnership with Manila-based Viventis, which provides holistic talent management and people development services to local and multinational companies across all industries, it aims to bring its system to local companies, many of which are fortifying their human resource base to better compete with local companies as well as position themselves for the global marketplace.

As the pace of change in businesses continues to accelerate, people development and agile learning has never been more critical.

Viventis’ Executive Director Yu Ming Chin shared: “Organizations across all industries are undergoing major transformation. Changing business needs and mutating roles are creating more complicated demands from employees. They now need to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn. Continuous learning has become an integral part of personal fulfillment and professional success. We in Viventis have made it our mission to enable organizations to ignite the careers of their employees and encourage them to own their growth.”

It is with this goal in mind that Viventis partnered with Degreed.

Degreed can select learning modules from hundreds of top providers and empowers employees to take control of their development and become lifelong learners, the company said in a statement.

Degreed’s cofounder & executive chairman, David Blake, explained in a statement how the platform was “jailbreaking the degree”: “Credentials are currency. For years, the college degree has been the only true credential that people use, but the reality is that people never stop learning. Life is learning, and Degreed allows us to measure the learning we do—anytime, anywhere, and from any source. With this platform, we unlock the power of our credentials and measure all the world’s learning. Now, college is just the beginning, not the end of your learning.”

This article was originally published by Tina Dumlao and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 

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