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The advent of digital learning 2.0 in India: Sanjay Bahl, Centum Learning

Digital learning 2.0 is about the delivery and application of content and mobile, micro-learning in participatory ways

In the wake of rapid digitization, enterprises across different verticals and domains are adopting new age technologies in order stay relevant in this digital transformation era. However, while the same has done a world of good to the companies, it has also given rise to the issue of skill shortage. Nevertheless, this is where digital learning can make a difference. In an interview with DataQuest, Sanjay Bahl, MD and CEO, Centum Learning talks about the L&D scenario in India, challenges faced in India, and the need for customized training.

digital learning

Sanjay Bahl, MD and CEO, Centum

What is the current scenario of L&D in India? What is the role of technology here?

Indian organizations have realised the importance of training and development of their employees. They are steadily increasing the investment in L&D space, to make their workface globally competitive. We have observed that a key challenge in maintaining the growth momentum of the economy is to accelerate organizational L&D to remain competitive in today’s uncertain business environment. A key aspect here is that India’s overall L&D spend is much lower than the developed countries. This creates immense opportunities in the Indian L&D industry. While India has been perceived as a knowledge-driven economy, but most Indian corporates face talent shortages, especially customer-driven roles, which has propelled the demand of customised training interventions.

With 15 million youth entering the workforce every year, more than 75% are not trained as per the requirement of the industry. According to the industry statistics, India would need 700 million skilled workers by 2022 to meet the demands of a growing economy. Such data points reflect upon the skills scarcity and augment the need for corporate training. At the same time, inflation and global economic slowdown have put a lot of constraint on the training budgets.

Indian organizations are adopting new and smart technology aided training interventions to rationalize on the training costs and yet enhance the effectiveness. While conducting only classroom training sessions for them is becoming increasingly expensive, a smart learning platform that can easily deliver personalized learning experience solves such issues.

Is training required in all levels of management in an organization? Why?

Good management is critical for enhancing the effectiveness of business operations, which is why training the senior management is equally important as it is for mid-level/ junior management. Employees of an organization always seek guidance from the leadership team who are expected to possess specific sets of skills, range of knowledge and set an example and inspire them to engage in the corporate vision and achieving the organisation’s business goals. Both training and organizational development go hand in hand. Training management program at all level helps companies to get a competitive edge as business needs, skills requirements and complexity of the external environments evolve rapidly.

Well-trained staff needs less supervision and is more effective in job roles, which brings satisfaction at work. Relevant training using effective methodologies must be imparted regularly.

What is digital learning 2.0 and how is it transforming the L&D Landscape?

According to IDC, there were over 1.3 billion mobile workers globally in 2015 and PWC are forecasting over 1 billion mobile workers in Asia alone by 2020. As more workers are mobile and work remotely, the demand for mobile solutions continues to increase to deliver quality content anytime, anywhere. The convergence of rise in smartphones and broadband speeds is leading to the emergence of mobile and micro-learning as a key driver for digital learning 2.0.

Digital learning 2.0 is about the delivery and application of content and mobile, micro-learning in participatory ways. It’s about engaging the learner anytime, anywhere. Learners who experience Digital learning 2.0, learn primarily by reading, listening or watching tutorials from an expert on any subject online. This helps them to clear their doubts in less time and share point of view with other learners. With a better understanding of their employees consumes content, companies are delivering content in a way that is more learner centric.

Businesses are helping employees upskill themselves by delivering content to office locations throughout the globe using remote delivery methodologies.

What are the top challenges that you face while providing training?

Every business has an aim and each employee has their own strength and weakness. To achieve the business objective, employers must ensure that each individual in the organisation receives personalised training to upskill themselves, as one size does not fit all. Learning managers must develop L&D programs that resolve training challenges which company as well as workers deal with every day

Here are the two biggest challenges that training service providers deal with while providing training:

Assessment & Personalised Training: Before training a large audience there is a requirement of skill-gap analysis, which helps L&D heads to recognize the areas where an employee needs help. There are various measures to undertake this, though proper assessments, however each individual has separate requirements, the training must be personalised which many a times becomes difficult to do purely through a face to face training mode.

Engaging people: A training is successful only if the learners are engaged in it. The best way to tackle this is by developing a vibrant training portfolio that utilizes a range of strategies such as micro-learning, using audio-visual aspects in your e-Learning arrangement to provide its knowing goals.

How important is it to identify the training needs and offer customized training to learners?

A single solution cannot cater to different needs, hence it is a requisite to identify and assess, training requirements of human resource. An in-depth assessment helps L&D heads to identify and address the gaps between the existing training and the training which will be required in the future. Such individual assessment helps in identifying who needs what kind of training. It helps to identify the strengths of employees and areas of competency improvement. Additionally, with advent of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality, the skill gaps of employees also seem inevitable these assessments also help to improve different aspects of the organization and build customized training programs to address important gaps and boost the effectiveness of the business.

Customized training to an individual level with blended training methodology, increases its effectiveness manifold. At organization level, the challenges faced by each organization are different, even though they may be from the same industry. Hence customization the trainings to an organization challenges is important to make the trainings more relevant and effective for the learners.

How have training methodologies changed over time? What is TeBL? And how effective is it?

With advancements in technology and understanding of behavioural sciences, trainings are no longer conducted 100% on-site. Through our Technology enabled Blended Learning – TeBL delivery methodology, we blend the face to face training with technology enabled training delivery to make the trainings more effective. Our digital training platform – Centum LearnPro enables the employees to undertake customised trainings at their own pace, without exhausting the productive hours of work, while learning on a break or while travelling to/from office. Learning has become ‘bite-sized’ to inculcate changes in ‘attention span’ of humans. This approach helps in making vital information available at their fingertips. Backed by ‘gamification’ and ‘social learning’, employees are constantly engaged and retain the ‘competitive-spirit’

With advent of gen-y in workplace, it is need of hour that organizations upgrade their training methodology from pure face-to-face instructor-led training to Technology enabled Blended Learning. TeBL taking care of the challenges like cost, time consumption etc., which companies face in optimizing the training ROI. In totality this seamless process allows employees to learn more effectively.

Having been in the corporate training space for many years now, Centum provides a perfect blend of online and on the job learning experience. It has championed to take TeBL approach to impact business outcomes of India as well as global clients across multiple sectors through its customized corporate training programs.

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