By K.C. Blonski and Bruce Marks
How do you replace a faucet? What about putting together a barbecue grill or baking a souffle? Finding answers to such questions is as easy as looking it up on the Internet. In today’s world, there is an overarching desire for immediacy and a push to get an answer and apply it “just in time.” Let’s face it, time is precious and we want answers now. That’s no different in our work lives. Given this reality, we find ourselves with a talent development dilemma in our learning and development landscape. Endless skill and knowledge acquisition and development options are available. Videos, mobile apps, online and in-person networks, and live and virtual classroom options are just a fraction of what’s out there.
With all these options, learning and development teams are challenged to balance the learner’s need for immediacy with providing the appropriate direction and resources aligned to the organization’s business objectives and goals to drive long-term, sustainable behavior change. And, as talent and learning departments look to pursue the appropriate content and resources to support their organization’s initiatives, they need to take advantage of innovation in the L&D space to get the job done quickly and successfully. That is why many are turning to IP licensing opportunities to access learning content and services. The challenge is to identify which license provides the appropriate content and supports learner centricity in a way that will drive skills and behaviors aligned to organizational outcomes.
In a recent study, Matthew Fisher and his colleagues at Yale University conducted research to determine if accessing information online affects how we assess our own knowledge. What they uncovered was:
- Those who accessed information from the Internet assessed themselves as having a higher level of mastery than those who did not access their information from the Internet.
- The Internet adds an artificial boost in confidence about one’s knowledge.
- We tend to believe we have mastery over a subject because we have access to it.
In our personal lives we are used to seeking knowledge via searches on the Internet. That activity is spilling over into our work lives as well. Employees are taking it upon themselves to identify educational opportunities. As the Yale study found, just because we seek and have access to education doesn’t mean that employees have mastery over a subject. Without identified learning paths that support the ongoing reinforcement, sustainment, and installation of required skills and behaviors, employees who seek education for themselves or have access to broad-based digital libraries will not gain mastery of skills, as discovered in the study.
With that, L&D organizations must ensure they have the ability to curate the necessary content. The newest way is to acquire IP licenses that encompass multiple modalities of learning and offer maximum flexibility to support formal and informal learning. Licenses that supply only digital libraries of content do not impact the dynamics of today’s learning paths that support skill attainment and eventually mastery. Instead, the outcome they support is the artificial boost in confidence about one’s knowledge that was identified in the Yale study.
Learning and development organizations need to seek out training partners that provide access to their researched and proven content as well as also offer it in multiple modalities with flexible customization and integration that allow for alignment in today's learning and work environments. Without that the level of support, organizations will develop “jacks of all trades and masters of none.”
K.C. Blonski is vice president of sales, corporate learning solutions for American Management Association (AMA).
Bruce Marks is senior vice president of sales and business development for AMA.