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6 Learning Predictions from the Future

6 Learning Predictions from the Future
Written by Grovo

Last week, Grovo hosted over 75 members of New York City’s L&D community at the Soho Grand for “The Future of Learning,” an event dedicated to identifying trends and challenges on the horizon of organizational learning. The night’s featured event was an expert panel moderated by Inc.com’s deputy editor Allison Fass, with Equinox’s L&D director Nathan Knight, DDB’s global talent manager Veronica Tucker, and Grovo’s own learning director, Alex Khurgin. For the full talk, see our video below.

soho-grand_1015_1After opening remarks by Grovo CEO Jeff Fernandez, the panel embarked on a fascinating discourse about the present and future of team learning, including the prediction that we’ll soon all have “brain helmets” endowing humans with learning superpowers. Along with headgear guaranteed to make us smarter, here are a few more observations about the future of learning we can draw from even today:

In the future, we’ll know how to learn

According to Khurgin, future learners will be better-versed in the principles of good learning. That means using metacognitive skills like recognizing what we know and what we don’t, prioritizing what’s most important to learn, and creating practice strategies to meet our learning goals. Knight added that because learning will be truly integrated into both work and life—a la carte, searchable, and at-our-fingertips accessible—learning nearly anything will surely be effortless.

In the future, environment matters

If you don’t have a culture to champion good learning, your efforts are worthless, said Tucker. In the future, workers need an environment that cultivates constant development, improvement, and innovation. She offered four factors that can tip the scales when it comes to a productive work and learning environment: freedom from fear (to contribute), freedom to fail, freedom from chaos (work can’t be so unpredictable to be unproductive), and the freedom to be who you are (a deep diversity of people and ideas). She predicts that as learning drives these environmental factors, dramatically improving culture and morale, L&D will be seen as an integral part of fundamental business strategy.

In the future, it won’t matter if you can measure it 

Today, the challenge of tying a dollar value to engagement is ever present, with the C-suite’s ‘What have you done for me lately’ mentality pervasive for L&D leaders. But in the future, more than “counting butts in seats and videos watched,” the panelists anticipated better ways to know a program is working. For example, at DDB, Tucker says one such qualitative gauge is internal manager promotion. Khurgin shared another: Grovo recently adopted Slack, a team collaboration tool that no one feels the need to enforce or even track its success. “Instead, people are just starting to feel that it works better than email. And that means it will eventually take over,” said Khurgin. “This is about hearts and minds. Free yourself from the chains of ROI.”soho-grand_1015_10 (1)

In the future, learning will be about people

At DDB, innovation means reshifting focus on its people. Because it’s not just millennials who want to bring meaning and purpose to their work, said Tucker. Everyone wants to feel that what they do is important, and all workers with high potential can be nurtured to perform at their best. It’s training, support, and job design strategies that are helping DDB attract top talent, and retain them as a competitive business advantage. Because they know that if employees actually care, they’ll perform fantastically, and profits will surely follow.

In the future, learning will be uniquely human

It’s no secret that HR is fighting for relevance these days, said Knight. So in the future when so many tasks will be automated, and intelligent software will know what we need before we need it, what’s left for the sentients? Khurgin suggests training your workforce to do more deeply human tasks, such as problem solving, setting strategy, storytelling, being creative, etc. Not only are we better adapted for this higher-order thinking anyway, but we also enjoy this type of work more than the tedium.

In the future, work might not be all that different

soho-grand_1015_4Though the methods and tools of our day-to-day renew often, the basic fundamentals of work—communication, decision-making, leadership, etc—haven’t changed much in hundreds of years and probably won’t for hundreds more, Knight pointed out. Even at the company level, a business’s core mission should endure even as the ways to get there change often. Thankfully technology is going to offer us ways to get at both: the skills requiring constant refresh and the broader competencies needed for long-lasting development.

All told, Grovo’s Future of Learning panel surfaced new ideas and brought insights to an L&D crowd hungry for innovation. And even if we don’t have brain helmets yet, it’s clear we’ll have plenty of exciting things to look forward to before we do.

For the full panel discussion, watch our video below:

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