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Redefining Workplace Learning For The 21st Century By Jenny Dearborn, Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, SuccessFactors – an SAP company Forbes, October 2013 Disruptive technologies and shifting...

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Redefining Workplace Learning For The 21st Century

By Jenny Dearborn, Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, SuccessFactors – an SAP company

Forbes, October 2013

Disruptive technologies and shifting demographicsare redefining the workforce. In response, smart companies are reinventing workplace learning in an effort to make their programs more relevant and effective, and to create a culture that encourages continuous learning and develops innovative leaders at all levels of the organization.

“Today, workplace learning has achieved mission-critical status,” says Sam Herring, CEO of Intrepid Learning. “Global CEOs face an environment that is more competitive than ever—one in which they live or die by their ability to lead innovation, which can only be realized by having world-class talent that is highly competent, motivated and engaged. Top companies understand this connection, and they know that success requires more than waging a war toacquiretalent; it requires that they strategicallydevelopthe talent they need to envision and execute the business strategies that will make them successful in the future.”

Get out of the classroom

For most of the last century, workplace learning had a familiar look and feel: students sat in rows taking notes as an expert stood at the front of the room and dispensed information. Technology offered new ways to communicate and learn, but all too often technology-based learning programs turned out to be little more than upgraded versions of the same traditional K-12 model.

Today, that is changing rapidly. New advances in mobile devices and cloud technology, a deeper understanding ofneuroscienceand how humans learn best, and the emergence of the millennial workforce—the tech-savvy generation that is the largest in U.S. history—is creating a growing demand for more innovative and informal approaches to workplace learning.

“Employees no longer see their careers as the function of a single organization, but as the culmination of a purposeful set of development experiences they own themselves,” says Mary Slaughter, senior vice president and chief talent officer at Sun Trust. “When you combine their motivations with ubiquitous, on-demand access to skills and knowledge, and the unrelenting pressure to increase workplace productivity, it’s fruitless to maintain traditional, static learning architectures.”

How workplace learning is changing

In the very near future, workplace learning will be about social collaboration, team-based activities, and decentralized peer-to-peer learning. Learning will be mobile, and access will be continuous and instantaneous. Workers will attend fewer scheduled classes and online training sessions. Instead, short videos, game-like simulations, and peer communities that offer networking, information sharing and informal coaching will engage and motivate workers by delivering “anyplace, anytime learning.”

In the future, workplace learning will be increasinglyexperiential and relationship-based,knowledge will come from everywhere, and companies won’t be able to control or standardize it. Corporate-sponsored training will become less important and knowledge assessments or certifications will become more important. Companies won’t carehowtheir employees acquire knowledge or obtain a certain skill or ability, but only that they canprovetheir expertise.

“Companies that understand the power of learning are thinking holistically about how learning happens in the workplace, and they are seeking to create environments where learning thrives,” Herring says. “They understand that classroom training (or derivatives such as e-learning or virtual classroom sessions) isn’t enough. They know that an effective learning environment often must include performance support to provide ongoing reinforcement, easy access to knowledge repositories for quick micro-learning lessons, collaborative communities to tap the wisdom of the crowds, and most importantly, abundant opportunities to practice new skills in the work environment, to reflect on one’s performance, and to improve.”

Learning should be continuous

Employees should begin their workplace learning their first day on the job—and never stop. No one should ever wait for a training class or direction from management to get what they need to be successful. Considering the rate at which information changes and the nature of our always-on culture, employees must be proactive. They can’t afford to wait to acquire the knowledge and skills they need for a new job or an expanded role in the organization. In the future,learning will be continuous and so easy to access that there will be no excuse for people to fail to get the information they need.

Writing in Harvard Business Review, leadership development expert Jack Zenger offers a dramatic example of whatcan happen if employees don’t take charge of their own career development. When Zenger reviewed his company’s database, he found that the 17,000 business leaders from around the world who had taken part in his firm’s leadership training programs had an average age of 42.

“But the average age of supervisors in these firms was 33,” Zengerwrites. “In fact the typical individual in these companies became a supervisor around age 30 and remained in that role for nine years — that is, until age 39. It follows then, that if they’re not entering leadership training programs until they’re 42, they are getting no leadership training at all as supervisors. And they’re operating within the company untrained, on average, for over a decade.” In the process, they are learning bad habits that become deeply ingrained and difficult to change. And by leaving the decisions about their development to others, they riskeventually stalling or derailing their careers.

Measure results, not activity

Finally, it’s essential for companies to measure the impact of workplace learning and leadership development in a meaningful way, by tying those programs to actual business results. Companies are most comfortable with what they can easily measure and understand. As a result, the learning organization often tracks the “effectiveness” of programs by measuring the number of classes offered and how many employees attended. That’s like having your manager ask what results you achieved this year and responding, “I went to a lot of meetings.”

With big data and predictive analytics there is no longer any excuse for not connecting learning to business-impact metrics. Learning success can beassessed in terms of sales cycles, deal win rate, service response times, customer satisfaction, product quality and other business metrics as well asemployee engagement and productivity. When we redesigned workplace learning at SAP, for example, employee attrition dropped 80 percent. That was a big win for our company.

