Digital business transformation vs digital learning transformation: two parallel universes

Different directions

Research suggests that the of learning and development and the digital transformation of organisations are two different things. This is a huge concern for organisations and for L&D.

According to Fosway Group, the biggest drivers for digital learning are increasing learning availability (87%), increasing agility and the speed of learning (84%), increasing learner engagement (83%) and making learning delivery more cost efficient (81%).

Languishing towards the bottom of the list of priorities is the digital transformation of the organisation, which is a driver for 43% of organisations.

This would suggest that for L&D, learning exists to transform learning. But what business function is tasked with upskilling the organisation for digital transformation? Yes, it’s L&D of course. Or it should be.

If the digital transformation of the organisation is a low priority then I think it reasonable to assume that L&D views digital as simply a learning thing.

This approach is problematic. Why? Because research also tells us that the number one priority for business leaders is the digital transformation of the organisation. According to Deloitte’s research of 10,400 business and HR leaders across 140 countries, the most important trend is developing the organisation of the future. This might explain why the Human Capital Trends 2017 report is called Rewriting the rules for the digital age.

A final concern here is that the majority of L&D professionals investing in learning management systems, the core technology in L&D, say that the vendor does not have a positive impact. It is shocking to see that 66% of L&D professionals say their lms provider does not have a positive impact – they are not happy with what the technology provides.

So, the majority of learning professionals are trying to deliver digital transformation in their organisations with technology they are not happy with.

It is hard not to be very concerned about this state of affairs. Even if L&D professionals did want to play a bigger part in the digital transformation of the organisation they probably don’t have the technology to begin to do that.

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