Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Learning and Development 3

Here is a disruptive idea for the LnD world. Make that two. How does one make the coordinatosaurus extinct? Exactly the same way that the internet eliminated middlemen.
What if we had a marketplace of Learning and Development consultants, vendors, content creators and the like available at one place?
Imagine this. A marketplace of Learning partners. With ratings by their users. Searchable by Speciality. Feedback from the companies who have used them. Like Amazon.com. Transparent pricing. Transparent usage. (I know that transparent prices may not exactly be to everybodys liking, but bear with me.)
If Redbus can do it and Bookmyshow can do it, why not a Learning portal to sell training and learning to companies (mainly) and employees?
As we speak, companies are trying to reduce cost by either outsourcing the entire LnD or hiring cheaper program managers  - whose only job is coordinate trainings. And this is the apt kind of job that should be eliminated – because algorithm and data can do this better than humans. Even as we speak, in the financial services industry robots are doing a better job than humans as wealth advisors. If robots are good enough for wealth advisors, why not for training advisors?
A portal like this does two things. One is, it eliminates wastage for companies. Once companies register on the portal, they can request trainings, float RFPs, and even trade on training seats. On the other hand, it allows learning vendors to optimize capacity, and make themselves available to a larger range of companies.
And for the companies, you need not hire LnD guys who are program managers in disguise. You can seek out genuine guys who add real value. Who are passionate about the learning process as genuine enablers. Who can consult with you in the true sense and move away from the ‘learning as an event’ that often qualifies as training.
(Yes, there is a website that purportedly does that, but what I have in mind is a slightly more ‘premium’ portal if you will. Is it possible? I don't know, if the idea will work at a macro level.)
But in a smaller way, this idea can be replicated within an organization. All it takes is a set of registered vendors who have delivered programs for a company. These programs are rated by those who engaged them – and once they deliver with a certain level of feedback and effectiveness, it is available for other leaders to use. Thus it reduces the level of coordination that is required from the LnD world plus it allows for much more transparency on what exactly is being used by the organization and by whom. Over time, the best vendors rise up to the process and are sought after by the company. And the company can create criteria for newer vendors to be part of this program and so on and so forth.
(If it can be overlaid with team stages, self-assessments, training algorithms, learning roadmaps – you practically have a learning and development roadmap built in for any team. That means, for any incumbent who takes over a team, the entire development roadmap is immediately visible as well – though this may be a bigger bite to chew.) This can be done for other types of training as well – and it is probably easier to do so when it comes to technical and process training. Since the objectives are easily measurable. And feedback is clearer as well.
It can also be made available for employees – using a logical algorithm to point out to potential next steps on their learning path – whether technical or behavioural or others. And with the rich data that organizations typically have with them, it is very much possible to leverage that to offer a great learning experience. Add ‘social’ into the mix and you have word of mouth as well. Parts of these exist for sure, but clearly much more can be done. Now to find someone who will help implement this! And this can be extended to any ‘service provider’ or ‘middleman’ function.
On a related note: The internet has removed many ‘middlemen’, however the intranet can remove many more! 

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