What it comes down to is this: If you can’t prove that the workplace learning you’re offering has a positive and measureable effect on your business, then why bother providing the training?

How is your company redefining workplace learning to help ensure its future success?

Assessment 2 – Individual Project

Leveraging off this article, you are to research on workplace learning –

  • Examine the impact of employee training and development on organizational profits
  • Discuss budgetary considerations in human resources, such as accommodating the need for employee training
  • Reflect on this within your own organization; and propose changes for the future

2000 Words (+/- 10%)

Please ensure –

1. You have a cover/title page with your name on it.

2. You have a reference page.

3. You number your pages.

4. You save your essay in the following format – FULL NAME – MGT205 – ESSAY


MGT203 - Human Resource Management

Research Essay – Feedback Sheet

Title: Redefining Workplace Learning for the 21st Century

Student Name:

Considerable room for improvement

Some room for improvement

Of an acceptable basic standard

Of a good standard

Of an excellent standard

Is the essay well researched?

Evidence of relevant reading.

Demonstrates deep understanding of the issues raised in journal articles and other academic sources.

10 marks

Is the essay well structured?

Essay is logically structured

Clear introduction

Effective conclusion

10 marks

Is the essay well contextualised?

Ability to contextualise the material presented within the broader context of ideas, concepts and models from this course.

10 marks

Is the essay well-argued?

Relationships between ideas are made clear

Appropriate evidence used to support statements

Direct quotations are used economically but effectively

Ability to compare and contrast material from difference academic sources.

15 marks

Is the assignment well-written?

Writing is clear and concise

Sentences are properly constructed. Spelling and grammar are correct

Writing is formal and academic

2.5 marks

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Presentation and use of citations

Accurate and appropriate presentation of reference list.


Marked out of a total of 50 marks and converted to 20% weighting

Answered Same Day May 23, 2020 MGT203


Azra S answered on May 24 2020
134 Votes
Workplace Learning- A Win-Win Endeavou
Workplace Learning- A Win-Win Endeavou
Learning is a continuous process. A human never stops learning whether it is through experiences, courses or textbooks, everyone learns. It is rightly said, "A person continues to be a scholar until he continues to learn. The moment he thinks that he has learnt (everything), he becomes ignorant."
The same goes for learning in an organization. When employees join an organization, it doesn't mean that they have completed their education because they have started work, it means they have started the real process of learning. This learning is the workplace learning.
In any organization, workplace learning is a vital part of the employee development process. This development is not restricted to the employees, it reflects on the organization as a whole. The companies that neglect employee training are bound to lag behind in the competition.
Employee training can take different forms. It can
oadly be classified into formal learning and informal learning. Each learning process has its own advantages and disadvantages. In order to achieve good results, an organization must employ both approaches.
There is a rising need for organizations to make budget considerations in relation to employee training. This must be done in view of it as an investment and not a liability. Creative approaches to employee training can reduce both financial requirements for training as well as improve workplace learning efficiency.
Impact on Budget
Workplace learning is part of working for a company. All employees, regardless of their position learn on the job. This, is essentially a very important part of the learning process. This form of learning is relatively inexpensive and occurs rather naturally. However, not all learning can be done on the job. This is where the need for employee training comes in.
In general workplace learning can be classified into to two types of learning. (Berg and Cheyong, 2008 )
1- Formal learning
2- Informal learning
A company directly or indirectly invests in both these forms of learning. All training that takes place during work time with company investment can be classified as formal learning. Informal learning is learning that employees undertake on their own. It increases their knowledge but may or not provide them with co
esponding certifications.
The spectrum of this classification is very
oad. Billett (2016), contends that this classification restricts the understanding of workplace learning since, learning without a formal training program even on-site is classified as informal training. However, for convenience and understanding, we shall use the above classification of workplace learning in this article.
Studies have shown, that investment in employee training or workplace learning can enhance the output of companies by far. Most companies fail to study this gain though (Bartel, 2002). That is why they do not consider workplace learning vitally. Workplace learning enhances an employee's overall productivity. It also helps him to stay motivated since he believes that he is developing day after day. (Molina and Ortega, 2010)
The younger workforce seems to be more enthusiastic about workplace learning and undertakes formal learning heavily. The older portion of the workforces prefers the informal learning method. (Berg and Cheyong, 2008) This could be due to the older workforce having more self-respect than the youngers. This is an important consideration that must be taken into account while developing a workplace learning plan.
The workplace learning needs to be made efficient in order to make proper use of the investment made on it. This can be done by developing specialized cu
iculums, making learning environment conducive and encouraging participation of learners and trainers.(Billett, 2001)
In this manner, the budget spent on workplace learning will not only be more effective, it will also meet the end to which it was spent on. It is also equally important to assess the results of the training in order to find out what the company has gained through its spending. (Dea
orn, 2013)
Why companies consider workplace learning a liability
A company invests in its various resources and a part of these resources are...

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